Past Workshops

My upcoming public workshops are always listed here, on the next page.

Wild Inks and Paints (2 day course)

USA sessions: 20-21 May 2023, Shiele Museum, 1500 EAST GARRISON BOULEVARD • GASTONIA, NC 28054, USA, 704-866-6900. Booking and more details here.

Wild Paints and Inks with Foundandground

Paints: Come and learn how to make beautiful paints from what we can forage in nature and find in our neighbourhoods. Using materials of earth, trees, plants and water, we’ll make colourful natural paints that our ancestors would have used on parchment or paper, particularly in Europe from 600CE until the Twentieth Century, as well as in India and the Middle East. You’ll go home with simple paints and refined watercolours, but more importantly, the knowledge of how to make art materials from what’s around you, wherever you are. You will learn how to ethically forage your materials without harming your environment.

We will cover watercolours and gouache from gum Arabic and cherry tree gum, tempera and glair from egg, and vegan alternatives to egg paints. The day will be hands-on and practical, but we’ll also learn about the traditional uses of all the paints we make and there will be ample time for questions. Bring a sketchbook and favourite brush or two, to make swatches of your paints throughout the session. All other materials will be provided.

Inks: In this class we’ll learn to make oak gall and iron gall ink, the traditional ink of the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and almost all European illuminated manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells. We will learn a foraged, simple, technique as well as a studio method, both will make beautiful black inks. You will learn how to ethically forage your materials. Then we will make other botanical inks and learn how to create, test, and modify a variety of plant-based materials for colourful inks. We will make quill pens and brushes from goose or turkey feathers, as used in Saxon times in the scriptorium. I’ll be explaining some of the history and chemistry of our inks and how to use and store them.

You’ll go home with inks, pens, brushes, and the knowledge of how to brew up simple colourful inks and long-lasting tannin-based inks at home. Bring a sketchbook and favourite brush or two, to make swatches of your inks throughout the session. All other materials will be provided.

What to bring for either workshop: wear old clothes as some of the materials we’ll use can stain. Feel free to bring any large feathers (such as goose, swan, gull or crow) that you find in the meantime, as well as any oak galls or seashells you find.

Come and learn 121: Natural watercolour making from scratch and pigment preparation. Join me for a day of making paints from ochres, gum and honey, egg tempera and glair, taking home a set of beautiful colours in traditional mussel shells. All materials and beverages provided. £90 10am-12.30pm 1.30-4pm date: 21 June 2022, Southbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset. Nearest train station Pokesdown.

Other courses you can book for solo, small group and families, or I can come to you to teach.

You can choose from or mix from many topics, including: Wild Inks, Foraged and Natural Paints, A Journey through natural pigments, Hand made paint brushes from nature, Quill pens and traditional oak gall ink, Seaside foraged art materials, Make a hand sewn sketchbook, painting on buckskin and parchment, making and decorating natural leather bags, Life Drawing, Plein air drawing, Drawing and painting nature with natural materials, Making fish skin leather, Making cordage from natural plant materials, Colour Theory and practical mixing for painters and other artists, Bark boxes, pouches and bags from felt and hand made leather. And so much more… If you see things on my Instagram feed that you want to make, just ask to come learn with me. Prices depend on group size and activity, email for details.

Past workshops:

I ran a deep dive into watercolour making online hosted by Flora Arbuthnott in January 2023, at Plants and Colour

Wild inks ink-making workshop

Wild Inks in the City, at Dark Mountain event at Bristol’s The Cube cinema, Morning of Sunday 19th April, 2020. Foraging walk and inkmaking, Postponed.

Ink and paint-making workshop

Ink making and wild paints 10th March 2020 at Cemus Uppsala, Sweden. Details here.

Two further ink workshops ran, open to all on evenings of 11th and 12th March 2020 in Western Sweden with Sakum.

Wild Inks in Sweden hosted by A School Called Home and Sakum. I taught an evening of ink and quill making, as well as simple natural paints.

