Artist Talk: Elsa Rouy

London-based artist Elsa Rouy visited the Art School last week to speak to our BA (Hons) Fine Art and MA Fine Art students.

Elsa creates images of intense psychological depth, and describes her work as “a visual portrayal of abstruse emotions.” Through painting, Elsa attempts to get to the heart of her own personal experience.

Elsa met with students for tutorials, and gave an artist talk where she discussed her themes, technique and inspirations. She spoke about her love of paint as a medium, and how she has been inspired by filmmakers and writers, as well as artists. Elsa encouraged the students to experience moments of uncertainty, and to push through fear in their practice.

Our thanks to Elsa for your visit and time.

Applications are now open for our BA and MA Fine Art 2024/25 courses.

Join us for one of our upcoming Open Days, and visit our Apply page for full information on how to submit your application.

This week, our National Saturday Club members completed their Self Portraits.

Tutor Tom Merrett and BA (Hons) Fine Art student Louis Power assisted our 3D members with the final step of their project. They cast their plastilin busts by pressing the areas of their sculptures into clay to create moulds, then filling this with plaster.

Our 2D members, taught by tutor Sarah Davis and assisted by Graduate Diploma Arts: Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student Henry Brown, completed the finishing touches to their medieval illuminations, adding highlights, shadows and outlines to create captivating paintings.

Congratulations to our students for the completion of their first projects!

Next week, will be taking part in the National Saturday Club’s annual London visit. We will be visiting Central Saint Martins to view the works created by other National Saturday Club members, followed by a cultural visit to Somerset House.

Charlotte Jones, MA Conservation, worked earlier this year on the cleaning and restoration of the 19th century reredos at St. Pancras Old Church by the esteemed decorative artist Charles Edgar Buckeridge. The reredos is a triptych made from carved oak, with gilded and painted panels in a stylistic homage to 15th century religious art. The work was undertaken as part of a wider restoration project of the St. Pancras Old Church, including repainting, reviving flooring and the restoration of monuments and decorative works.

Charlotte’s work started with cleaning the piece. After trials were carried out to determine the method of cleaning, dust was removed with a thorough brush vacuum, followed by aqueous cleaning with TAC (an inorganic salt) solution, and de-ionised water for the timber. During this process, evidence of previous cleaning attempts during the reredos’ history became apparent with visible damage underneath the build-up of surface dirt.

Charlotte addressed the damage to the paint on some of the figures and gilding on the panels with infilling and in-painting over a barrier layer of resin. A new surface coating was also required on the painted figures to saturate the colour and stabilise the paint surface. Acrylic putty was used to infill surface losses, which were in-painted using Golden fluid acrylic colours. Under UV light, this makes the restored material distinguishable from the original oil paint. The most significant losses on the gilded panels were also re-touched using gold leaf and an acrylic size.

Charlotte commented to New Direction magazine: “This project was an absolute honour and so enjoyable. It’s always rewarding to uncover these pieces and see them come back to life”.


Find out more about our MA Conservation Course at one of our upcoming Open Days.

Applications now open for 2024/25 study.

In collaboration with Fine Art alumna Hannah Hill, we are excited to launch a Fundraising Raffle for the Principal’s Fund at City & Guilds of London Art School. Entrants will have the opportunity to win a brilliant new artwork by Hannah, created especially for this campaign.

Hannah, known across socials as @hanecdote, was inspired by the Art School’s fundraising appeal during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Wanting to give back to the Art School, she designed ‘Protect the Arts’, a beautiful textile work which brings together the Art School’s specialisms and is a call to protect the arts and creative industries. This was made with the generous objective of raffling the artwork to raise money for the areas of most need within the Art School.

‘Protect the arts’, 54cm x 58cm (approx.), Calico, digitally printed felt, brown wool felt, embroidery thread and glass beads with a wood dowel.

The funds raised from this raffle will go directly to the Principal’s Fund, which enhances our core provision and creates increased opportunities for students. This helps to ensure that the most promising individuals can thrive on our courses.

The Principal’s Fund is vital for enabling the Art School to stay true to its mission. Remaining an independent charity means that, unlike larger universities, we receive no direct revenue funding from government. Gifts to the Principal’s Fund are directed towards the areas of greatest need, including student support, meeting increased running costs and new initiatives. By taking part in this raffle, your support will have a tangible impact, enabling us to uphold our commitment to our cause, and develop for the future. If you are interested in other ways of supporting the Art School, please visit the Support Us page of our website.

Our deepest thanks to Hannah for her work and generosity, and to all those who take part.

How to Enter

Visit the campaign website or use the link below to purchase your raffle ticket(s) with a £5 donation per entry.

100% of proceeds will support City & Guilds of London Art School in its charitable mission.

Raffle closes: Monday 18th December 2023
Winner announced: Tuesday 19th December 2023

Charity Registration no. 1144708

Terms and Conditions

Winner will be selected using a random generator and announced online. The winner will also be contacted directly by email. Shipping within mainland UK included. Arrangements for International Shipping, if required, to be made by the winner.

By entering, you confirm that you are at least 18 years of age, based in the UK and agree to Instagram’s terms of use, and release Instagram of any responsibility.

As per Instagram’s rules, this promotion is not sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram in any way.

CGLAS are registered with Lambeth Council to run small lotteries.

This week, our National Saturday Club Members continued to refine their Self-Portraiture project.

Our 2D members, taught by tutor Sarah Davis and assisted by Graduate Diploma Arts: Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student Henry Brown, began to paint their medieval illuminations. Using size 00 brushes, members used gouache paint to begin the base layer of their images. Next week, they will add final touches such as highlights, shadows and outlines.

Our 3D members, taught by tutor Tom Merrett and assisted by BA (Hons) Fine Art student Louis Power, used plastilin to sculpt a bust of themselves. The members created brilliant self-portraits, which next week will be cast using the clay and plaster.

The works are looking amazing, and we are very excited to see the finished results next week.

Thank you to our members for working so diligently and putting so much care into their work.

Congratulations to Tom Ball, our de Laszlo Lead Woodcarving Tutor, who has won the Heritage Crafts Woodworker of the Year Award 2023.

The £2,000 prize and trophy, sponsored by Axminster Tools, was awarded at a presentation at St George’s College, Windsor Castle, on Wednesday 15 November.

The award, now in its second year, “celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of woodworking over the past year. It recognizes a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular woodworking skill.” Heritage Crafts

Tom has taught on our BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding and MA Carving courses since 2020, and was appointed Lead Woodcarving Tutor in 2022.

After studying Woodcarving & Gilding at the Art School from 2005-2008, Tom has worked extensively within the field of carving and restoration. His projects include the restoration of Grinling Gibbons’ carving at Trinity College Chapel Oxford, and carving and gilding the main canopy columns for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. In 2021, he was awarded the Master Carver Certificate by the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers.

We could not be more delighted for Tom on receiving this incredibly well-deserved achievement.

Photo credit: Stefan Jakubowski, Heritage Crafts

We are pleased to introduce Rick De La Espriella, First Year BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces, as the newest recipient of the BASET and City & Guilds of London Art School Endeavour Award.

This award from BASET (The Britain-Australia Society Education Trust) and City & Guilds of London Art School offers financial support to a talented and deserving person with a passion for conservation. The funding is open to an Australian national to study on one the Art School’s three-year undergraduate conservation programmes.

Rick is now a few weeks into his first term at City & Guilds of London Art School. We visited him for a chat in the Conservation studios and asked a few questions about his experience so far.

How is the course going so far?

It’s great! It’s super exciting, it’s the first thing that I’ve ever done where I’m interested in every single aspect of it. There’s not a single subject that I dread or that I don’t like. There are things which are challenging, but the tutors are just so helpful and friendly. It’s not intimidating at all, which is really nice. I’m really enjoying it – I’m just getting adjusted to the weather!

How did you find out about the course?

In the past, I have worked in instrument making and as an electrical technician in Germany and Australia, so I’ve worked with my hands quite a lot. I spoke to an English bookmaker who lives in Germany, and he told me about the Conservation courses in England. I started looking into it, and I found this specific one. It really interested me, as it has small classes and is very hands-on. It was important to me to not get lost in book work and theory, and to still be really tangibly connected to the work that I was doing. I then decided to go for it.

What does it mean to have the support from BASET?

It is a massive help and relief. The opportunity with BASET has given me the ability to really focus on my studies, and make sure that that’s the priority. And it’s exciting to know that you’re connected with a group of people who are connected to the place that you’re from. It feels like a privilege.

You are learning joinery at the moment, what’s coming up next?

We are doing drawing for the next few weeks, which will cover figuration and drapery. We also have science, architecture – there are a lot of projects coming up and the amount we cover is really cool. We have cross-over classes with BA (Hons) Conservation: Books and Paper and BA (Hons) Carving. There are a lot of different avenues, it’s very exciting.

Keep an eye on our Conservation blog for updates on Rick’s work.

To find out more about our BA (Hons) Conservation and MA Conservation courses, visit us at one of our upcoming Open Days for 2024/25 study.

BASET (The Britain Australia Society Education Trust) is a UK based charity which runs a range of educational awards to enable talented young people from Britain and Australia to study abroad, furthering their education and career skills. For more information about BASET (registered charity no. 803505) please visit the charity’s website.

Wishing a warm welcome to our 2023/24 City & Guilds of London Art School National Saturday Club members as they dive into heritage crafts and begin their creative journey!

Saturday 11 November marked the first week of this year’s club, which has opened with our young creatives exploring self-portraiture. Each member will create an artwork that will be displayed at Central Saint Martins as part of the National Saturday Club’s London visit.

Guided by tutor Tom Merrett, our 3D members started laying the groundwork for their wax bust carvings. They began by studying their faces using mirrors to draw a self-portrait, which they drew in hand-crafted notebooks made at the beginning of the class. After this, the members moved on to creating the armatures for their sculptures.

Our 2D members, taught by tutor Sarah Davis, began their mediaeval illuminations. Taking inspiration from their identity, the students created miniature drawings not limited to portraits, favourite animals, flowers and roman letters. The group then moved on to gilding. Using miniatum ink and real gold, they used the heat of their breath to create glittering and delicate images.

Thank you to our members for working so hard this first class, the work is looking incredible already. For the next few weeks, they will be working on their self-portraits with Tom and Sarah. We can’t wait to see the finished work!

Additional spaces available

We have just had two spaces become available in our ‘2D Heritage Craft Skills and Making’ National Saturday Club. If you know a young person (13-16) wishing to develop their creativity and explore a range of different media, please share this opportunity and invite them to submit their application.

To apply, please visit the National Saturday Club website, or email Hope Turnbull, our Widening Participation Assistant, at

Jonathan Wright, recent MA Conservation graduate and 2020 QEST Garfield Weston Foundation Scholar, has been announced as the newest Trustee of QEST.

Jonathan is a master globemaker, with over ten years of experience working in globe production since starting an apprenticeship in 2012. He graduated from the MA in Conservation in September 2023, and has opened his own studio, J. Wright Globemaker, offering specialist conservation and restoration services alongside creating bespoke globes.

“I’m incredibly proud to join the QEST board. As an alumnus, it’s a real privilege to now play a role in supporting other makers. It’s not just about supporting individuals but nurturing the legacy and culture of craft. This will be my first experience working as a trustee, so there’s a lot to learn, but I’m keen to bring my lived experience of apprentice to master globemaker to the table.”

Read more about Jonathan’s appointment on the QEST website here.

Congratulations Jonathan!

Photo credit: QEST

We are pleased to announce the winner of the City & Guilds of London Art School prize at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair 2023.

Screen Print Tutor Niamh Clancy chose the recipient of the award, which this year goes to Laetitia Hallen for her work ‘Cow, 2022’. Well done Laetitia!

Our congratulations also go to our Head of Fine Art, Robin Mason, who won the 2023 Jill Bullen Memorial Award, and to all of our staff and alumni who had work shown at this year’s fair. Thank you to the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair organisers, alumnus Jack Bullen and Lizzie Glendinning, for another fantastic year.


The City & Guilds of London Art School Prize at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair is awarded each year to a recipient external to the Art School network, and selected by a member of our Print Room team. The winner receives three days access to our Print Room, where they can explore and develop their printing skills alongside our tutors, fellows and students.


Established in the late 19th century, the Art School’s historic Print Room offers a facility for printmaking open to every student across all our courses: Foundation Art & Design, BA and MA Fine ArtConservation and Carving

Professor Norman Ackroyd CBE RA ARCA was instrumental in re-establishing the Print & Engraving Room as a thriving centre for teaching and practice in the 1990s. We focus on the traditional intaglio processes which is taught by our Printmaking Tutors and Fellows, who are all practising artists working with etching. Students have the opportunity to achieve an understanding and gain the confidence to make the process their own through hands-on experience.


Founded in 2016 by Fine Art alumnus Jack Bullen, the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair has grown to become the UK’s largest contemporary Print Fair. It features work from emerging artists alongside well-established names, providing an important platform for up and coming printmakers. Many of our Art School alumni, Tutors and Fellows have been selected to exhibit at WCPF over the years, including Robin Mason, Blaze Cyan, Irene Burkhard, Polly Bennett, Kristina Chan, Catherine Greenwood, Laura Clarke, Geraldine van Hemstra, Jemma Gunning and Rachel Goodison.



We are thrilled to share that four of our Fine Art alumni have been selected as Finalists for the Ingram Prize 2023.

Suzanne Clements, MA Fine Art 2022
Erin Holly, MA Fine Art 2020
Lucienne O’Mara, MA Fine Art 2019
Kofi Perry, BA Fine Art 2022

The Ingram Prize is a yearly prize open to visual artists who graduated in the last five years from a UK-based art school. Now in its 8th year, the Ingram Prize was established to celebrate and support artists at the beginning of their professional careers.

The Prizes and Opportunities for 2023, as outlined on the Ingram Prize website, are:

‘Three winning works will receive the Ingram Prize and will be acquired for The Ingram Collection.

A further work, selected by Chris Ingram, will receive the Founder’s Choice Award and will be acquired for The Ingram Collection.

One of the three Ingram Prize winners will be offered a solo exhibition in 2024 at the Art Fund Prize-winning gallery and museum, the Lightbox.

One finalist will be offered a solo exhibition in Autumn 2024 at TM Lighting’s London gallery space, to be curated by Jo Baring, Director of The Ingram Collection.

All finalists will be offered the opportunity to apply for an artist residency project in 2024, given in partnership with Hestercombe Gallery, Somerset.’

The 2023 Prizewinners will be announced on Wednesday 22 November, and we look forward to seeing the work of our alumni amongst the shortlisted artists in a group show at the Pavilion Gallery, Cromwell Place, running from 22-26 November.

Congratulations and good luck to Suzanne, Erin, Lucienne and Kofi!

If you are interested in studying BA Fine Art or MA Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School, please visit us on one of our upcoming Open Days for 2024/25 study.

Congratulations to our de Laszlo Lead Woodcarving Tutor Tom Ball, who has been announced as a finalist for the Heritage Crafts Woodworker of the Year Award.

The award ‘celebrates a heritage craftsperson who has made an outstanding contribution to woodworking over the past year. It recognises a contribution that is far beyond the ordinary, based on a proven dedication to a particular woodworking skill.’

The Art School nominated Tom in recognition of his expert skills as a Woodcarver, his dedication to ensuring those skills are passed on through his teaching on the Art School’s carving courses and the prestigious professional projects he has worked on.

