Learning by doing
My partner thinks my taking part in this course is hilarious. He claims to know how to take care of most DIY tasks but the kitchen sink has been blocked for a week. ‘Do you know how to fix the sink’, I ask?
‘Yep’, he says ‘Yellow pages, look under P for plumber…’
If I needed a reason for attending a DIY course aimed at girls, I’ve just been given one.
‘The courses can be tailored’ says Collette Dunkley, ‘if you really need to know how to do a certain task we can accommodate that over the weekend.’ I email back to inquire about plumbing (that sink blockage’s days are numbered) and my wish is duly granted.
That is the beauty of Chix & Mortar. While it’s small and personal they can really cater for the requirements of their customers.
Presently the course is run from a variety of locations. ‘We need a purpose built centre’ says Collette ‘but for now we can take it anywhere – school art rooms are the best because they don’t mind a bit of splatter.’
The hall where we’re gathered has been splatter-proofed by the Chix & Mortar team of helpers. Rows of make-shift “walls” created from MDF fill the space. They’re our easels: over the course of the weekend they will be sanded, painted, glossed, wallpapered and tiled.
Eighteen women assemble in a semi-circle in front of one of these easels, watching curiously as Craig Phillips talk’s p&d techniques and when to use a hammer-head drill bit in his lilting Liverpudlian accent.
He’s infectiously enthusiastic and within minutes the room is filled with newly confident women applying coats of paint and carefully cutting into edges where previously they may have carelessly slapped on the paint.
‘I probably wouldn’t be this careful at home’ admits Gill, 48, a researcher from London, as she painstakingly glosses the “skirting board” of her easel. I think of my own recent gloss attempt/disaster and fervently wish I’d been as careful as Jill is being now.
‘We want you to make the mistakes here not at home!’ says Craig.
Image: the Chix take on tiling