I started a crafts business when I was just 18 years old.  After I moved to Portland in 1974, I became one of the founding craftsman of the Portland Saturday Market.  At first I sold handmade items made from deer antlers, then my wife and I switched to wood & leather game boards.  I toured  Oregon and Washington selling my handmade goods.  I’ve always had a love affair with creative handmade products and their creators.
Skofja Loka has a rich history of Arts and Crafts in Slovenia.
Today the local crafts shop here ARTS & CRAFT CENTRE DUO SKOFJA LOKA, has monthly local artist exhibitions and best of all, workshops in over 20 different types of crafts.
I’m on their mailing list and saw a workshop on making a felt hat.  I wanted to make the hat, but our teacher Anja  said I  needed to take the basic felting class first. OK, so I signed up, me and 6 women!

I made a cat toy, 2 hot pads, and a felted bar of soap (which became a popular cat toy)  When I told Anja she said “you must have a really clean cat”
Felting is a lot more difficult than it looks.  Using simple (non-toxic) soap your able to combine various colors and types of wool into many different products: slippers, purses, scarfs, jewelry, soap & cat toys.  When your finished you have something that is 100% natural and lasts longer than me and you.
Honey Bread another Slovenian tradition that was started in Skofja Loka by local nuns in the 17 century.  I signed up for the honey bread workshop run by Lila, a local artist.  I had seen the wooden molds sold as souvenirs and thought you put them in the oven too, no.

It was great to learn a centuries old tradition that’s from our region.  I have to admit the cookies were damn good!
The crafts center has 23 local artist who display their work and also teach workshops.  When travelling taking a local workshop is a great way to experience true culture and regional traditions.
The many craft workshops available include: CLAY RELIEFS by Lidija Debelak ,  PILLOW COVERS by Anita Erizen,   HAND EMBROIDERY by Tanja Florjancic,   WOODEN TOYS by Samo Gaspersic,  WOODEN PRODUCTS by Matija Hirsenfelder,  HOUSE OF BOBBIN LACE ,  WOODEN PRODUCTS by Roman Jamnik,   BASKETS & WICKER by Janez Kriselj,  HANDMADE FORGED STEEL TOOLS by Joze Krmelj,  WOOL FELT PRODUCTS by Anja Musek,   RECYCLED PAPER & MUCH MORE by Lili Panjtar,   NATURALLY DYED LOCAL WOOL PRODUCTS by Ladka Penes,   HAND CARVED HONEY BREAD MOLDS by Petra Plestenjak,   BOBBIN LACE by Ana Rakovec,   MASTER HONEY BREAD CREATIONS by Cirila Smid,  CROCHETING WOOL by Jana Suligoj,   KNITTING PRODUCTS by Tatjana Svab,   WOOL & COTTON LOOM PRODUCTS by Lucija Ticar,  LEATHER PRODUCTS by Klemen Urbanija,  MASTER OF WET-FELTING & SUPPLIES by Alja Venturini,  NEEDLE FELTED ANGELS by Petra Vengar,  PATCHWORK PRODUCTS by Zdenka Rakovec Vilfan, GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS by  Katja Zrimšek

The workshops are available for all ages and abilities.  If you would like to schedule a workshop for friends, family or a special occasion feel free to contact the ART AND CRAFT CENTER OF DUO SKOFJA LOKA        or
Call Kati at  04 511 24 60

Being part of the Arts & Crafts community has brought back many memories of the crafts business I was involved in my youth.  Everyone loves handmade souvenirs, making memories that will never be forgotten.

NEXT: LONDON: Bikes, Guiness, protest and missed dates