Originally training as a technical illustrator and model maker, Tom moved his focus to working in wood and studied Woodcarving & Gilding at City & Guilds of London Art School between 2005 – 2008.

Since this time, Tom has worked extensively within the field of carving and restoration, working for many of the country’s top conservation companies. This has provided Tom with a great opportunity to develop an understanding and a sensitivity for working within many period styles, as well as building a high level of competence for working with valuable and often fragile historic objects. Recent projects include the removal, repair and re-gilding of the entire carved ceiling at Lincoln College Chapel Oxford, restoration of Grinling Gibbons carving at Trinity College Chapel Oxford and carving and gilding the main canopy columns for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

In 2021 Tom was awarded the Master Carver Certificate by the Worshipful Company Of Joiners and Ceilers.

The award winners will be announced at a prestigious Winner’s Reception at the Vicar’s Hall, Windsor Castle, in November.

Wishing Tom the best of luck!

The Sir Denis Mahon Foundation has supported a grant at City & Guilds of London Art School since 2020, created to honour the memory of Sir Denis Mahon, renowned collector and historian of Italian art, and to continue his legacy and lifelong interests in fine art, carving and conservation.

Intended to encourage and support students at the Art School to realise ambitious sculptural projects, the £5,000 grant has been open to submissions from second year BA Conservation, Carving and Fine Art students working with sculpture for use in their final year. In this fourth allocation, the Grant has been awarded to two outstanding candidates, who will share the £5,000 grant. The Art School is most grateful to the Sir Denis Mahon Foundation for their valued support.

Leigh-ann Cousins – Third year, BA Fine Art

“For my final project I plan to travel around UK to various natural locations, documenting, recording and collecting materials relating to the natural world to further my research into sacred geometry and the relationship between humans and nature.

While traveling I will be examining the properties of new fauna, flora and wildlife as well as collecting materials for the final project. In addition, I will create site specific works with these materials to be documented in situ and leading to them being adapted to work within an inside space. This will involve building circuits, applying code, management, and the pressing and cleaning of organic materials alongside the construction of box frames.

The work I create with nature develops throughout the experimentation with materials, therefore I do not have a prescribed design for the whole final project outcome. However, overall, I am planning to have a series of boxes that balance the human material and natural, each will have their own mechanic element consisting of either lights, movements or sound recordings. Currently my broad plan is that one work will be constructed from sea glass in a round box that will replicate water ripple through the glass either by using motors or lights alongside code. Another is to create a box out of leaves then to have lights inside casting a silhouette of objects onto the leaves.

This support will allow me to take the research trips I need to and allow me to purchase materials to realise the final art works.

As a collector Sir Denis Mahon had a longstanding interest in the materiality of objects, and their conservation. I feel that my works have evolved from the traditional genre of landscape, merging with contemporary possibilities of electronic kinetic elements, bringing together questions and challenges relating to the ephemeral aspects of materials from nature, and the romantic tradition of landscape and sculpture, that I hope Sir Denis would have approved of.”

Alexander Wheeldon – Third year, BA Carving: Architectural Stone

“Although it was initially the students’ drawings which attracted me to City & Guilds of London Art School, it was seeing that these students were learning the traditional, practical skills, which I didn’t even know still existed, that cemented my desire to apply to the Art School. I have a strong interest in learning traditional crafts the proper way, taking what was established in the past and building on it for new generations.

In my third and final year I intend to make two sculptures: One is a relief is based on an etching by Michel Dorigny, ‘The Dream of Saint Joseph’ that includes two figures in drapery and one a copy in the round of the classical bust known as ‘Clytie’ that sits in the British Museum collection. The Art School has a cast of this object that I can work from using a pointing machine. I chose these two particular subjects as I have an interest in both drapery and the figure, both subjects I have explored in my drawing and tattooing prior to joining the Art School. Having the opportunity to carve such objects and not just produce them in a drawing is an amazing opportunity I don’t want to let pass me by. I intend to focus entirely on refining my carving technique and I look forward to making the best possible use of the expertise of my tutors in cutting and carving limestone during my last year.

I hope to gain a strong understanding of the figure and drapery, as well as a thorough foundation in limestone-cutting techniques that will serve me well in a career in carving after I leave the course.

The Sir Denis Mahon Project Grant will allow me to use the highest quality stone for each piece, which will make a huge difference in the standard of the carving. Both these pieces have fine detail, and so require a hard stone with a fine grain that will hold its shape when working these small sections.

I believe as a collector of Italian baroque paintings, Sir Denis Mahon may have had an appreciation for the kind of imagery I will be using in my final year. While not made by Italian artists, both works lean heavily on the same classical foundations as those Italians.”

The Sir Denis Mahon Sculptural Project Grant is one of over 40 grants and awards available to students at the Art School.

The Art School itself provides some of the grants but many are funded by a number of organisations and individuals who value our commitment to championing specialist subjects, providing high levels of tutor contact time (about twice that of other London-based arts university courses) and continuing to deliver high standards of excellence. Over 40% of our undergraduate and postgraduate students usually benefit from one of our grants in an average year, which can be used to part-fund tuition fees or particular work projects.

If you would like to find out more about how you can support the Art School and its students, please click here or contact our Development Team on

Ally and Savannah with the Tsurumi University Cultural Heritage students outside Tokyo National Museum

Third year BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces students Ally Wingate-Saul and Savannah Grieve took part in an Urushi Internship over their summer break at Tsurumi University in Yokohama, Japan. The internship provided accommodation in Tsurumi for 21 days and teaching over a two-week period. They were taught under the guidance of Professor Yajima by Takumi Matsumoto, a PhD student in cultural heritage.

The focus of the internship was an introduction to urushi, or Japanese Lacquer, a traditional Japanese craft which has a rich history and has long been a highly prized material. It is versatile and highly durable, thus produced a distinctive art form which is widespread in Japan.

“We were greeted at Haneda Airport by Takumi Matusmoto who kindly took the time to make sure we could safely find the guest house in Tsurumi. To show even further hospitality we were greeted the following morning, outside our accommodation, by students Izumi and Arata, who showed us the route to Tsurumi University.”

Takumi Matsumoto taught the history and harvesting of urushi, traditional maki-e techniques (using gold powder) and mother of pearl decorative techniques. Other teaching was undertaken by students and professors at Tsurumi University who took Ally and Savannah on various guided museum visits to see many treasured lacquered objects. They also joined 3rd year students’ classes to learn traditional Japanese methods of handling and packaging for heritage objects, traditional methods for hanging Japanese scrolls and display techniques for ceramic objects which reduce the risk of damage during earthquakes.

Urushi Tools

Ally and Savannah working in the urushi studio

During the internship they each produced maki-e designs on a black urushi plate and a mother of pearl decorative pendant. This taught them an insight into the intense and lengthy processes involved in producing even small, simple objects using urushi. Which in turn, developed a deep appreciation of the craft.

Here, they reflect on and describe the processes used to create the maki-e designs on the black urushi plates;

“We chose from traditional Japanese maki-e design books and sketched out our designs. This was transferred onto the black urushi plates using red urushi, so that the design was distinguishable. The lacquer was covered in a very fine gold powder to illuminate the design which was then cured in a bespoke cabinet which provided the necessary 75% relative humidity and 25oC.

The following day the design was repeated in red urushi with a thicker line and very fine pure gold powder was sprinkled over the top ensuring all areas of red were saturated with gold. The thickness of the lacquer made this a challenging process – having this experience of using the material prior to museum visits left us both in awe of what can be produced using the same materials we were.

Transparent urushi and tools

Pure gold powder and tools

Once cured, the now gold design was covered with a thin layer of transparent urushi mixed with oil and Kamphor to reduce the viscosity and blotted with tissue paper to ensure any excess was removed, and then cured again. This was subsequently polished using very fine abrasives and burnished using a specialist tool – made from a seabream tooth, creating a vibrant gold surface.”

Ally working in the urushi studio

Ally (right) and Savannah’s (left) finished urushi maki-e plates

For their mother of pearl pendants, the base had been prepared by Takumi using black urushi. The mother of pearl was soaked in water to create a less brittle material. The pieces were cut using a scalpel and placed onto the surface of the pendant on top of a layer of transparent urushi, which was then cured. The top of this was covered with another layer of transparent urushi and after curing again, this was polished using abrasives to reveal the mother of pearl designs.

Ally (left) and Savannah’s (right) mother of pearl pendants

“The internship was completely inspiring. The excitement of learning such a treasured craft quickly led us to local specialist urushi craft shops in the hopes to have what we need to continue to practise these skills after returning to London. We both hope to one day come across such objects in our careers and put these wonderful skills and traditions into practice. We would like to say a huge thank the students and professors at Tsurumi university, they gave us an incredible experience made us feel so welcome in the process.”

In the urushi studio at Tsurumi university

Ice-cream in the park!


Images and words by Ally Wingate-Saul and Savannah Grieve



Screen printing masterclass with Rosanna Bishop, image credit: Thea Baddiley

We are delighted to announce that applications for the 2023/24 National Saturday Club at City & Guilds of London Art School are now open.

The National Saturday Club gives 13–16-year-olds across the country the opportunity to study subjects they love at their local university, college or cultural institution, for free.

Last year’s inaugural Saturday Club at the Art School was a huge success. Our 2022/23 members learned a range of heritage craft skills, from gilding to woodcarving, and showed their work in the end of year Summer Show at Somerset House. Take a look at what they learned over the year on our Saturday Club blog.

Our 2022/23 National Saturday Club Members at their end of course party

This year, our National Saturday Club will have two strands, with members choosing to explore either 2D or 3D Heritage Craft skills and making. Check out what will be covered in each strand below.

2D Heritage Craft Skills & Making
– Medieval Illumination Self Portrait
– Gilding (Verre Eglomise)
– Book Binding
– Marbling
– Print Making
– 2D Glasswork
– Trips to trade workshops
– Guest workshops from QEST scholars

3D Heritage Craft Skills & Making
– Sculptural Self Portait
– Woodcarving
– Stone Carving
– 3D Glasswork
– Trips to trade workshops
– Guest Workshops from QEST scholars

Both streams of the course will be taught by expert tutors who deliver BA and MA programmes at the Art School, with a range of trips and guest tutors throughout the year. Members will also be supported by a team of current Art School students who they will be able to chat to about what it takes to become an artist today.

Screen printing masterclass with Rosanna Bishop, image credit: Thea Baddiley

Please visit the National Saturday Club page on our website for full information on this year’s club. Applications will need to be submitted via the National Saturday Club website.

We invite you to share this opportunity with any young people looking for the chance to develop their creativity and explore the world of craft and craftsmanship.

If you have any questions, please contact Camilla at

We are most grateful to those donors whose generous support has made this project possible:
City & Guilds Foundation , Fishmongers’ Company

This week, we celebrated the hard work and achievements of our graduating MA Students in Fine Art, Conservation and Art & Material Histories at their end of year ceremony and prize giving.

The evening opened with a welcome from the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jamie Bill, who commended the graduands and the impressive display of work in their MA Show, which has been running from 2-9 September. Special thanks were given to colleagues and the wider Art School Faculty for their work ‘to create an environment where great talent, as we see today, can be nurtured’.

Jamie Bill, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Graduands from each of the courses spoke on behalf of their cohorts, with Valentino Vannini representing MA Fine Art, and Agata Nowak, Sarah Cleary and Emily Jieun Kim (Leverhulme Arts Scholar) representing MA Art & Material Histories. Each of their addresses acknowledged their fellow students and tutors for their guidance and support over their time at the Art School.

Valentino Vannini, MA Fine Art

(L-R) Emily Jieun Kim (Leverhulme Arts Scholar), Sarah Cleary and Agata Nowak, MA Art & Material Histories

“We were constantly challenged in an environment where care was modelled every day. Everyone in the school made time to give us a moment of their day to support us, and everyone has shown genuine interest in what we’re learning… The course has resulted in amazing alchemy which has left me with some life-long friends. To refer to them as my colleagues, professionally speaking, they are masters in their disciplines, and incredible guides to everyone else too. They have made this course so very memorable.” Valentino Vannini, MA Fine Art

The students handed over to the Heads of Department to give their addresses and present the graduands with their certificates and awards. Tom Groves, Head of Art Histories, praised the MA Art & Material Histories 2023 cohort for producing ‘some of the most conceptually exciting and materially-rich work [he had] ever seen’. Robin Mason, Head of Fine Art, reflected on the initial meeting that took place 25 years ago to discuss the delivery of an MA course at the Art School, and how proud those who had been present would be of this year’s graduands.

We were delighted to then be joined by Lady Bridgeman, Managing Director and founder of the Artists’ Collecting Society, to present the ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Prize. This year, the prize was awarded to Alice MacDonald, MA Fine Art. This award provides funding for the winning recipient to secure studio space in London for one year, supporting their transition into their career as a professional artist.

Lady Bridgeman, Artists’ Collecting Society

The ceremony was closed by the Art School Principal, Dr Lois Rowe, who thanked all those who have supported our students; from friends and family, to the Art School’s trustees and donors, and their tutors. Lois ended her closing remarks by saying, ‘it has been a privilege to witness the success of this year group, and I have no doubt these talented graduates will achieve great things’.

Dr Lois Rowe, Principal

We wish our graduating MA students the very best of luck, and congratulate them once again on an exceptional end of year show. Please take a look at our Images Gallery  to see  a range of the work on display, alongside photos from the End of Year Ceremony.

2023 Graduate Prizes and Awards

The Tony Carter Award: Camilla Dilshat, MA Fine Art

The ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Prize: Alice MacDonald, MA Fine Art

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Critical Engagement: Amelia Bowles, MA Fine Art

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding MA Fine Art Exhibition: Damaris Athene, MA Fine Art

The Standpoint Artist’s Residency: Valentino Vannini, MA Fine Art

The Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers’ Decorative Surfaces Fellowship: Eloise Dethier-Eaton, MA Fine Art

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Work in Print: Benjamin Topping, MA Fine Art

The Printmaking Prize for Technical Excellence: Sally Weatherill, MA Fine Art

The Skinners’ Company Stephen Gooden Prize for Engraving: Alice MacDonald, MA Fine Art

Alice MacDonald, MA Fine Art, winner of the ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Prize and the Skinners’ Company Stephen Gooden Prize for Engraving

Eloise Dethier-Eaton, MA Fine Art, winner of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers’ Decorative Surfaces Fellowship

Camilla Dilshat, MA Fine Art, winner of the Tony Carter Award

Damaris Athene, MA Fine Art (Leverhulme Arts Scholar), winner of the City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding MA Fine Art Exhibition

Amelia Bowles, MA Fine Art (Leverhulme Arts Scholar), winner of the City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Critical Engagement

Ben Topping, MA Fine Art, winner of the City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Work in Print

Sally Weatherill, MA Fine Art, winner of the Printmaking Prize for Technical Excellence

Valentino Vannini, MA Fine Art, winner of the Standpoint Artist’s Residency

You are warmly invited to our MA Show 2023, taking place from Saturday 2 September – Saturday 9 September 2023.

The show is a celebration of the outstanding work of our postgraduate Fine Art, Art & Material Histories and Conservation (presenting research) students, as well as current work from our Co-Chairs of Students and Fellows.

Please see full information on our public opening times, location and accessibility on our event page.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Art School!

Join our mailing list to receive updates and invitations for our Graduate Shows and events.

The Art School is delighted to announce the winners of our 2023 awards and prizes for continuing students.

