Unwinding at our Summer School

Our course and workshop programmes continues to thrive and develop as people look to crafts to unwind, but this August was the first time we had organised a group of workshops which really allowed the participants to develop their skills over 2 or 3 days. During the two week Summer School fifty students, many of them first time visitors to New Brewery Arts, took part in a diverse selection of crafts with tutors who are highly experienced and established in their field.

The programme had something for everyone; some students were determined to develop their skills in a particular workshop, for others it was an opportunity to enjoy a stay in the Cotswolds, learn a new skill, meet new friends and appreciate some time away from the pressures of work.

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Our students on Wood Engraving with Peter Brown enjoyed the fine detail of this craft; the results were wonderful and a testament to the tutor and the level of concentration needed over the two days.

I tried my hand at engraving many years ago, with no guidance, and put it to one side after (at best!) mixed results. I therefore came to the course not as a complete beginner, with a range of problems I had encountered, and a realisation that there would be all kinds of things I had never even considered. I think Peter provided me with what I needed to approach all these hurdles, and much besides. I left feeling all I now needed was a decent roller, some suitable paper and practice, practice, practice.

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Textile Print Stories with Dawn Dupree explored colours, textures and printed design on fabric and the results were expressive, colourful and imaginative. The students explored open screen printing techniques with the heat press, foiling and dyes over the three days , drawing inspiration from the landscape and found objects and images. Dawn is a renowned Textile artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally over the past 20 year and it was a pleasure to watch her inspire students and see the results of their experimentation with dyes.

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Letter carving and Calligraphy goes hand in hand and we were very happy to welcome Tom Perkins and Gaynor Goffe back to us for the Summer School. Both are experts in their field and students came from all over the UK to take part in their masterclasses and to develop their skills with such experienced tutors.

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We were so happy to have Dorothy Reglar (one of our resident makers) deliver a Smocking Workshop for us. Smocking is a traditional craft that is rarely seen in contemporary garments and it was wonderful to see both traditional and contemporary examples in smocks and to watch the students learn this craft and - with Dorothy’s help - produce beautiful samples over the two days which I am sure they will continue to work on at home.

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Dinny Pocock’s Needlefelt a Bear workshop was a huge success with students producing bears all with their own characters and poses. Dinny says of her work:

The process of creating an animal out of a wilful bundle of wool or deadweight of clay seems to me fascinating and absurd in equal measure. I like to capture the moment of stillness between movements, the moment when something extraordinary might happen.

It’s no wonder that this workshop booked up so quickly, so next summer book early!

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It was the first time we had run a precious metal clay workshop with Amy Surman and this proved to be popular and enjoyable and we have already put more into the timetable for the Autumn. Amy’s running another of these workshops on 29th September if you think it’s something that might interest you.

Amy was an excellent teacher, giving clear instructions and useful demonstrations, and allowing us lots of time to produce our own work - a very good balance between instruction and hands-on experience. It was a lively group of people with varied experience, so while we worked hard over the duration of the workshop, there was lots of chat and laughter.

The three day Acrylics Masterclass had to be re structured at the last minute due to ill health, but we managed to secure three wonderful tutors, each with their own style and expertise; the students explored seascapes, still life and trees over the three days.  Our thanks to DJ for inspiring seascapes, Dan McDermott for still life insights and Fiona McIntyre for her masterclass on trees and landscape.

It is always wonderful to see people engaged in craft and during this Summer school the students had time to meet new friends, discover talents and learn new skills which I am sure they will continue to develop until next year …

New Brewery Arts is a great place to learn and has a really positive atmosphere.

Excellent teaching, learning new skills and processes, working alongside other artists and seeing their work.

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