Across the UK people are getting up to all kinds of creative things in their sheds. We went hunting for the most interesting, and here are some of our favourites.
Musicians, jewellers, model makers and crafters are all part of the growing creative sheddie community. Find out all about them here!
Lester Bailey decided in 2012 to use his shed to record a melodeon tune a day. He’s now done over 450. Check out his extensive repertoire - traditional English folk tunes, tunes for children and even a bit of Perry Como all find a home in Lester’s shed. Lester says:
“Why did I keep going? I kept meeting people who I'd never seen before who would sidle up and say "Thank you so much for the blog".”
We hope that Lester and his shed keep us in tunes for a long time to come!
Jon Earl has been recording visiting musicians in his shed (a converted Army billet) since 2009. In that time, over 1,000 acoustic sessions have been captured, and the ethos hasn’t changed a bit:
“The rules remain the same. Totally Acoustic, Any genre, Loudest at the back, Quietest at the front and the woodworm munch relentlessly on.
With the most basic of equipment, Jon’s shed has attracted thousands of requests to record. Young hopefuls and seasoned pros have all descended upon his Somerset studio, including Tom Robinson, Tim Minchin and Fairport Convention.
Winning the coveted “Shed of the Year” award in 2011 resulted in around 250 requests to record coming in every month. With over 3 million views on the shed’s YouTube channel, Songs from the Shed is going from strength to strength.
Have you felt the need to get creative in a space of your own? Jeanette Archer did, and three summers ago moved into her colourful sewing shed at the bottom of the garden. It’s there that she makes almost all of her own clothes. She’s prolific enough to be able to wear ‘Me Made’ almost every day for a month! Jeanette says:
“I sew every day, I sew for work, I sew for myself, I sew for college and I sometimes sew for gifts.“
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that after “a pair of dungarees, two teacher gifts, pyjama bottoms, a summer kimono robe”, and more, Jeanette’s not sure if she’s sewing for therapy or procrastinating - or, maybe it’s both!
Designer Nicola Rust harboured a childhood dream to run the London Marathon. While she hasn’t yet achieved this, she does create personalised achievement prints for Marathon runners, beautifully incorporating their time and the route.
Not only did Nicola name her business after her shed, she threw a shed warming party for her friends and clients to celebrate the Shed’s success. Nicola shares her shed with her Chihuahua Boo, who “keeps me warm curling up on my knee.”
Nicola’s built up a successful design business in her shed. But faced with a series of challenges in 2014, she developed a philosophy we can all draw from: when life throws you lemons - get creative!
If you’ve ever struggled to put a shed up, spare a thought for Rust Jewellery's designer Artemis Russell, who has reassembled her shed 3 times. Most recently it “suffered as a dismantled pile of wood in the garden, rotting and covered in snail poo”, until it was reconstructed.
She now has a beautifully organised workshop shed that any sheddie would be proud of. Magnets, butchers’ hooks, tins and jars all contribute to creating a light, airy and well-organised workspace.
For one shed worker, the most creative idea was to produce a massive resource for others working in their gardens. That's how Alex Johnson's shedworking blog was born.
Shedworking is a daily updated guide for people who work in garden offices and other shed-like atmospheres. It’s a blog that also became a book: Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution (Frances Lincoln, 2010).
Alex's blog is a source of valuable tips for shed workers and crafting sheddies, with popular advice including how to build your own garden office, how to heat it, and important changes to planning permission. If you spend more time working in your garden than working on it, this blog is essential reading.
For jeweller Tracy Smith the turning point in her jewellery making was when she fitted a work shed into her “pretty small backyard” giving her a “studio” to work in and space to store all her tools.
Tracy regularly about her experiments. One of our favourites is where she transformed a Portugese coin into a ring, using little more than heat and hammers.
She also shares some of her more unusual commissions. One hot-sauce-loving customer wanted: “something in copper with a heart to fit over a bottle of Tabasco” for an anniversary.
Declining the offer of a catering-sized bottle to use as a template, Tracy obliged with a beautifully oxidised copper love-token.
Where else can you find a flea circus chariot , an enchanted cottage and a dragon detector? All of these creations were made in by Andy in his Workshopshed.
Workshopshed houses a wealth of useful information for those who want to use their shed to make. Andy’s skills include woodworking, metalworking, computer coding and a fine imagination, so there’s no shortage of inspiration from his pages.
Andy uses 3d printing to make gnomes dance, and shares his obvious delight with every project he undertakes. He’s also got a clear idea of when is the right time to abandon projects - which he finds easier when an idea’s still in its early stages.
Ever had a shed full of Daleks? Eric the Shed has. He’s had to extend his shed three times to house his massive Wargaming collection, and to welcome players to weekly battles.
The Shed Wars blog is a fantastic way to learn how to build model Egyptian ruins, or make a volcano and big rivers and waterfalls as well as a friendly way to connect with the Shed Wars community. Eric says “the biggest highlight has been to share this great hobby with so many people.”
A fantasy world at the end of the garden proves to be a fantastic way to make new friends (and Wargame competitors) for Eric.
Lancashire-based stained glass artist Debbie loves what she does, and loves the shed she does it in. Built by her brother, the shed has “a grass roof, lots of light, a workbench and a stool and it’s waaaaay at the end of my house.”
Debbie creates beautiful stained glass panels, sculptures and bespoke items from her shed. Her love for natural form means her work has a strong emphasis on birds and animals.
Take a look at Debbie’s gallery to see a wide collection of her work, all of which are available to buy. Better still, visit her shed yourself on one of her open-studio Fridays at the end of each month!
Ever found yourself locked in your shed? Crafter and blogger Sooz was locked in hers for over two hours! The good news? Sooz's shed is her workshop, so instead of being surrounded by shovels and spiders, she had her craft materials for company.
Sooz's 16x20 foot shed houses everything she needs for her crafty creations. From glass-bead bracelets and patchwork quilts, to beautifully decoupaged chairs - Sooz’s talents know no boundaries.
Designer, maker and all-round mixed media artist, Jo built her shed-studio as a light and airy workspace for her creations. Jo’s blog features art from a wealth of disciplines; floral-print lino, abstract spirographs, and trinket box mosaics to name a just a few.
As well as making wonderful abstract art, Jo uses her knowledge of textiles to restore and upcycle 1950’s kitchen stools and shabby chic catalogue drawers. Lucky for us, Jo gives easy to follow.step by step tutorials of her projects in her blog.
People are unlocking the potential of their gardens sheds all over the UK. Music venues, workshops and battlegrounds are just a handful of creative ways to use your shed space.
If you use your shed for something special, we’d like to know. Share your shed with on Facebook!