Our student prizes recognise excellence and achievement shown throughout the academic year, along with a number of awards for outstanding competition entries. As always, we have been extremely impressed with our students’ work and the high standard of competition entries. We would like to commend all students for their continued hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to our 2023 prize winners!



Artists Collecting Society Undergraduate Prize: Maria Andrievskaya (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 2)

City & Guilds of London Art School Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize for a Conservation student: Thomas Yeung (BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces, Year 1)

Fishmongers’ Company Menu Cover Design Prize: Elizabeth Allen (BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding, Year 1)

Painter-Stainers Scholarship Prize: Louis Petit (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 1)

The Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table Award: Alex Wheeldon (BA (Hons) Carving: Stone Carving, Year 2) and Savannah Grieve (BA (Hons) Conservation, Year 2)



Brinsley Ford Travel Award: Henry Brown (BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding, Year 2)

David Ballardie Memorial Travel Award: Zoe Klink (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 2)

Fishmongers’ Company Beckwith Travel and Scholarship Prize: Kate Appleby (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 2)

Skinners’ Company Philip Connard Travel Prize: Issy Eberlin (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 2)



Surveyors’ Club Prize: Alex Wheeldon (BA (Hons) Carving: Stone Carving, Year 2)


We would also like to congratulate all our 2023 graduating student prize winners, who received their awards during their graduation ceremony on 23 June 2023.

We were delighted to take part in Southwark Cathedral’s Mudlarking and Heritage Craft Day on Saturday 29 July.

Over 2000 people came through the event, which celebrated the crafts used to build London. Attendees had the opportunity to get hands on with traditional skills, many of which were shown by Art School staff, students and alumni.

Visitors enjoyed demonstrations by Gilding Tutor Rian Kanduth, Kate Holmes (Stone Carving), Rob Postle (Lettering), Charlotte Jones (Gilding), Neville Richter (Woodcarving), Joshua Von Uexkull (Woodcarving), Julieta Herrera (Conservation) and Fiorella Lavado Chiarella (Conservation).

Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

Our National Saturday Club members, with friends, family and tutors, recently came together to celebrate the end of our first National Saturday Club, and what an amazing first year it’s been!

We have explored vérré eglomise, etching, chine collé, screen printing, wood carving and painting, working in gold, clay, ink, wood, pen and paint. We have also visited amazing creative spaces, from a trip to the V&A with the NSC, to visiting Fishmonger’s Hall and Two Temple Place with the Art School community.

Our members have created their own coat of arms, re-imaging this Heritage object through the lens of their own identities. The outcomes are nothing short of outstanding, and the commitment and hard work from our members has been inspiring to the whole National Saturday Club team at the Art School.

We were delighted to see our members’ work on display at the National Saturday Club Summer Show, which took place at Somerset House from 15-18 July. It was inspiring to see their pieces alongside the work of 1500 NSC members from across the country. If you weren’t able to see the exhibition, do check out our members’ work in the online showcase here.

We are so proud of our NSC x CGLAS 2022/2023 Alumni – congratulations!

Next academic year, we will be running two National Saturday Clubs at City & Guilds of London Art School.

2D Heritage Craft Skills and Making (12x spaces)

3D Heritage Craft Skills and Making (8x spaces)

If you are a young person interested in developing a career as an artist and maker (or you know a young person like this), check out the sign-up page on the NSC website to apply for one of our 2023/24 clubs.

Gilding Tutor and Art School alumna Rian Kanduth has been named as a finalist in the 2023 Heritage Crafts Awards in the category ‘Heritage Crafts/Marsh Trainer of the Year’.

The Art School nominated Rian in recognition of her expert teaching of gilding and lacquer techniques at the Art School, many of which are endangered. With over 25 years of experience, Rian works with more than eighteen techniques, such as water gilding, gesso, punchwork, oil gilding, verré eglomisé, japanning, penwork, coromandel, gesso cutting, sgraffito, pastiglia, patina, and more.

The award winners will be announced at a prestigious Winner’s Reception at the Vicar’s Hall, Windsor Castle, in November.

Wishing Rian the very best of luck!

On Friday 23rd June, Art School staff and students, along with friends and families, came together to celebrate the graduating classes of 2023 across our BA Fine Art, Carving and Conservation courses.

The evening commenced with the Degree Show Ceremony and Prize Giving, opened by Art School Principal Dr Lois Rowe, followed by a welcome from the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jamie Bill.

“We are here to this evening to celebrate you. We are here to celebrate the incredible variety, energy and brilliance that you have demonstrated during your time with us and to acknowledge the incredible community of parents, carers, partners, tutors and technicians that have supported you along the way.” Dr Lois Rowe, Art School Principal

 “For over 170 years the school has played a vital role in passing on specialist skills and inspiring new generations of artists to create new work, and to restore and conserve the precious built and cultural heritage of the past. As graduands, you are part of this important legacy. We know that you will be great ambassadors for the school.” Jamie Bill, Chair of Trustees

Art School Trustee Tabish Khan was then invited to address our graduating students, and offered two pieces of guidance: to keep the creative fire burning and be persistent, and to support and look out for each other. “You are doing something that you passionately believe in. It’s that creative spark that you’ve nurtured, and that you’ve invested in yourself. By doing this degree successfully, you are saying that you are following that dream.”

Tabish presented the Board of Trustees Prize, which was awarded to Maurice Mutua.

Trustee Tabish Khan presenting the Board of Trustees prize to BA (Hons) Fine Art Graduand Maurice Mutua

We were delighted to be joined by MA Fine Art Alumnus, Hugo Wilson, who returned to speak at the graduating ceremony. Hugo commended the students on the quality of their work, mentioning that “it’s not often that I come away from a show feeling really buoyed up and wanting to make, so thank you for doing that”. He spoke passionately about his time at the Art School and his twenty-year career as an artist, and imparted advice on resilience and the importance of self-reflection.

“Being an artist is a really strange life. You walk into blank rooms and blank spaces, and create something from nothing. You set up your own parameters, and often you are the last person who should be doing this. But it’s a privilege and it’s a responsibility. And to those who are doing conservation and restoration, the artists personally thank you in advance for looking after us” Hugo Wilson, MA Fine Art Alumnus

Hugo handed over to the Heads of Department, Robin Mason (Fine Art), Dr Marina Sokhan (Conservation) and Heather Newton (Carving), to present the certificates and prizes to the graduating students. This year was an especially momentous celebration for the Conservation department, as it marked the graduation of our first cohort of Books and Paper Conservation students. It was also a significant occasion for the Carving department, who will bid farewell to the current Head of Carving, Heather Newton, at the end of this academic year.

Heather Newton, Head of Carving, and the Carving Tutors

Adrian Munns joined us on behalf of the Mason’s Livery Company to present the Masons’ Company Prizes. The Masons’ Company Prize for Studentship and Commitment was awarded to Oliver Snelling, and the Masons’ Company Prize for Outstanding Work by a Graduating Student was awarded to Chris Nayler.

Adrian Munns presenting Chris Nayler with the Masons’ Company Prize for Outstanding Work by a Graduating Student

Oliver Snelling, Winner of the Masons’ Company Prize for Studentship and Commitment

Adrian handed over to Joe Parker, Master of the Joiners and Ceilers Company, to present the Joiners and Ceilers’ Prize. This year, the prize was awarded to Jo Grogan.

Joe Parker presenting Jo Grogan with the Joiners and Ceilers’ Prize

Please see a full list of the prizes at the end of the article.

The ceremony ended with heartfelt addresses from graduands from each course on behalf of their classmates. Each speaker thanked their fellow students, the staff and the team at Art School. This year’s graduands addresses were delivered by Jo Grogan, BA Hons Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding, Emma Sheridan, BA Hons Carving: Architectural Stone, Savannah du Quercy, BA Hons Fine Art, Rodrick Reid Scanche, BA Hons Fine Art, Ana Sofia Drinovan, BA Hons Conservation Books and Paper and Carla Learoyd, BA Hons Conservation Stone Wood and Decorative Surfaces.

“What a privilege it has been to learn alongside this bunch of mega-talented humans. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all made some friends for life. Our training here is unlike anything else, there’s a special kind of magic that permeates the carving department here at City & Guilds of London Art School.” Jo Grogan, BA Hons Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding

“Sculpture may be almost anything: a monument, a statue, an old coin, a bas-relief, a portrait bust, a lifelong struggle against heavy odds. It is a parable in three dimensions, a symbol of a spiritual experience, and a means of conveying truth by concentrating its essence into visible form.” (Sculpture Inside and Out, Marvina Hoffman), Emma Sheridan, BA Hons Carving: Architectural Stone

“Today, we not only celebrate the completion of our studies, but also the culmination of countless hours spent in the pursuit of art. We have stood side by side supporting and inspiring one another, through our triumphs and tribulations alike. We began this degree in the midst of very uncertain times, but despite the challenges, we are now stronger and more resilient, and we have all produced a body of work that we ought to be proud of.” Savannah du Quercy and Rodrick Reid Schanche, BA Fine Art

“We have had some incredible tutors, without whom we could not have built our ship, and under their guidance we all learned to navigate new waters, under storms and stress perhaps, but with new skills and the strong hearts required for us to keep on together. A little bit of camaraderie took us a long way.” Ana Sofia Drinovan, BA Hons Conservation Books and Paper

“The world of stone and wood and its beauty is fascinating, and to be able to work in some of the most historic buildings, and handle some of the most historically significant objects, is a world we will now be able to enter.” Carla Learoyd, BA Hons Conservation Stone Wood and Decorative Surfaces.



We wish our graduating students the very best of luck and we look forward to hearing about their future projects and endeavours!





Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table Award: Max Reynolds, BA (Hons) Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding

City & Guilds of London Art School The Board of Trustees Prize: Maurice Mutua, BA (Hons) Fine Art



Norman Ackroyd Etching Prize: Irene Burkhardt, BA (Hons) Fine Art



The Taylor Pearce Drawing Prize: Jo Grogan, BA (Hons) Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding

The Sir Roger de Grey Drawing Prize: Eddie Rowe, BA (Hons) Fine Art



City & Guilds of London Art School Research Project Prize (Books and Paper): Emily Mullin BA (Hons) Conservation: Books and Paper

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize Practical Conservation Project Prize (Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces): Joshua Horsfall, BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize Practical Conservation Project Prize: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces: Carla Learoyd BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize Practical Conservation Project Prize: Books and Paper: Emily Mullin BA (Hons) Conservation: Books and Paper

Venice in Peril Residency: Joshua Horsfall and Carla Learoyd BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces



De Laszlo Stone Carving Prize for Outstanding Work: Emma Sheridan, BA (Hons) Carving: Architectural Stone

De Laszlo Woodcarving Prize for Outstanding Work: Max Reynolds and Jo Grogan, BA (Hons) Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding

Joiner & Ceilers’ Prize: Jo Grogan, BA (Hons) Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding

Masons’ Company Prize for Outstanding Work by a Graduating Student: Chris Nayler, BA (Hons) Carving: Stone Carving

Masons’ Company Prize for Studentship and Commitment: Oliver Snelling, BA (Hons) Carving: Stone Carving

Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize for a Carving student: Jo Grogan, BA (Hons) Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding

City & Guilds of London Art School Lettering Prize: Oliver Snelling, BA (Hons) Carving: Stone Carving



Anthony Caro Sculpture Prize: Sophie Lloyd, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Baton Fine Art Prize: Sophie Lloyd, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Chadwyck-Healey Prize for Painting: Seraphina Mutscheller, BA (Hons) Fine Art



Brian Till Art Histories Thesis Prize (Carving): Rasha Obaid, BA (Hons) Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding

Brian Till Art Histories Thesis Prize (Fine Art): Seraphina Mutscheller

We are delighted to share that BA (Hons) Fine Art Graduate Sophie Lloyd has been chosen as the first recipient of the Anthony Caro Sculpture Prize. The award was gifted to the Art School earlier this year as one of two initiatives to support Fine Art students with a practice focused on sculpture.

Sophie’s art practice employs sugar, fondant icing and lead to create stained-glass characters, and is an exploration of consumerism, gluttony and entertainment. ‘The Live Show’, displayed at the Degree Show from 24-30 June, brings together 22 individual, fairground-like caricatures, displayed along with silicone javelins.

Paul Moorhouse, Chief Executive of the Anthony Caro Centre 2020-2023, commended Sophie and her fellow students:

“We were impressed by the standard of the students’ work. The school’s ethos of involvement with materials – both as a starting point and as essential to the creative process – was, we felt, entirely sympathetic to the work of Anthony Caro, whose achievements as a sculptor so deepened a wider understanding of what art is, and, more importantly, can be. That legacy, we believe, is in safe hands at City and Guilds of London Art School.

Among so much talent, Sophie’s work stood out because of her entirely distinctive engagement with materials. Her use of coloured fondant sugar and metal is surprising, witty and expressive: highly original, yet steeped in traditional practice. We particularly liked her combination of caricature, fairground imagery and references to leaded glass. We also admired her ability to infuse apparently light-hearted imagery with more profound implications, not least the way that change in her work’s appearance so effectively evokes the passage of time.”

Congratulations Sophie!

Sixth Form students and young artists Savannah and Temi joined us for a week of work experience at the Art School. Find out more about what they learned, saw and experienced below, and take a look at the photos they captured throughout the week!

Savannah’s Work Experience

I have been doing one week of work experience at City and Guilds of London Art School, and I have loved it. Being so interested in the art world, and desperate to learn about the roles within it, this work placement has been the very best for me. I’ve been lucky enough to explore the various different departments and spaces that make up the school. For example, I was able to work with a woodcarving technician named Ana on the first day, as well as various other printmakers, and see their work in action. There has also been the chance for me to work behind reception and learn about the behind the scenes.

However, one of the most interesting tasks I was given was the role of helping sort through the archives of the Art School’s past degree shows. In the library, along with the Art School Librarian Harriet and my work experience partner Temi, we boxed up postcards and photos from when the school first opened. The Art School has a tradition of keeping business cards and postcards used by the art students during their exhibitions, in order to keep a list of every artist that attended the school. These postcards dated back until the year 2000!

As well as having the opportunity to explore the degree show, showcasing graduating BA students’ artwork, I was also able to meet two artists whose work was being exhibited. One of the artists had actually made a piece created from sugar arranged on a long table between two rooms (pictured below). It was inspiring to see how all these artists actually work when we took a tour through some of their working studios!

The Degree Show was made from a curation of Stone Carving, Woodcarving, Fine Art and Conservation. The collection was truly inspiring. Alongside this, the Degree Show was really important for exposing us to other art methods that I for one had never even really heard about. For example, Japanning, which is a ‘type of finish that originated as a European imitation of East Asian lacquerwork during the 17th century’. I had never seen or heard of this technique before until the show and that is why I think the show was so successful; because it showcased art that you don’t see in the everyday or that can sometimes go unnoticed.

All in all, the work experience here has been incredible. I’ve learned about the different jobs that many people take on here that might not be specifically creating art, but without them, the school would not be able to run. For instance, without Hannah and Bridget, who look after Development, there would be nobody to manage the grants for the school, which is a charity. Without Sarm at the reception, everybody would seem to be very lost, as I first was when I came! As well as Harriet in the library who provides a very calm oasis for students to work and learn alongside their course. Of course, there are so many more people who work here and who have shown me the intricate workings of this community and who, at the end of the day, are the reason for the success of the school.