Natural watercolour-making workshop

Natural watercolour making from scratch,  a morning of making paints from ochres, gum and honey, taking  home a set of beautiful colours in traditional mussel shells. All materials and refreshments provided. This class ran on 8th February 2020, and on 9th as well. Class size 5

Painting on buckskin, parchment and leather workshop

Painting on buckskin, leather, parchment etc, last ran on 10am-1pm 25th January 2020, £50, all materials and refreshments provided. This gives you all the skills and materials you need to decorate suede and buckskin with permanent designs. Get in touch for details of next date, all materials provided. Class size 5.

Oak gall ink and quill-making workshop

Oak gall ink making at my new studio near Hampton Court, UK. We had two mornings in November 2019 of making wonderful black ink from local galls and gums, as well as quills and brushes. Students went away with a full set of brushes and pens plus ink, ready to draw with. Get in touch for the next dates in 2021. 

Wild Twins ran in May 2018 and 2019, a magical workshop I teach with writer Paul Kingsnorth for writers and artists of all kinds. We aim to re-wild our work in this place at Europe’s far Atlantic edge and bring words and images together, and let them run loose over the rocks by the sea shore. Click here for details. It will run again online in 2021 after a year off in 2020 due to other commitments.

Life drawing sessions with a professional model and as much or as little tuition as you wish, These ran throughout 2018-19 at Hampton Curt and private lessons now run in various venues as requested. A fun session for all, we cover all sorts of styles, exercises and poses. Get in touch if you would like me to provide tuition at your venue, school or business.

Workshops with children in Ireland

Colour theory Last taught May 2018 to home schooled children and their parents at The Happy Pig, in west Ireland. 2 peaceful fun hours of colour mixing and matching using gouache, leading to a good basic understanding of what colour is, how to mix that colour you want, and keep your colours clean and bright, when you want to.

During Spring and Autumn 2017 I taught on Fire and Shadow, an eight month long Dark Mountain course. We made archaic materials out in the wild, and took as much time in making them around the fire as using them. So much nowadays is instant, it’s like a running commentary in everyone’s heads, reflected on their devices. These materials slowed us down, in the best way, we become absorbed in the moment: art and writing at walking pace. It was a great pleasure to work with Way Of Nature UK . Making quills and oak gall ink in Alladale, Scotland, then writing in our hand made books, which brought back the sound of the scriptorium to our modern ears, a lost sound, regained by our work together as we wrote. In Romania I brought ochre, chalk and charcoal and we worked with the alchemical triad of red, black and white, alongside the story of The Lindwurm, which worked it magic on us in the wilds of this beautiful place. Thanks to photographer Natasha Lythgoe for the use of some of her photos above. Mark O’Connell wrote kindly about meeting me on this course and about my work and approach in his great book ‘Notes From An Apocalypse‘.

Inks and paint making for kids

Primitive and natural paints and brushes workshop last taught January 2017 at An Teach Soar (The Happy Pig) in Ireland. I returned in July to teach bark containers, pouch-making from natural materials and other prim-tech art kit topics. Mark Boyle wrote very kindly about me and this workshop in his great book The Way Home.

I currently teach 121 sessions for drawing from the model, still-life and from nature, making birch and ash bark containers, hand sewn books, inks, paints, making pigments from rocks, natural cordage, quill making and painting on buckskin or parchment at my home on The Thames, near Hampton.

Bark boxes & buckskin and felt pouches, last ran July 2017, Tynagh.

Natural Materials, quill pens and brushes, The Happy Pig, January 2017

Annis Throws the Runes illustration for ‘The Wake’

Earlier: In the 1990s I taught as a visiting Painting tutor at Degree courses in Norwich and Sunderland, as well as on the BTEC at Bournemouth. For three years from 2000 I taught life drawing in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire both in FE and Adult Education, until I moved back to England. I also taught art, painting and crafts to groups of both younger and older children near Huntly.  I have since taught several more life drawing workshops for adults in the North East of Scotland, as well as private classes in and around London.

Come and learn: I have an ongoing, current enhanced DBS Disclosure certificate which allows me to work with children and people with special needs, or vulnerable adults. I greatly enjoy passing on what I have learned and practised. Please get in touch if you would like me to run a session for you, your group or business. Topics could include drawing from the figure, still life, drawing outdoors, colour theory, sketch-booking, a huge selection of natural and primitive materials production and use, as well as many other related crafts.