Little Joys of Summer

Might As Well Pick Up a Hobby This Summer

From book binding to wood burning, put these stay-at-home hours to good use and learn something new.

By Marty Patail August 1, 2020 Published in the August 2020 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Mike Novak

You’ve got time on your hands, and nowhere to go. Maybe you can use the stay-at-home hours and learn something new to show off when we all emerge.

Let hobbyist paradise Assembly PDX just off SE Division be your launchpad, with its pared-down workshop offerings to accommodate distancing: team-focused candlemaking and indigo dyeing are gone baby gone, while classes that can be completed individually, with little to no shared supplies, and while sitting, masked, in preassigned seats are in.

“It’s better than working from home alone, and there’s a teacher there to help,” says owner Liz Wright, adding that even with the new measures they are working to retain the fun of a group learning dynamic. (Note: Class sizes have shrunk by more than half, from 20 down to nine, meaning they’ll sell out even faster. Get to it!)

Intro to Book Binding (Aug 2)

Nearly two millennia ago, an early Christian sect in Egypt pioneered what became known as the coptic book-binding technique, recognizable from the lack of an outer spine, which allowed books to lie perfectly flat. In this calls, you'll construct a small book you can fill with art, photos, or sketches. 

Mixed Metals Jewelry Making (Aug 9)

Using wire and ingots made from Turkish brass and sterling silver, beginner blingers will hammer, twist, and mold raw materials into a half-moon pendant necklace. No blazing Dwarven forge required. 

Fill Stitch Embroidery (Aug 13)

Fill stitch is exactly what you think it is—filling in larger areas, meaning big, bold, colorful contrasted patters are possible. The class will take you through making either a bright floral design or a colorful, marbles wave. Get your Etsy site ready. 

Cigar Box Edison Lamp (Aug 29)

Not all of Assembly's workshops are merely decorative‚ some are functional, too. In this class you'll turn a plain wooden box into a lamp for your nightstand or shelf, learning the basics of working with electricity along the way. 

Pryography Wood Burning Class (Aug 29)

Some form of pyrography dates back to prehistory, when our ancestors drew on cave walls with charred wood. The modern version uses a handheld electric burning "pen." Here, you'll learn how to use it to make a plain cutting board your own. 

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