Temi’s Work Experience

With my experience at City and Guilds of London Art School being my first ever work experience, it has been extremely helpful in opening my eyes to more than just the creative side of art. I am now familiar with the monetary side of art and even the management side of art. I have managed to construct a relationship with both MA and BA students at the Art School, talking with them about different styles of art and their impact on humans and the environment.

First, I visited the wood workshop, where I met Ana, the Woodwork Tutor. She described her role as someone who helps the students review and perfect their ideas, whilst still making them their own. Anna was once a student at the Art School and she really enjoyed it, as she was able to explore her love for art. From her, I have learnt that you can always find a job where you get to do what you love and enjoy. Then I met Bridget, who was all about the Development and Marketing side of the Art School and how they support the development of the Art School as a charity. One thing I really like about City and Guilds of London Art School is that it is very supportive of individualism in art whilst  creating a haven for students to secure art materials and help from professionals. The Degree Show presents the amazing works of their students in a gallery-like display and gives the opportunity for students to sell their works, preparing them for the professional life of an artist.

Enjoyably, I experienced the role of an art librarian, being supervised by Harriet. She talked about her responsibilities such as maintaining the wellbeing of books in the library and making sure they are properly arranged. Some are placed in alphabetical order, like the books that are about artists, and some books are kept out of reach due to their delicate nature, such as the almost-weightless Japanese book (pictured above). Harriet gave me the role of organizing files and information from past Degree Shows, so they could be easily accessed. Working with Harriet has helped me understand that, by working in an art organisation, one could still find a contented job in the industry without directly being involved with art.

I met a 2nd Year BA Fine Art student, Orla, an amazing artist. She took me on a tour all around the Art School, showing all of the stunning works of the other students. We shared our opinions about the uniqueness of each work and it’s effects on us. As an artist, it was really uplifting to talk about art with another artist. We talked about the difference between MA and BA degrees and the importance of a Foundation Course. I got to meet some of the students whose works I’d seen, like Seraphina Mutscehller and Em Smith. They were very communicative, which is a skill I think is crucial to have as an artist, in order to talk about your work and secure opportunities for your artistic future. Perhaps they have acquired this skill as a result of the artistic independence the Art School allows them. Orla then took us to the Print Room, where we met a couple of professional printmakers, and they talked about how the printmaking machines are used and what type of effects they create based on how they are used. Learning about the printmaking techniques helped me understand the concepts and processes of certain artworks I had seen earlier.

Briefly, I was also given the privilege to work at the front desk during the 2023 Degree Show, welcoming guests into the Art School to view the works of the art students, directing them to the different parts of the building and handing out maps. I was also able to work with current students during this process. The Degree Show really showed me that I might want to be involved in this organisation for a long time.

Doing work experience at City and Guilds of London Art School has helped me develop skills that are important in the professional world, such as communication skills, teamwork, punctuality, listening skills and people skills.



Thank you for joining us, Savannah and Temi!

City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to have appointed Tom Young as the new Head of Carving.

Tom has over 20 years extensive experience as a lettering designer and carver, and has run his own business alongside developing his teaching practice. Having taught Lettering at the Art School since 2006, Tom has held the position of Senior Lettering tutor since 2014. Professionally, he has worked with organisations such as the Fishmongers Livery Company, the Olympic Park, Old Royal Navy College Greenwich, Eton College and many others.

The Art School is also pleased to share that Ghislain Puget will be taking over from Nina Bilbey as Lead Stone Carving Tutor while Nina takes a leave of absence. Ghislain has been working in the Carving department since 2007. He is a highly experienced teacher and professionally qualified stone carving Tutor who is passionate about carving, sculpture and architecture.

Our deepest congratulations to Tom and Ghislain as they move into these key roles within our Art School from the beginning of the 2023/24 academic year.

The Art School would like to thank Heather Newton for leading the Carving department from 2020-2023, and wish her the very best in her future projects and endeavours.

BA (Hons) Carving: Architectural Stone Carving Alumnus Steffan Lomax has completed a commission for the Worshipful Company of Masons to donate as a prize to the Sherriff’s Ball auction, helping raise funds for the Lord Mayors Appeal. This marks the seventh occasion that a work by a City & Guilds of London Art School Carving student has been donated by the Masons Company Charitable Trust. Each year, the winning stone carving student at the Art School’s London Craft Week Carving competition is offered the commission by the Company.

Made from Portland stone, the carving is based on a memorial from St Paul’s Cathedral which commemorates its destruction and subsequent rebirth after the Great Fire of London. The design portrays a phoenix rising from flames and smoke along with the Latin inscription ‘Resurgam’, translating to ‘I shall rise again’. Steffan chose the material as the stone from which the new cathedral was built.

The carving is inspired by the Wren 300 celebrations, taking place this year to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Sir Christopher Wren. It will be auctioned at the Sheriff’s Ball on Friday 22nd September.

Ana Kazaroff, MA Fine Art Alumna, Wood Workshop Technician and Fine Art Partnerships Co-ordinator, has been awarded a Develop Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England. The fund is highly competitive, and supports individual cultural or creative practitioners to take a period of time to focus on their development.

“This Summer I am excited to be able to pursue a period of research and development with support from the Arts Council England as I’ve been awarded a Develop Your Creative Practice grant. This is a great opportunity to develop my practice by experimenting with different materials, working with new collaborators, travel abroad to take part in artists’ residencies, as well as build new networks for future projects and presentation of work.

I make installations with sculptures made of wood, polystyrene and plaster painted to look like different surfaces. I draw connections between everyday materials, such as processed meats and stone. Painting faux finishes is a way of questioning the hierarchy between materials and objects. I am interested in faking materials as a way of faking status. I use the fake in my work in relation to stereotypes and authenticity, reflecting on my experience as a Latinx immigrant.

Studio time will allow me to learn how to use an airbrush and develop new techniques in painting faux surfaces. I will also use ceramics and test glazes to create rich organic textures. I will be experimenting with creating backdrops and props, and photographing artworks within these bespoke sets to create new digital collages in collaboration with photographer Maria Alejandra Huicho. A second collaboration includes writer Camila Charask, with whom I will create pieces from playing with words, images and mistranslations. This award will give me time and the means to develop my work in new and unexpected ways.”

Keep an eye on our website later in the summer for an update on Ana’s project, and find out more about Ana’s work via her website.

You are invited to our Degree Show 2023, taking place from Saturday 24 June – Friday 30 June 2023.

The show is a celebration of the outstanding work of our 2023 graduates from our undergraduate Fine Art, Conservation and Carving courses.

Please see full information on our public opening times, location and accessibility on our event page.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Art School!

Join our mailing list to receive updates and invitations for our Graduate Shows and events.


Over Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May, the Art School opened its doors for our biggest London Craft Week event to date. Across the two days, visitors joined us to celebrate specialist craft skills by taking part in our programme of activities, and it was fantastic to see so many people.

The event kicked off with the start of the Annual Carving Competition 2023, a highly anticipated event in our London Craft Week programme. Running across the two days, Woodcarving and Stone carving students were given twelve hours to complete an original work, using only hand tools. This year, the competition was themed on Sir Christopher Wren, in honour of the tercentenary of his death and contributing to the programme of Wren 300.

The 2023 Carving Competition

We were delighted to welcome back alumni Marcia Bennett Male (1997) and Will Davies (2009) as our judges for this year’s competition. During the prize-giving, they both commended the standard of the competitors’ work, the level of execution and the attention to detail. Well done to all those who took part, and a huge congratulations to our winners:

2023 Carving Competition Winners (L-R) Finn Conlon, Natalie Gee, Judith Letchford, Chris Nayler, Henry Brown, Max Reynolds, Jack Fonseca-Burtt

(L-R) Art School Principal Dr. Lois Rowe, Senior Woodcarving Tutor Tom Ball, Alumni and Carving Competition Judges Will Davies and Marcia Bennett Male

Alongside placing their vote for the People’s Choice award, visitors were also invited to have a go at stone carving. We had a number of stone carvers in the making stopping by!

Have a go at Stone Carving

Over the two days, Conservation students ran a series of demonstrations and interactive activities, including paper marbling, gilding, japanning and paper restoration. The students were joined by Tutor Sarah Davis, who demonstrated Medieval Painting and Manuscript Illumination, and Decorative Surfaces Fellow Simon Bejer, who demonstrated the painting techniques of Trompe-l’œil.

Paper Marbling Demonstration

In the Art School’s historic print room, visitors had the opportunity to take part in printmaking workshops with Print Fellow Wai Wong. Wai ran a series of hands-on workshops on the traditional process of Intaglio printing, where participants were taught how to create beautiful debossed prints using a variety of materials to create texture but without using ink.

Printmaking Workshop with Wai Wong

A number of exhibitions were on display throughout the Art School over the weekend. Visitors were greeted in the atrium by an exhibition of alumni work by the Lettering Arts Trust, showing the skills of those who have honed their craft via their journeyman training schemes. Our National Saturday Club members, who have been learning heritage craft skills at the Art School every Saturday this academic year, had a range of their work on display, from carved heraldic shields to examples of verre églomisé. In our Drawing Studio, visitors enjoyed an exhibition of entries for the Art School’s Taylor Pearce Drawing Prize. This is open to students on our Carving and Conservation degree programmes, and included sketches, studies and more sustained drawings.

Lettering Arts Trust Exhibition

Local artisan beer company, Fabal Lager, held a free Talk & Tasting in the Art School café, where visitors learned about their locally-sourced ingredients, commitment to sustainability and championing of craftsmanship.

Thank you to our sponsors, The Masons’ Company Craft Fund, The Carpenters’ Company, Dick Onians and Fabal Lager, and thank you to everyone who visited and took part. We hope to see you all at our upcoming Degree Show and at next year’s London Craft Week.

Beer Tasting with Fabal Lager

BA (Hons) Fine Art students Sophie Lloyd and Savannah du Quercy have been featured in this year’s a-n Degree Shows Guide.

Established in 1998, it is the 25th anniversary edition of the Degree Shows Guide.

“While higher education in the UK has been transformed, the degree show remains integral to the final-year experience. It is a vital, energising, unmissable and deeply visceral moment of new and inspiring creativity.” Julie Lomax, CEO of a-n

Students are selected for the guide by open call. We are delighted that two of our graduates are amongst the 31 artists featured this year and that Sophie was one of 12 artists selected for interview.

Check out the features and the interview in the guide here.

Page 11 – Sophie Lloyd, Twin Gullets, 2023

Page 15 – Savannah du Quercy, Uprooted I, II, 2022

Page 36 – Interview with Sophie Lloyd

Interested in studying BA Fine Art with us?

We still have a few places available for study in 2023/24.

Visit our Apply page to find out more.

Last week, Heritage Crafts released the 2023 update of their Red List of Endangered Crafts. First published in 2017, the Red List is an important call to action that provides evidence and understanding of where change is needed, alongside celebrating specialist craft skills.

The latest research has identified an increased number of endangered craft skills in the UK, with 17 new additions to the list.

“The effect of the energy crisis, inflation, COVID-19 and Brexit have been tough on everyone, not least the craftspeople who possess our most fundamental craft skills. We know that heritage craft skills operate like an ecosystem; if we lose one part it can have devastating consequences on other parts of the system. If we allow endangered crafts to disappear then we seriously diminish the opportunities for future generations to create their own sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods and deal with the challenges of the future.” Mary Lewis, Endangered Crafts Manager at Heritage Crafts

259 crafts were assessed for the 2023 edition of the Red List, to determine the practices at most risk of extinction. Out of these crafts:

– 146 were included on the Red List
– 62 were classified as critically endangered
– 84 were classified as endangered
– 112 were classified as currently viable

Critically endangered: “Crafts classified as ‘critically endangered’ are those at serious risk of no longer being practised in the UK. They may include crafts with a shrinking base of craftspeople, crafts with limited training opportunities, crafts with low financial viability, or crafts where there is no mechanism to pass on the skills and knowledge.”

Endangered: “Crafts classified as ‘endangered’ are those which currently have sufficient craftspeople to transmit the craft skills to the next generation, but for which there are serious concerns about their ongoing viability. This may include crafts with a shrinking market share, an ageing demographic or crafts with a declining number of practitioners.”

Currently viable: “Crafts classified as ‘currently viable’ are those which are in a healthy state and have sufficient craftspeople to transmit the craft skills to the next generation. They may include crafts with a large market share, widely popular crafts, or crafts with a strong local presence. NB. A classification of ‘currently viable’ does not mean that the craft is risk-free or without issues affecting its future sustainability/viability”


At the Art School, we are dedicated to passing on specialist craft skills to new generations of artists and makers through our undergraduate, postgraduate, foundation and short course programmes. We are proud to be a training provider / support organisation for the following craft skills featured on this year’s Red List:

Composition Picture Frame Making (new for 2023)
Graining and Marbling (new for 2023)
Lacquerwork – Japanning, Coromandel and other lacquerwork (new for 2023)
Pigment Making (new for 2023)
Paper Marbling

Stone carving
Letter cutting
Screen printing (new for 2023)

View the full Red List of Endangered Crafts 2023, produced by Heritage Crafts with the support of the Pilgrim Trust.

The Britain-Australia Society Education Trust (BASET) and City & Guilds of London Art School have come together to offer financial support to a talented and deserving person with a passion for conservation. This funding is open to an Australian national to study on the Art School’s three-year BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces or BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper courses, enrolling in Autumn 2023 or Autumn 2024.

The successful applicant will demonstrate a willingness to commit to an intensive course that is carefully structured to enable development of the knowledge and skills needed to undertake a professional career in the conservation and heritage industry. We aim to select a student to study and train in London in order to increase those skills and share knowledge and ideas. Ultimately, they will take those skills home to continue their work, while building valuable links between our two countries.

“Joint funding from BASET and City & Guilds of London Art School has provided an opportunity for me to retrain for a career in conservation. As a result, I will return home to Australia equipped with the specialist knowledge, skills and experience to forge a successful career.” Previous Endeavour Award recipient Katie Smith (Graduated 2020)

Read more from Katie, who has secured a top conservation position since returning to Australia here.

BASET (The Britain Australia Society Education Trust) is a UK based charity which runs a range of educational awards to enable talented young people from Britain and Australia to study abroad, furthering their education and career skills. For more information about BASET (registered charity no. 803505) please visit the charity’s website.

Value: £10,000 per year towards full time International student tuition fees of £18,500 per year of study.
Duration: Three years
Application: Australian nationals offered a place on one of the Art School’s BA (Hons) Conservation courses are invited to apply for this award.
Details: The award is for three years of study, and will be paid directly towards tuition fees. The applicant recognises that some additional funding from personal sources will be required and that transport, visa and living costs are the responsibility of the applicant. The successful applicant must provide regular updates and will produce annual end of academic year reports. On the completion of their course, award recipients will be invited to join BASET’s alumni community.

For more details, please visit our Conservation page. Alternatively, to discuss an application and your interest in the award, please contact

Geoplexus, 2022, acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 180 cm


Last week, we were privileged to be visited by London-based painter Vivien Zhang.

Vivien generously delivered a lecture to our MA Fine Art and third year BA (Hons) Fine Art students on her research and painting process, as well as curatorial notes on her recent shows in Beijing (Long March Space), London (Pilar Corrias), Shanghai (TANK) and Dubai (Lawrie Shabibi).

Thank you, Vivien!


Geogrid 2, 2022, acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 180 cm

Tuesday Riddell, Decorative Surfaces Fellow and BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate, has been featured in the latest edition of Crafts magazine.

Interviewed by Isabella Smith, Tuesday shares her inspirations and the detailed stages of japanning, using processes that date back to the 17th century.

‘Riddell discovered the technique in 2018 during a Painter Stainers’ Decorative Fellowship at City & Guilds of London Art School, which she signed up to after completing a bachelor’s degree in fine art painting… “Japanning is endangered: it’s not taught much, except on a few conservation courses. The fellowship brings life into techniques that aren’t really used anymore”’.

Check out the full interview in Issue 296 of Crafts magazine.

This summer, Tuesday will be showing 20 works at her solo exhibition, including her largest work to date. Visit ‘In Shadows’ at Messums London, from 14 July – 13 August.


Final year BA Conservation: Books & Paper student Rhys Briggs is working on a poster issued early during the Second World War by the Ministry of Health. The poster appeals to mothers of evacuated children to keep them safe and not bring them back to cities for fear of a more significant bombing campaign to come.

There were two versions of this poster made. The first bore the message ‘Leave your children where they are’, which was later changed to ‘Leave your children in the safer areas’. Initial assessment of this copy revealed that the revised message had simply been adhered over the top of the original.

In addition to removing the poster from its unsuitable lining and plywood backing, Rhys has been working to detach the printing revision so that both parts can be displayed alongside one another. In doing so, the history of the object, why it was made and why it was changed, can be told in its entirety.

Rhys’ projects will be on display at the Degree Show in June alongside his peers, the first graduates from our BA Conservation: Books & Paper course since it launched in 2020.

Visit the Degree Show between 24-30 June, more information here.


This week our National Saturday Club members had the privilege of having QEST scholar and print maker Rosanna Bishop on site to run a masterclass on screen printing.

Our members carried through the motif of a shield and worked collaboratively to make designs for a tote bag. They were inspired by Rosanna’s illustrative aesthetic, and drew inspiration from her incredibly detailed flora and fauna.

Thank you Rosanna, QEST and National Saturday Club for an amazing session!

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

Photo credits: Thea Baddiley

Judith Letchford, second from left. Photo credit: Clunie Fretton (Instagram)

Judith Letchford (GradDip Arts: Carving) won first place and Jo Grogan (BA Hons: Woodcarving and Gilding) won second place at the Worshipful Company of Joiners & Ceilers’ Company annual woodcarving competition, which took place on Saturday 22 April.

The competition is open to participants who have recently or nearly completed their training in joinery and woodcarving.

Competitors are required to finish a set piece of work within nine hours which demonstrates “an ability to carry out woodcarving commissions to good commercial standards, with emphasis on the interpretation of drawings, drawing out of work and the skilled use of hand tools”.

Jo Grogan, photo credit: The Worshipful Company of Joiners & Ceilers’ Company (Instagram)


Congratulations Judith and Jo!

Find out more about studying Carving at the Art School here.

Two Art School students have had their work accepted for the 30th anniversary exhibition of the British Art Medal Society Student Medal Project.

“[The Student Medal Project] was conceived by the British Art Medal Society as a means of re-introducing the art of the modern medal into art colleges within Great Britain – through bronze casting – and it has grown to include a considerable number of UK institutions and one invited foreign academy each year, this year from Pforzheim University, making it an international project. In 2023, 21 UK Colleges took part, with students creating a total of 165 cast medals: a new generation of medal makers.”          Marcy Leavitt Bourne, Director, Student Medal Project

First year student Kate Holmes (BA (Hons) Carving: Architectural Stone) and second year student Henry Brown (BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding) had their medals exhibited in the show.

Henry Brown, Medal to the Earth
‘This medal is a study into our relationship with the earth. The coolness of bronze echoes the harsh coolness of industry that tears up the natural world in search of precious materials and ores. The colour red indicates the heat of the world. As the medal sits in your hand it begins to warm, much like the world, as global temperatures are on the rise. How long before the natural world is overtaken by out industrial needs and drives.’

Kate Holmes, Cognizance
‘I’m not sure I’ve ever felt free as an individual, always a faceless part of a squad, having entered the arm at a young age, a cog in a machine. This year I enrolled at City & Guilds of London Art School and for the first time feel like the scales have been tipped: encouraged to claim my agency, to find true autonomy, to think critically and creatively. This medal represents expanding beyond the “machine”. I want the unbinding of the zip on my medal to give way to the unknown underneath. It represents a literal and figurative cleaving, a severing along the grain to welcome in a previously unknown multivalence of options. Ultimately, the piece symbolises opening up to new ideas, reclaiming my own sovereignty.’

Find out more in the exhibition catalogue, where you can find the Art School featured on Page 32.

The exhibition is open at Central Saint Martins in Granary Square until Tuesday 9th May.

The Anthony Caro Centre Copyright: The Anthony Caro Centre, 2023

We are delighted to announce a new gift from the Anthony Caro Centre that will support two new initiatives to support students.

The Anthony Caro Sculpture Prize will be awarded this summer to a graduating third year BA Fine Art student, with a degree show presentation focussed on sculpture.

The Anthony Caro Sculpture Bursary will be allocated towards tuition fees for a MA Fine student with a practice focussed on sculpture, beginning academic year 2023/24.

The Anthony Caro Centre Copyright: Photo by Shigeo Anzai @ The Anthony Caro Centre

Sir Anthony Caro OM CBE (1924 – 2013) played a pivotal role in the development of twentieth century sculpture and we are honoured that his legacy will be remembered at the Art School through this support of the next generation of sculptors. Our thanks to the Anthony Caro Centre.

“The Anthony Caro Centre is dedicated to preserving and promoting Caro’s artistic legacy. Based at the site of his former studio in Camden, north London, the Centre is responsible for exhibiting, storing, conserving and lending the outstanding works in its collection; it also houses the artist’s archive and library. As such, it forms the main platform for the study and appreciation of Caro’s achievements.”
Paul Moorhouse, Chief Executive, The Anthony Caro Centre

Our bursary programme aims to ensure all those with the potential and dedication to be offered a place on our courses are able to take it up, regardless of financial circumstance.

Please visit our Student Funding and Apply pages to find out more about making a bursary application or to contact our admissions team.

Final course application deadlines for 2023/24:

MA Fine Art: Monday 1 May

BA Fine Art: Monday 8 May

This week at The National Saturday Club, the two groups swapped over. One group began to learn a different method of wood carving with Sarah, and the other dove into calligraphy with Rosella.

As always, the work is incredible and we couldn’t be prouder to see the exceptional talent of our members shine through.

Visit Us

If you want to check out what we have been up to, come and visit the Art School on Friday 12 – Saturday 13 May. Over the two days, we will be hosting a programme of activities for London Craft Week, including an exhibition of our National Saturday Club members’ work. Come along to check out their amazing artworks and see what they have learned over the year.

Register to join next year’s cohort

There are now just 9 more weeks until this programme is finished.

Do you know a young creative who would love to participate in a course like this? Keep your eyes peeled on our website for updates of not one, but TWO courses that will be taking place next year.

Sign up to our mailing list for updates.


Jenkin Portrait, photo credit – Alien


Artist and film-maker Jenkin van Zyl visited the Art School this week to speak to our BA Fine Art and MA Fine Art students.

Jenkin presented two generous talks on his practice, sharing with the students with his conceptual insight, research notes, technical details and behind-the-scenes access to his incredible film installations.

A big thank you to Jenkin for your visit and time.

Applying to study Fine Art with us? Our last application cycle deadlines are coming up soon.

MA Fine Art: Monday 1 May

BA Fine Art: Monday 8 May

Visit our Apply page for more information and to submit your application.


Surrender, Film Still (2023)

Welcome to the Palace of Wasted Footsteps (2023)

Machines of Love, Film Still (2021)

Loon (2019)

You are invited to our Foundation Show 2023, taking place from Wednesday 17 May – Saturday 20 May 2023.

The show is a celebration of the outstanding work of our 2023 graduates studying Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. During this year of exploration, students interrogate and extend their art practice and create an impressive body of work, displayed in this end of year show.

Please see full information on our public opening times, location and accessibility on our event page.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Art School!

Join our mailing list to receive updates and invitations for our Graduate Shows and events.

This week, BA (Hons) Conservation: Books and Paper and MA Conservation: Books and Paper students visited Christie’s for a private view of a display of maps and atlases from the Sunderland Collection. Art School Trustee, Helen Sunderland-Cohen, kindly invited us for an early view of the display, taking place at Christie’s over this week by appointment.

Twelve maps and twelve atlases were on display out of the total collection of around 120 objects, ranging from the 13th to the 19th century.

Helen guided the students through the works, discussing their materials, uses and contexts. Students were then given time to get a closer look and engage with the maps and atlases, and admire the extraordinary examples of craftsmanship, artistry, and knowledge.

Thank you to Helen and Christie’s for hosting us and providing an inspirational afternoon for our students. Find out more about the Sunderland Collection and explore the incredible range of maps, globes, and atlases by visiting their website.

Interested in studying Books & Paper Conservation with us?

We are still accepting applications for 2023/24.

Join us at our next In-Person Open Day, taking place on Thursday 27 April.

We were thrilled to see third year BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding student, Jo Grogan, featured in the latest edition of Country Life magazine.

Photographed in her workshop at the Art School by Mike Garrard, the caption reads:

“Jo is studying for a degree in historical wood carving and gilding at City & Guilds of London Art School and is a support teacher for the National Saturday Club, a charity that provides workshop opportunities for teenagers. Last year, she was one of 25 craftspeople to be awarded funding from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. Jo is engaged to Stuart Whitton and is the daughter of Ron and Joan Grogan of Liverpool.”

Jo is in the process of completing her final year project, Rocialle Morphosis, an ornate carved frame.

Fascinated by the intersection of nature and historical ornament Rocialle Morphosis is an exploration of both the past and present. Inspired by historical rococo ornament with amplified marine references, the piece is a celebration of both nature and craftsmanship.

Find out more about Jo’s work on her Instagram page.

Image credit: Country Life Magazine, Vol CCXX No 13, March 29 2023.

First Year BA (Hons) Conservation: Books and Paper students have been learning printmaking as part of their heritage craft modules.

Over a period of two weeks, the students have learned a variety of printing techniques including etching and screen printing, taught by our lead Tutor and Head of Printmaking, Jason Hicklin.

In the photos, our students are learning the sugar lift etching process. Sugar lift is a saturated sugar solution that is painted onto a metal plate. Dilute nitric acid is used to etch the zinc plates, which are later inked up by hand and printed onto paper using a cast iron etching press.

Interested in studying with us?

Applications are still open for 2023/24. Find out more about our BA Conservation courses at one of our upcoming Open Days.

Two of our carving alumni won bronze medals in their respective categories at the Goldsmiths Craft & Design Council Awards, which took place earlier this month at the Goldsmiths’ Hall in London.

Diploma in Ornamental Woodcarving & Gilding Graduate (2018) and Woodcarving Tutor Sarah Davis won a bronze award in the senior 3D Modellers Category.

Bone Bed, Sarah Davis

“The artwork I entered is a wax model for an art medal titled ‘Bone Bed’. The design references the earliest fossilised dinosaur embryo ever found. The model is small and nestles comfortably in the palm of your hand. The next step is to have this wax model cast in bronze.

Art medals are typically double sided. They are objects for the hand to be turned and played with. Their narrative, however abstract or simple is revealed in the act of turning. Since September 2022 I have been taking part in The British Art medal societies New medallist scheme. The scheme is a year long developmental programme intended to provide a framework by which artists based in Great Britain and Northern Ireland can develop their interest in the medal as a vehicle of artistic expression. Its aim is to deepen and broaden the selected artist’s knowledge of the medal and to expand their awareness of the medium’s possibilities.”

BA (Hons) Architectural Stone Carving Graduate (2019) Sue Aperghis entered the 2D Art medal design section and also won bronze in the senior category.

Reflect on Profits, Sue Aperghis

“In briefing for this year, we were invited to consider the critical value of water in the world, and the myriad ways in which water can be depicted on the two sides of an art medal, to create a coherent narrative about a material upon which all life depends.

My investigation into the theme of water was to question the thirst our cities have for profits and the relationship it is having on the landscape and our civilisation which can be argued is on the edge of collapse.”

You can re-watch the Awards Ceremony via the link below, with the 2D Medal Design Category shown from 14:40 and 3D Modellers Category from 32:20.

Natalia Glinoer (BA Fine Art graduate, 2016) has won The Michael Harding Award from the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) for her painting, ‘In the Artist’s Studio’. The work was selected for the RBA 200th Anniversary Exhibition at Mall Galleries, showcasing both emerging artists and established member artists.

“The painting depicts a friend from Brighton in her roommate’s studio. I was interested in creating a warm ambience and inviting atmosphere. I was aiming for intensity in her gaze, whilst gently holding her face in her hands. My work is often spontaneous and I paint in a very instinctive way. I love painting in oils because of the transparency and almost glowing quality the paint can give.”

“My work reflects my immediate environment and the relationships I have to people. I strive to create a permanent feeling and build layers of time looking into a distilled image. I paint both from life and with photography as an aid, but don’t rely on it as I find it not a true representation of my personal reality. I work intently from observation and the atmosphere I feel when I paint. Time and memory are constant themes in my paintings. I’m interested in painterly realism, a sense of capturing a living and breathing person in paint. My themes are relationships, vulnerability, nakedness, my struggles with loneliness, isolation and anxiety. I paint people as a way to communicate those feelings. I paint friends and family and people I’ve not seen in a while. I’m interested in the distance of these relationships and my memory of these people I paint over time. My work is very intuitive and I deal with a lot of intense emotions which is part of my process. I’m heavily influenced by the highly emotionally charged portraits by Kathe Kollwitz, Andrew Wyeth, Victor Wang’s contemporary use of paint and Michelangelo’s sculptures as well as the natural world.”

Natalia Glinoer is an artist based in Brighton. She studied at City and Guilds of London Art School, 2014-2016 and at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, 2018-2021. In 2017, Natalia won the RBA Rome Scholarship where she travelled to Rome for one month, studying the high renaissance, baroque paintings and sculptures that helped inspire her current work. She has and continues to work on private commissions.

Natalia has exhibited across the UK, notably at the Green and Stone Gallery, The Royal Society of British Artists, New English Art Club, ING Discerning Eye and The Society of Women Artists at the Mall Galleries.

Instagram: @natalia_glinoer_artist


The last couple of weeks have seen our National Saturday Club members develop their carving practice.

They have been working independently to execute their designs around their identity-themed heraldic shields, with the help of our wonderful tutors and student assistants.

After the Easter Holidays our two groups will swap over and complete their shields.

Watch this space – we’re developing more places for next year!

If you are interested in joining, or know a young person aged 13-16 who would like to get involved in next year’s National Saturday Club, check out our blog and register your interest through joining our mailing list.


We are delighted to have received new grant support which will expand the Art School’s existing bursary programme and work with young people. Thanks to this generous gift, we have established ‘The Bloomfield Bursaries’ and launched a new widening participation project, ‘Tutors into Schools’.

The Bloomfield Bursaries will offer a BA Fine Art student and an MA Fine Art student funding for full home fees, plus a stipend towards living costs and materials. Applications for this support are open for 2023/24.

Our bursary programme aims to ensure all those with the potential and dedication to be offered a place on our courses are able to take it up, regardless of financial circumstance.

Please visit our Student Funding and Apply pages to find out more about making a bursary application or to contact our admissions team.

Final course application deadlines for 2023/24:

MA Fine Art: Monday 1 May

BA Fine Art: Monday 8 May

Tutors into Schools will build on our existing work with young people, such as our National Saturday Club for 13-16 year olds. This new project will see Art School tutors, alumni and students going into the classrooms of local secondary schools to provide bespoke workshops in our specialisms. This will give the learners opportunity to directly experience the skills taught on our courses, from their own classroom. It will also provide them with the chance to speak to us about higher education and career options, and consider alternative pathways for their future.

We are committed to increasing the accessibility of our courses, arts education and careers. This new bursary opportunity and project will help us to achieve our objectives for this as set out in our Strategic Plan for the next five years.

Dr Lois Rowe, Principal of City & Guilds of London Art School, commented: “”Our priority as a school to germinate and nurture a more diverse cohort continues to be stymied by the systemic and institutional barriers young people face before they even reach our doors. This generous gift will enable us to launch a transformational ‘Tutors into Schools’ programme which will see us bring our unique specialisms of contemporary art and craft to teaching programs at local schools. Moreover, it will allow us to fully fund a number of places for applicants who have potential, but not the means, to come and study with us, thereby empowering us to grow our community and ultimately to contribute to London’s economic, cultural and environmental future.”

If you work in a secondary school and would like to explore working with us, please contact Camilla Robinson, Widening Participation Coordinator at

If you would like to discuss supporting the Art School and our students, please contact Hannah Travers, Head of Development and External Relations, at

In early February, 31 of our BA Carving and BA Conservation students travelled to Paris for a study trip with a team of Tutors: Sophie Barton (Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces Conservation) Jim Bloxam (Books & Paper Conservation), Rian Kanduth (Gilding), Viv Lawes (Art History), Wilfe Gorlin (Wood Carving), James Patrick and Sam Elgar (Stone Carving).

The annual Medieval Study Trip is generously supported by the Stuart Heath Charitable Settlement, who’s grant provides a subsidy to first year students wishing to attend. The trip has been put on hold over the last few years due to the pandemic, and so we are thrilled to have it back on the calendar.

Day 1
We checked into our accommodation, and then started our trip with an afternoon visit to the Louvre. Our Books & Paper Conservation students took the opportunity to see the exhibition ‘The Splendours of Uzbekistan’s Oases’, featuring masterworks including pages from one of the oldest monumental Korans from Katta Langar and monumental wall paintings.

Day 2
Our first full day in Paris began with our BA Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces Conservation and BA Carving students visiting the Musée de Cluny to see its collection of Medieval Art. The conservators stayed at the museum until the afternoon, whilst our carving students visited the Pantheon, the Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the exterior of Notre-Dame Cathedral. Meanwhile, our BA Books & Paper Conservation students spent the morning at the Sorbonne School of Art History and Archeology with conservator Dr Élodie Lévêque.

The group from the morning re-gathered to visit the Church of Saint-Sulpice to see the Rococo fonts and wood-panelled vestry. Tutor Viv Lawes then took Conservation students who wanted to see the churches that the Carvers had seen in the morning to visit Notre-Dame and Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Our Books & Paper Conservation students spent the afternoon at the Mazarine Library with conservator Alizée Lacourtiade.

Day 3

Wood and stone carving students enjoyed an all-day walk with visits that took them on a chronological journey of French sculpture, led by Wilfe, Jim and Sam. Their day started at the Arc de Triomphe, where they studied the magnificent quadriga. The tour ended at the Musee D’Orsay looking at the Carpeaux sculptures, whilst also taking in the Rodin Museum.

In the morning, our conversation students visited the Musée des Arts décoratifs and spent time in the conservation studios. Our Books & Paper students met with conservator Cecile Huguet-Broquet, who guided them through the workshops of graphic arts and books restoration and the collections department. This was followed with a visit to the books and paper, textiles, wood and metal studios. After lunch, the students visited the museum, with some staying until the end of the day, whilst others moved on to other museums, including the Musee D’Orsay.

Day 4
All students and tutors joined together for a morning trip to Versailles. Here, they met with third year BA Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student, Arielle Francis, who lives in Paris.

In the afternoon, the conservators went back into the city, where our Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces students visited the Ecole Boulle, a fabulous school for furniture and design. Books & Paper students went to the Conservation/Restoration Workshop at the Department of Manuscripts and Ancient Books, where they met the Head of the Workshop, Sylvie Struyve. Our Carvers headed to the Père Lachaise Cemetery to look at some of the commemorative sculpture, followed by a visit to a nearby tool shop.

A few of our students ended the day with an evening visit to the Musee D’Orsay, for its late-night opening.

Day 5

For the last day of the trip, our students were given time for independent exploration before travelling home. Some of our carvers, with tutors Viv and Rian, visited a wonderful tool shop followed by the Musee D’Orsay. Their group joined up again with Arielle Francis at the legendary tea room Angelina to end the trip with a hot chocolate.

This week, our National Saturday Club members were joined by Letter Carving Tutor Mark Frith. Half of our members refined their calligraphy from last week with Mark, down to 3 letters. They then mapped out their letters onto their shields, ready to carve over the next 2 weeks. Watch this space!

The rest of the group were with Tutor Sarah Davis. These members continued to carve the patterns and forms they designed to frame their verre églomisé work.

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

This week, National Saturday Club members were joined by Lettering Design Tutor Rosella Garavaglia, assisted by Oliver Snelling, a final year BA Carving: Architectural Stone student.

The group split in half this week, with 8 of us with Rosella and Oliver learning calligraphy skills. What emerged is nothing short of magical!

The Club members produced stunning lettering in preparation for carving them in wood in the following weeks with Letter Carving Tutor, Mark Frith.

The other 8 of us were with Tutor Sarah Davis, supported by second year BA Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student, Henry Brown. We planned the layout of our shields alongside our verre églomisé works and practiced carving with a range of chisels. The Club members produced delicate and skilful carvings exploring texture, form and depth.

We cannot wait to see their finished shields and share them with you, both online and in-person in the Summer. Watch this space!

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.


MA Conservation student, Charlotte Jones, tells us about her project working on a mecca silver gilded picture frame, using both current and historic techniques.

I’m studying part-time for an MA in Conservation Studies, whilst also working part-time as a Gilder on projects such as the recent restoration of the Albert Memorial, and the first phase of the gilding renovation at The National Gallery. It was studying for my GradDip at CGLAS in 2021/22 that led to these career opportunities. The mix of craft and artisan skills taught in the context of conservation really inspired me with a love of gilding, which in turn opened doors for me to work on these interesting projects.

I have chosen to specialise in the same field for my MA.  I’m working on an English carved ‘mecca’ silver gilded picture frame, from c.1660, loaned by the Thomas Plume Library. The frame has been on display, framing a portrait of Archbishop Laud after Van Dyke, of around the same date as the frame; the frame is thought to be original to the painting. The frame is a rare example of a 17th century frame surviving with its apparent original decorative gilded surface. Mecca silver gilding, is a historical gilding technique where a transparent golden yellow-coloured coating is applied to water-gilded silver leaf, on objects such as frames, furniture, paintings, polychrome sculpture and interior decoration.

Silver gilding of objects was a particularly fashionable style of the latter half of the 17th century in England. However, as fashions changed in the early 18th century, and the silver inevitably tarnished, many such objects were subsequently regilded in gold, and the identification of the original silver surface often found only during in-depth analysis. Objects such as this Plume frame are extremely rare, even more so in original condition, which makes it a historically significant, interesting and culturally valuable object. The mecca varnishing technique is an intrinsic part of such an object, and a conservation concern to understand and correctly preserve this fragile layer, which is specific to a particular moment in British history.

The purpose of the mecca varnish is both to imitate gold – which was, and still is, much more expensive than silver – while also providing a protective layer preventing silver tarnish. The alteration of the silver metal by atmospheric corrosion in mecca objects is mainly related to the conservation state of the coatings. The mecca technique can be very successful, so much so that in some cases the protection of the silver leaf may hinder identification of the technique, and objects can be misrepresented as gold leaf.

Using techniques such as microscopy, UV examination, cross-sectional analysis, microchemical testing, and FTIR, I have been able to establish interesting and unusual information about the materials and techniques used in the making of the frame and its original gilding scheme. This information is then being cross checked with contemporary sources from the 17th century, which give information on recipes and techniques used by artisans of the time, such as William Salmon’s Polygraphice of 1678 and Stalker & Parker’s Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing of 1688. I will be trialling some of these specific 17th century water-gilding techniques later this term.

I have recently started the practical treatment of the frame, carefully and lightly cleaning hundreds of years of dirt and grime to lift the appearance of the gilding. Next will be the consolidation of the fragile gilding scheme, and structural repair.

Charlotte Jones | Instagram

Find out more about our MA Conservation Course at one of our upcoming Open Days.



On 10th February, our second year BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper students enjoyed a day trip to Northamptonshire to visit three sites to learn about leather conservation.

We started the day by visiting Harmatan Leather, a specialised tannery near Northampton that creates leather using traditional methods. Our students learned about their processes for tanning leather, using natural materials.

The students then visited the Leather Conservation Centre, which specialises in the conservation, restoration, education and research of leather. We were shown current projects being conserved, and discussed leading techniques being used in the field of leather conservation.

The day ended with a visit to the Museum of Leathercraft, where we were privileged to be given a private tour of the premises, and look at rare collectibles.

Find out more about our BA Conservation courses at one of our upcoming Open Days.

Applications are now open for 2023/24.

Photo credit: Sophie Ambelas, Books & Paper Conservation Technician

City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to announce the appointment of two new members of teaching staff to the Foundation Department.

Joshua Uvieghara has been appointed as Foundation Coordinator/Tutor.

Joshua is a Brighton-based artist who works primarily in painting, as well as processes involving collage/assemblage, found objects, printmaking, sculpture and installation. Having graduated with a BA and MA in Fine Art from the University of Brighton, Joshua has had several academic appointments over the past 15 years as a studio-based lecturer in Fine and Visual Art. He has taught from Foundation to Post-Graduate level at the University of the Arts London, Kensington and Chelsea College, Rye Studio School, Hereford College of Arts and University of Brighton.

Commenting on his new appointment, Joshua said: “I’m so thrilled to be part of the team as Foundation Coordinator/Tutor within CGLAS. I find a striking feature of the Art School to be found in a unique focus on material form and the aesthetic-object, which reflects a wealth in the range of subject areas across the school. This resonates with my approach as an Artist/Teacher, particularly regarding what this might mean within current intellectual and cultural climates in shaping a practice. Having taught extensively on foundation courses over the years, I am looking forward to supporting students at such an exciting and formative time in realising their creative potential.”

Ana Vicente is joining the team as a Sessional Tutor.

Ana is a Portuguese-born artist, researcher and educator based in London. She works with multidisciplinary methods including moving-image, performance, photography, installation, drawing and book design. She has worked in creative education for the past fourteen years, primarily in Further Education as Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in Art & Design and Media. She is also a Senior External Moderator for the University of the Arts Awarding Body. Ana has studied MAs in Performance Making and Education Studies (Art & Learning) at Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of the Arts London.

Commenting on her new role, Ana said: “I am thrilled to be appointed Sessional Tutor on Foundation at City & Guilds of London Art School. I look forward to working with the students and the team, continuing my commitment to creating accessible opportunities for students of all diversity to engage, participate and develop their own subject knowledge and creative voice to progress in their creative journeys.”

The Art School welcomes Joshua and Ana to the team!

Find out more about our Foundation Course at one of our upcoming Open Days. Applications are now open for 2023/24.

This week, our National Saturday Club members, families and tutors visited two amazing heritage buildings, to gather inspiration for the next stage of their project.

The first stop was a private tour of the Fishmongers’ Company’s Hall and their collection of over 2,000 diverse objects, from across the Company’s long history and up to contemporary additions.

We learnt about the different heraldic shields relating to the Prime Wardens throughout the history of this important London Livery and much appreciated supporter of the Art School. Members chose different motifs to sketch from to help inspire the designs we are working on for our coats of arms.

We then walked down the river to Two Temple Place, where we were able to see the impressive historic craftsmanship on display on the stone carved facade and the woodcarved interiors, currently showing contemporary art exhibition “Inside”.

We are most grateful to both of the teams that look after these special buildings for sharing the magic of these spaces and their stories with us!

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

This week, our National Saturday Club members progressed to an exciting next stage of their project, preparing and practicing for woodcarving using clay. This involved modelling in clay to create three dimensional artworks, which has prepared them for carving in wood.

The members experimented with casting processes using alginate and plaster to get a sense of scale in texture and form, guided by Tutor Sarah Davis, and assisted by Second Year BA Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student, Henry Brown.

Our members are now almost ready to generate their final design of their coats of arms which they will carve in wood.

To help them decide which elements of this heritage object they’ll be including in their contemporary designs, they will be finding inspiration on an upcoming trip to Fishmonger’s Hall and Two Temple Place. Keep an eye out for updates on their designs!

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.



We are pleased to share that Woodcarving graduate Borys Burrough has completed his commission of the statue of St Dominic for the French Convent Cours Notre Dame des Victoires.

Since our last update back in the summer of 2022, Borys has been working on the commission to complete the statue in time for it to be up on display in the Dominican Convent for Christmas. We are thrilled to see the pictures of the statue in its new home, kindly provided by the nuns.

The work since our last update has been extensive, starting with Borys completing the carving details on the face, hands, hair, book and drapery of the statue.

Next, he worked on St Dominic’s cross, which he carved from lime wood. The staff was made from a 12mm round piece of oak, which Borys attached the cross to using a brass ferrule. Another brass ferrule was used for the base of the staff. The cross was finished by the process of being gessoed, water gilded and burnished.

The next stage was to paint the statue. Borys sealed the figure with shellac before painting it with high quality acrylics, using pigment and washes of tone to bring the figure to life. Initially, the nuns wanted the flesh of St Dominic to remain unpainted, but it was decided it would be best to paint the flesh in skin tones.

St Dominic’s clothes were painted according to the colour scheme of the Dominican order, known as the ‘Black Friars’ because of the black cloak that is worn over their white habits. The book that he is carrying was painted to look like red leather, with oil gilded details. In the centre of the book, Borys added the cross of the Dominican order. He left this ungilded, so that it wasn’t too prominent a feature.

The statue was complete and ready to transport to France, and it is now in place in the chapel of the Convent.

From the open call and competition to the finished statue, this has been a magnificent project and we congratulate Borys on his exceptional work.

Thank you to the Cours Notre Dame des Victoires and the de Laszlo Foundation for making the commission possible.

The Art School’s extensive links and partnerships with institutions and individuals mean that we have a history of providing opportunities for placements and projects to both current students and recent alumni.

Applications for our BA Carving and MA Carving courses for 2023/24 are now open. Find out more about our courses at one of our upcoming Open Days, held in-person and online.

After a delay due to the pandemic, Roberta de Caro, Glass Fellow and former BA Fine Art and MA Art & Material Histories student, has successfully run a socially engaged art initiative for domestic abuse survivors, with plans for expansion.

From the Fragment to the Whole is a project that uses glass as a metaphor for the process of rebuilding one’s life after domestic abuse. It involves a series of glass-making workshops for survivors, using fragments of broken glass to make new artwork. Participants are invited to break a sheet of clear glass, collect the shards, and reassemble them onto a colourful sheet. This is then fired in a kiln to create a new glass panel. The breakages come together, showing the beauty of repair. These artworks are then exhibited together in a light installation.

We last shared an update on this project in February 2020, just as workshops were about to take place at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, Lambeth. Due to the Covid pandemic and lockdown, these had to be cancelled. On her website, Roberta discusses how covid restrictions changed the format of the project from group sessions to 1-1 workshops.

“I now believe that one-to-one sessions are a better option for the purposes of the projects due to the delicacy and privacy of the issues discussed. This individual approach allows for a level of intimacy and connection that cannot be replicated in a group setting. The power of these sessions is in the sharing of these stories and in transferring them into the process and the material. The conversations are an integral part of the work on par with the glass itself.”

The project’s first development took place in 2021, funded by the City & Guilds of London Art School Student Initiated Project Prize. This was presented at the MA Interim Show 2021, from which Roberta was awarded £15,000.00 by Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant to run the first large project. This was delivered between March and July 2022, involving 24 participants and culminating in an exhibition at Espacio Gallery. Roberta worked in collaboration with alumni and staff members David MacDiarmid, Dr Matthew Rowe, Philippa Beveridge, Alistair Blake, Jyoti Bharwani, Charlie Norton and Martina O’Shea to run the project and create the exhibition. Renowned artist Silvia Levenson was invited as a guest speaker, joining Roberta and glass tutor Philippa Beveridge in an artist talk facilitated by art history lecturer Dr Matthew Rowe.

Roberta is now planning a new development of the project, in collaboration with Art School alumni, technicians and tutors, to deliver 1-1 workshops to survivors of domestic abuse alongside a new series of group workshops for previous participants.

Visit Roberta’s website for updates and to find out more about supporting the project.

In late October, we were delighted to return to Venice for our annual trip for second year BA Carving and BA Conservation students. The Venice trip is a highlight in the calendar for our students, giving them the opportunity to engage directly with the art and architecture of the city, under the guidance and expertise of their tutors. This year’s study trip was even more anticipated having been put on hold for two years due to the pandemic, and a few third year students took the chance to join.

Twenty students attended this year’s trip, accompanied by three members of staff, Richard Barnes, Jennifer Dinsmore and Dr Michael Paraskos. Teaching began immediately upon arrival to Venice with a late afternoon visit to the church of San Giorgio Maggiore by Palladio, followed by a walk around some of the Baroque churches to the west of St Mark’s Square and the Dorsoduro district. An exciting start to the trip!

There was an early start the following morning to experience St Mark’s Square before the crowds arrived, where we discussed Venice as a historical, material and theoretical phenomenon. We visited Museo Correr, where we looked at Canova plasters and examples of woodcarving, books and paper. This was followed by a second museum trip in the afternoon to the Accademia, where we saw finished carved marble pieces and further examples of woodcarving.

The next day, we took the train out to Padua. We were welcomed by the University of Padua and taken on a guided tour of the sixteenth-century Palazzo Bo, the collection of historical rooms and over 3000 carved wood and stone cartouches. This was followed by a visit to the Odeon and to the Basilica of San Antonio. The day ended with a guided tour of the conservation and restoration works at the Eremitani Church and at the nearby Scrovegni Chapel, where we saw restored frescoes by Giotto.

The Cini Foundation kindly hosted us once again for the trip, and on our fourth day we had an extensive tour around the building, guided by art historian Dr Alessandro Martoni. We then headed to the Island of Murano to visit the Church of St Peter the Martyr and its adjacent museum, and the Church of San Donato.

On the final day of the trip, we returned to St Mark’s Square to visit the Basilica. We studied the interior and exterior of the building and discussed its craftsmanship, history and carvings, alongside conservation issues following the disastrous floods in 2019. Afterwards, we visited the Frari, where Dr Susan Steer of the Venice in Peril organisation gave a lecture on the restoration of the Canova Monument. The trip ended with a quick visit to a Venetian boat yard that builds and repairs the famous wooden gondolas, before it was time to fly home.

Applications are now open for 2023/24. Find out more about our BA Carving and BA Conservation courses at one of our upcoming Open Days.

This week, National Saturday Club Members continued to refine their Verre églomisé practice, lead by Tutor Sarah Davis, and assisted by Second Year BA Carving: Woodcarving & Guilding student, Henry Brown.

Using a range of resources, Members drew imagined beasts that reflected them as individuals, before drafting them onto larger glass panes, prepared through the Verre églomisé process using 24 carat gold leaf sheets.

These designs will be set in their wooden crests that they will begin to carve at the end of this term – keep an eye out for updates on their work!


Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

In last week’s session, Club Members learnt how to gild with gold leaf onto a range of their own objects including a trainer and a phone case. They also applied gold leaf to a glass tile, part of the process of the heritage craft verre eglomise.

This week, tutor Sarah Davis taught Members the next steps – how to etch a design into the gilded glass tile, and add colour. Club Members produced some lovely glittering artworks.

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

This Saturday we welcomed our National Saturday Club members and their families to the Art School to share in the wonderful work their sons and daughters have made on the course this term. It was a delight to come together and celebrate our NSC member’s achievements and be joined by representatives of those who have supported the launch of the project: the Fishmongers’ Company and City & Guilds Foundation. We were also joined by our friends at QEST and NSC who have recently partnered to form the new Craft&Making strand of NSC programming, of which we are extremely proud to be a part of.

It’s been a term of drawing, painting, printing and gilding – next term, we’ll be taking on casting and starting to explore wood carving, preparing to design and create a coat of arms that represents how we understand ourselves, under the theme of “identity”.

Thank you to all the CGLAS students that were on site for the event to talk to members and guests about their practice and answer questions about the courses and their work.







Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.


In Saturday’s workshop,  Club Members tried their hands at gilding, with Tutor Sarah Davis.

They started by embellishing their personal objects with 23ct. gold leaf. Next was the ancient art of Verre Eglomise, which is the technique of applying gold leaf to glass. Once the gold is dry any design, colour or texture can be added to make the surface even more appealing.

Members left the workshop with some impressive bling!


Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.


This week our Saturday Club Members visited an exciting exhibition where their own work was displayed!

The Club met up with all the National Saturday Clubs within London to share in each other’s “self portraits” at an exhibition at Central Saint Martins.

As well as seeing their brilliant work exhibited, and viewing the self portraits made by other Saturday Club members, this was a really exciting opportunity to hear the inspiring Sim Scavazza speak and share her industry tips on how to nurture a successful career in the Fashion Industry.

We then went to see fashion in action at the amazing Africa Fashion exhibition at the V&A.

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

Over the past two Club sessions, Members have been exploring how textures make them feel.

Tutor Kate Dunn writes:

Expanding on our investigations into colour, language and feeling: our second session asks, how does texture make us feel? What happens when we pair a Barbie pink with a scab-like crust, or a mud brown with a high gloss shine?

The students brought their own phrase to make an abstract painting from – sources varied from poetry, film, tv and music. Together we began to question harmonies, contrasts, paintings that shout and paintings that whisper.


Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

In the past two weeks, Club Members have been working in smaller groups, alternating between two different workshops.

In our last blog, we visited Members discovering new talents in our Print Room, where tutor Kristina Chan taught the traditional process of soft ground etching on our historic printing press.

Members have also been exploring the emotional language of colour with tutor Kate Dunn!

In Kate’s workshops, Members used the colour wheel and words to interpret how emotions are held within colours. Club Members wrote a word on a piece of paper and submitted them anonymously. Everyone was then given a word at random from this collection to respond to through the format of an abstract painting.

The opening question for this session was: ‘If I told you I woke up feeling yellow this morning, how do you imagine I felt?


Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

Over a four week period, our Club Members are working in two smaller groups, alternating between two different workshops.

One of the workshops is with Print Fellow Kristina Chan in our historic Print Room.

Kristina introduced Club Members to the world of traditional intaglio print with soft ground etching.  Because the ground, or ‘wax’ is ‘soft’, this type of etching allows for a wide variety of mark making.

Students worked on zinc plates to create multi-tonal prints.  In their second session, we will introduce colour into the mix!



In our next blog, we’ll share Members’ experiences experimenting with colour!

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.



A massive welcome to our wonderful Saturday Club Members as they begin their creative journey to discover new and exciting artistic talents!

The Club has been running for two weeks now, and so far Members have been exploring ideas about their own self-identity, how they see themselves and how they see others, through a variety of drawing challenges. These drawing workshops are the first step towards Club Members designing their own personal coat of arms by making a series of handcrafted artworks, with their final piece exhibited in the Summer Show at Somerset House.

Guided by our wonderful and inspiring tutors, Sarah Davis and Tom Merrett, Members tested a host of different drawing materials and explored new techniques.

Using charcoal and twigs dipped in ink, Members set about drawing objects that represent the things that are most important to them. Amongst other things, they drew favourite teddies, a camera, drinks cartons, sweets, sea shells and jewellery.

The final work was displayed around the room and it looked amazing!

The group then moved on to drawing a series of self-portraits, employing different techniques along the way.

They began by creating collective portraits, spending two minutes adding to each other’s drawings using vividly-coloured chalk. Moving around the room and working from mirrors, they drew aspects of themselves onto each image.

After this, Members began to draw one another, exploring facial features, line and space, creating eight portraits.

The workshop ended when Members tackled a self-portrait, choosing to work from a mirror, phone or from their imagination, with some fantastic results.

For the next few weeks, Club Members will get to know the Art School’s historic Print Room with tutor Kristina Chan, where they will learn the processes of soft ground etching and embossing. They’ll also work with tutor Kate Dunn to explore colour, expression and abstraction – can’t wait!

Interested in applying for our 2023/24 Saturday Club? To find out more about the Club and how to apply, sign up to our Club mailing list.

Image: Lucy Wadsworth

A huge welcome to our first year students on BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces,  who have just completed a five day stone carving workshop with Carving Tutor, Mark Frith.

The workshop introduced students to the types of stone commonly used in historic buildings and monuments and gave them an insight into the historic craft skill of stone carving.

After exploring the origins, properties and uses of different types of stone, the new students learnt about the range of tools used in stone carving and how to maintain them, including chisels, dummies (otherwise known as mallets) and chisel sharpeners.

Image: Julian Sonta

Mark went on to give the students an important health and safety brief, highlighting the precautions that must be taken when carving in stone. These include ensuring the space is well ventilated and wearing safety googles and steel toe capped shoes.

Each student was given a block of Levoux stone (a French limestone) and a plaster mould of an acanthus leaf. Their brief was to carve the acanthus leaf relief into the stone by following a step-by-step process used by cavers for centuries.

Image: Adrian Gono

Students drew a grid over the acanthus leaf plaster cast and then over their stone block. They then drew the leaf design onto the block, using the grid to ensure accuracy.

Image: Julian Sonta


Images: Daniel Abbott; Thomas Yeung

Once the motif was fully mapped out, the students began carefully carving the stone, using a small chisel to start the process. They used Calipers and a T-square to ensure the carving was developing accurately, paying attention to the depth of the carving as well as the outline.

Image: Noilin O’Kelly

After employing further techniques to enhance and define the carving, the Conservation students proudly exhibited their final carved acanthus leaf motifs – brilliant work!





Work by: Noilin O’Kelly; Kathryn Miller; Daniel Abbott; Lucy Wadsworth; Adrian Gono; Julian Sonta; Thomas Yeung

The images included in this blog are from the students’ detailed, non-compulsory process logs, compiled following the workshop.

BA Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces student, Carla Learoyd, is starting her final year on the course. Working at the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio, Carla has spent seven weeks over the summer at the National Trust’s Knole conserving four frames and learning an array of new skills to take back to her final-year studies.

In her own words, Carla reflects on her summer at Knole:

Due to Covid, not many institutions were offering work placements to students in 2021 so I was thrilled to be offered the chance to work at the National Trust property Knole House this summer for a period of seven weeks.

I would be working under the supervision of my City & Guilds of London Art School frame tutor Gerry Alabone who is the Senior Furniture and Frames Conservator there.

Acquired by Thomas Sackville, one of Queen Elizabeth I cousins in 1603, Knole House is set in the beautiful grounds of Knole Park, inhabited by herds of wild sika and fallow deer. I encountered deer of all sizes on my long walk up to the house every morning and each time I would frantically reach for my phone like a tourist in the hope of taking the perfect photo, which proved to be a very tricky task most of the time!

My best photo!

My placement was based in the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio, which is a relatively new addition to Knole House, opening in 2017 following renovations to a 600-year-old barn made possible by National Lottery Heritage funding in 2013.

The conservation studio is such an inspiring place, with paintings conservators, ceramics conservators, object conservators and frames and furniture conservators all working together under the same roof. I was pleasantly surprised to see that several Art School alumni were working there at the same time as me which made me feel more at ease. So I must thank past students Miyuki, Nolly and Ieva for their friendship and advice during my time at Knole.

On my first day I was given a schedule by Gerry of tasks that I would be working on throughout the seven weeks including frame conservation, report writing, studio organisation and providing general assistance in the studio where needed. During my placement I managed to work on four different frames, all of which had different requirements.

The first two frames were 17th Century gilt auricular style frames that were recovered from the attic of Lacock Abbey in Chippenham.

Both frames had been adapted and cut up to make a larger third frame, so I was dealing with two small top and bottom pieces and two separate side pieces, all in a very poor condition with high levels of surface soiling. Most of the gilded surfaces were flaking, with some loose pieces vulnerable to future loss. The larger pieces also had structural issues to the mitred corners and splits to some areas of the sight edge (the inner edge closest to the painting) which was making them structurally unstable and difficult to handle.

Left & right: Images showing some of the soiling and flaking on the gilded surfaces

These frames required intensive treatment as the two sides were over 2.4m high and the full treatment that I carried out is too long to list here, so I have highlighted a few areas that I worked on. I carried out various tests to work out what the best cleaning methods, consolidants and adhesives would be and subsequently cleaned all surfaces, consolidated all loose and flaking gilding, and adhered any loose pieces that could be placed in their original location. I then addressed the issues that were affecting the structural stability of the largest pieces of frame. Following treatment, all pieces could now be confidently handled and stored.

Images showing the bottom left corner before and after treatment to allow both surfaces to sit flush together

My second frame was a beautiful gilt frame with rococo style features from Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire. The brief for this frame was to provide a gentle clean to the surface to fully reveal the gilding scheme, to replace missing features and to create a cohesive overall look to the frame. There were also issues with the hanging fittings and the back edge had large areas of loss to the painted surface.

Most of the frame had been water gilded but some later additions had been oil gilded and gaps in the gold leaf revealed the surface beneath.

After cleaning the frame, I used dental putty to create a cast of an intact element to replace a missing leaf tip to the top left corner. This was the first time I had carried out this process, so it was great to have this practice. The rest of my treatment for this frame included re-gilding, distressing, and toning of the surface. I also used watercolours to tone in the back edge and removed current hanging fittings to make way for a new system to be fitted. I hadn’t carried out any toning of gilding before, so it was great to get some experience doing this. I had some great advice and help from Maria the decorative surfaces conservator and Miyuki who had lots of experience in this area.

Images showing the moulding, application and gilding of a missing leaf tip

Images showing an area of the back edge before and after toning in losses with watercolour

The final frame I worked on was a painted frame from Westwood Manor in Wiltshire that required cleaning and had some structural issues that needed to be addressed. In comparison to the previous frames, the treatment I carried out wasn’t as intensive, but it did allow me to replace a major loss to one of the corners and in the process practice my wood carving skills which were a bit rusty!

Images showing the bottom left corner following the moulding and shaping of a new pine insert. The corner was then stained and polished to integrate successfully with the adjacent moulding

Unfortunately, my time ran out before I could finish the frame, but I did manage to stabilise the loose corners and carry out some toning to the surface using watercolours before I left.

Images showing one area of the outer edge before and after toning in areas of loss using Golden acrylic paints

Before I finished my time at Knole I was lucky enough to have a tour of the house from my supervisor Gerry, which only highlighted what an inspirational place Knole must be to work at.

Aside from the great experience I gained in the world of frames conservation, I really felt that I was part of the workforce because I was made to feel so welcome. It really feels like a little family there and everyone was happy to give me advice and tips if I asked.

I must give a big thank you to Gerry who arranged the work placement for me. It was a pleasure to see how enthusiastic he is about all things Knole, and I will be able to transfer all the skills I picked up into my third year at the Art School.

But I must say that I think Gerry was most happy about mastering my exacting strong tea requirements! By the end of my placement, he had produced the perfect cup of tea with the colour that is now known as “Nan’s tan tights”! Thanks Gerry!

Senior Frames and Furniture Conservator at Knole Gerry Alabone and me

So, if any future students have the chance to work at Knole, grab the opportunity but don’t get too hung up on taking the perfect deer photo as it will become an obsession!

Third year BA Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces student, Ethan Gallesio, carried out an observational internship at the paleochristian catacombs of Villagria di Carini, the largest catacombs in western Sicily, dating from 4th to 8th century A.D.

In his own words, Ethan describes the conservation work undertaken in the catacombs:

Entryway to the catacombs

My internship focused for my part on the painted frescoes present in the galleries and cubicles of the catacombs. Most of the frescoes illustrated passages from the Old and New Testament, illustration made by craftsmen with the exception of one fresco representing Helena, mother of ​​Constantine the Great made with an artistic approach (use of other pigment and illustration techniques not present on the rest of the frescoes).

First fresco made for a tomb of a children (Mechanically cleaned)

Second fresco painted arc for another small tomb representing Maria and the child with the three wise kings (laser cleaned)

Third fresco representing Maria and the child seated (Mechanically cleaned)

The analysis carried out on these frescoes made possible to identify pigments such as red iron oxide, yellow ochre, brown manganese as well as cobalt blue present only in the representation of Helena being a very expensive material at the time.

Representation of Helena (face on the left) with a blue background painted with cobalt pigments (Mechanically cleaned)

Detail of the fresco depicting Helena

The frescoes being initially covered with sediment, the curators cleaned them with scalpels, cotton wool and deionizer water. Certain frescoes were cleaned using laser cleaning. A few years after salt crystals and a patina of limestone appeared on the surface making the frescoes less visible. The dampness of the catacombs causes erosion, and an aeration system has been placed to diminish those effects.

Painted fragment with chalk and iron oxide residue

Laura Goodman, currently starting the second year of BA Conservation: Books & Paper, undertook a summer placement with Museum Conservation Services, working at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, to carefully remove and conserve a collection of 1950s theatre posters that had adhered to a damp wall.

In her own words, Laura outlines the conservation treatment she carried out:

As my summer placement comes to an end, I thought I would share a project I’ve been working on throughout the summer. Working off site at the Theatre Royal at Bury St Edmunds to remove a collection of theatre posters from the 1950s.

The posters have been deteriorating in condition for a number of years and the paper has become very fragile, from continuous moisture damage.

Initially, we used steam to soften the starch-based adhesive – although on some posters the paper is so brittle through mould and water damage that the only way to remove them is mechanically.

Then we applied enzymes, as the adhesive is starch-based the enzymes ‘soften’ the adhesive resulting in a easier removal. We applied them directly on the posters for a couple of hours until removal.

After removing the posters, we washed them on site to prevent any watermarks. Then we took them back to the studio for further conservation work, which will include lining for support and removal of the overpaint over the edges.


During the summer break, students on our Conservation programmes have the opportunity to put their Conservation skills and knowledge into practice on an exciting range of work placements and internships within the conservation and heritage sector. Here’s what some students got up to during Summer 2022.

Sicily’s catacombs – Ethan Gallesio 

Third year student on our BA Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces, Ethan Gallesio, carried out an observational internship at the paleochristian catacombs of Villagria di Carini, the largest catacombs in western Sicily, dating from 4th to 8th century A.D. The conservation project focused on analysing the painted frescoes depicting passages from the Old and New Testament, in the galleries and cubicles of the catacombs.

Read more >


Knole House, Kent – Carla Learoyd

BA Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces student, Carla Learoyd, is starting her final year on the course. Working at the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio, Carla has spent seven weeks over the summer at the National Trust’s Knole. Under the supervision of the Art School’s Frame Conservation tutor Gerry Alabone, Carla worked on the conservation of three frames, learning an array of new skills to take back to her final-year studies.

Read more >


Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds – Laura Goodman

Laura Goodman, currently starting her second year of BA Conservation: Books & Paper, undertook a summer placement with Museum Conservation Services, working at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, to carefully remove and conserve a collection of 1950s theatre posters that had adhered to a damp wall.

Read more >

Conservation projects around the UK – Joshua Horsfall

Third year Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces student, Joshua Horsfall, has spent the summer working on a range of conservation projects in all corners of the country, with Skillingtons Conservation Workshops, Rupert Harris Conservation and Sally Strachey Historic Conservation.

Read more >


Science Museum, London – Rhys Briggs

Second year BA Conservation: Books and Paper student, Rhys Briggs, has been working at the Science Museum under the supervision of the Museum’s Library & Archives Conservator, Jessica Crann ACR. This is the first work placement for a paper conservator the museum has hosted, so we are delighted that Rhys was chosen for the role. Rhys has been working to stabilise and rehouse two illustrations of the moon by James Nasmyth in the Science Museum’s collection of Nasmyth’s lunar artworks.

Photo credit: Jessica Crann, Science Museum


© Julian Calder for QEST

We are delighted to share the exceptional work of 2021 Woodcarving graduate, Borys Burrough, who is completing a commission to design and carve a statue of St Dominic for Cours Notre Dame des Victoires, a Dominican Convent in Northern France.

Borys was awarded the commission following the Art School’s open call for recent woodcarving alumni, to submit drawings and plans to create the statue, via one of our supporters. The competition brief, to create a carved, polychromed statue of St Dominic, was set by the Convent to mark the 800 year anniversary of the Saint’s death.

St Dominic (1170 – 1221) was a 12th century Spanish priest who founded the Dominican order of preachers. The completed statue will be placed on a niche about one and a half meters high in a chapel in the convent, amongst other wooden polychromed and gilded figures.

Borys’ drawings of St Dominic

St Dominic, detail of fresco in Convento di San Marco, Florence; St Dominic by Fra Angelico

After winning the commission, based on his pencil study of St Dominic and charcoal face study, Borys was asked to develop a clay model for approval by the convent. The full size clay model is approximately 80cm in height, and was developed based on feedback from the convent’s nuns, who had a very clear vision for how this St Dominic should look. His appearance is based on paintings of St Dominic by Fra Angelico (an Italian early renaissance painter) who was himself a Dominican friar. Unusually, the  feedback process has been conducted by letter, as the nuns have not yet embraced modern communication technology.

The clay model of the statue

Once the clay model was finalised, Borys began the wood carving, which is nearing completion. The statue is carved in lime wood and will be painted, along with gilded elements including St Dominic’s golden cross and details on his book and cloak.

The carved statue – work in progress

Work on the project continues and we look forward to sharing photos of the finished statue before it is transported to its new home in France.

Borys graduated from MA Carving at City & Guilds of London Art School in 2021, having previously obtained his undergraduate Diploma in Ornamental Woodcarving & Gilding (now verified as a BA course) in 2018. Borys works as a professional woodcarver and gilder, with a focus on restoring and creating picture frames. As well as taking on private commissions, Borys works part time for antique picture framer and restorer Rollo Whately Ltd.

Borys also undertook several commissions whilst studying at the Art School: a frame for a Van Dyck portraitframes for two Dutch Old Masters.

The Art School’s extensive links and partnerships with institutions and individuals mean that we have a history of providing opportunities for placements and projects to both current students and recent alumni.


We were delighted when we recently heard that the large scale final piece of 2022 Foundation Diploma graduate Alice Farrall, has been selected by Rich Mix, a major art centre in East London, for exhibition during August 2022 and then to be permanently housed at the venue.

Alice describes her work, ‘Afters’, as “a picture of a community, a marker of moments shared and gone – moments that I’m continually honoured to be a part of.” She goes on to explain, “With the painting I hope to invite the viewer to journey through the many brush strokes – an invitation to experience the same break from usual thought patterns that I experienced while curating and creating it.”

The exhibition Afters is open until Sunday 23 August, on the first floor Gallery space at Rich Mix, Shoreditch, and the impressive painted piece can be seen on permanent display in the art centre thereafter.

We asked Alice to tell us more about her practice and how she has been able to interrogate and evolve her work whilst studying on the Foundation Diploma at the Art School.

In her own words: “Over the past few years my artistic practice has developed into an exercise integrated into my daily life. After leaving a seven year career in finance I wanted to orchestrate my time to follow pursuits that in no way felt like a chore. Pursuits that provide me with deeper meaning and lasting connection. Through visual art I find myself able to understand and absorb the beauty of my surroundings, I find myself grateful, and I find that time is no longer passing with desire to get from one point to the next. And that I can sit more comfortably in the present through creation.

“Most of the work I produce is derived from researching those that surround me. I am always attempting to grasp at snippets of moments that cannot be contained, for example drawing movement from life, or expression through my non-visual senses. The immediacy of my practice is a way of translating my human experience, what I collate and curate is where I find my meaning – the pattern of what stares back at me. Over time I have realised that mark making is a language, and I want to learn how to read and speak it as much as possible. Mark making provides information that images alone cannot, it is that which is happening in the now, and therefore has become precious to me.

“Through this understanding my work has moved from predominantly figurative to a mixture of abstraction and figuration. Sitting somewhere between these two in order to communicate with both narrative and imagery as well as marks and energy.

“My Foundation year at City & Guilds of London Art School was incredibly nurturing and allowed me to flourish in my practice. I feel as if the advice and support that I gleaned from the tutors gave me confidence, and allowed me to see correlations in my work that enabled me to further understand who I am as an artist. I was encouraged to go deeper with everything I created, and the facilities were holistic spaces in which to achieve this.”

At the Art School, we are lucky enough to be seeing more of Alice and her wonderful work over the coming years as she embarks on BA (Hons) Fine Art with us.

You can see more of Alice’s work on Instagram @alice_farrall_art

Following the restrictions placed on us all by the pandemic, second year Books & Paper conservation students recently enjoyed much-anticipated site visits to a leather tannery, leather conservation centre and The National Archives. Student Ana Sofia Drinovan describes the visits and how they supported their studies.

After doing our best to ride the waves of the pandemic for the first year and a half of our course, our cohort, the second year of BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper, embarked on a trip to Rushden and Northampton. This trip up north would be to Harmatan Leather Ltd and the Leather Conservation Centre, a trip made doubly exciting by it being our first ever excursion as a class. There’s something indefinably special about piling into a coach for an outing with classmates you first got to know through little video squares online.

Set in the calm and quiet streets of Rushden, Harmatan Leather surprised us by fitting right in. Marc Lamb came to greet us and invited us into the heart of the business, a high-ceilinged workspace with skins stretched to dry in green and blue, white leather in a pile waiting to be processed, and employees working with vats towards the back of the space. When we remarked that there was a distinct lack of the powerful smells typically associated with leathermaking, we learned that this was because Harmatan imports leather already treated in India and re-treats them with their own recipes and dyes.

We were then shown how the dry leather is treated with a layer of casein and rubbed down; some of us had a go at smoothing the surface of a hot pink piece of leather. Harmatan provides leather to clients of all kinds, from bookbinders to interior designers, and the array of colours and types of leather they make was very impressive. One of my favourite features of the work at Harmatan were some gloriously complex and charmingly designed machines that have been a legacy of the business in decades past but still serve a staunchly practical purpose, like the pistachio-and-pink machine of dozens of metal pins finely calibrated to measure the thickness of any piece of leather inserted. It was a fascinating visit, rounded off by a very welcome sandwich lunch!

Our next stop that day was the Leather Conservation Centre in Northampton. We were dropped off and then led up some stairs, and when we emerged we were in a room overlooking the city, being introduced to Rosie Bolton and Arianne Panton. We pored over a collection of the leathers from a bewildering array of animals, from chicken to crocodile, and then we were shown into the studios, where conservators were working on a wonderful range of objects: a leather folding screen, a makeup case, even a globe cover. Each of the materials we learn to use on our course constitutes a world unto itself, and this pair of visits was a dizzying look into all the possibilities of leather.

The next day, our class met in the sun-filled forecourt of The National Archives in Kew. Sonja Schwoll came to meet us and took us to the conservation studio, where conservators were at work on items from the archive. Katerina Williams received us and told us all about the conservation department’s current projects, and after showing us an amazing collection of ledgers from as early as the 15th century, our class collaborated to enter information about one of the ledgers into a database that was in the process of being created for those particular manuscripts.

One of the most delightful parts of the day consisted of some of the conservators in the studio showing us around their workbenches and their own current projects. Helen Mayor showed us a collection of architectural prints and drawings showing views of Whitehall through the ages. Alison Archibald had been at work on a legal document with many wax seals dangling from its lower edge; we were all very taken with the Tyvek fleece enclosures she had devised to protect each and every one of the seals. Each conservator had their own way of keeping their space organised, and there was a very particular pleasure to be had in asking about the various tools that we saw they were using! We learned even more from Ioannis Vasallos, who showed us photographs from the collection and some of the analytical and conservation techniques they employ, and we also heard presentations on the Archives’ latest digitisation project and the importance of engagement.

Over the course of two days, our class had the chance to step into many different spaces, from the cool order of The National Archives to the bustle and whirr of Harmatan, and the range of leather objects at the Leather Conservation Centre has to be seen to be believed. As future book and paper conservators, it has been a delight for us to start to get to grips with the lay of the land of conservation, and with that knowledge we can start to chart a course for ourselves as practitioners. It was wonderful to be welcomed in all these places, and we were all grateful that the conservators and leatherworkers with whom we spoke were happy to share their techniques and insights with us. After the caution and isolation in which we started our studies in conservation, it is exciting to go out and feel the collaborative spirit!


Photo credit: Cristina Biagioni (BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper, Yr 2)

This Easter Break, students on our BA Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces course have been working on an additional special project to make nearly 100 feet of cast ‘composition’ ornament for fabricating a ‘Watts’-style frame for the Conservation and Technical Research Department at the National Gallery of Canada and overseen by Frames Conservation Tutor Gerry Alabone.


On Wednesday 23 March, second year students on our Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces BA course presented the findings of a conservation project they have undertaken at Southwark Cathedral.

The students have been carrying out investigations of three areas of the Cathedral, looking at the history of each area, the use of replacement stone and the condition of the building fabric. Each group presented their findings plus recommendations for the care, maintenance and conservation of their area.

Students Anya Hordejuk, Thomas Barry and Josh Horsfall (pictured above) discussed the Harvard Chapel,  Ben Edwards, Carla Learoyd and Elsa Ray-Iliffe focussed on the North Transept and Alicia Amatangelo, Charlotte Jones and Ethan Gallesio studied the North Choir Aisle.

Cathedral architect, Kelley Christ, the archaeologist for the building, Jackie Hall, and Katy Lithgow, a member of the Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee (and also a Conservation Tutor at the Art School) all said that they found the information that the students had compiled really valuable and interesting.

Books & Paper students recently took part in a paper-making workshop with tutor Amanda Brannan.

On the first day the students learned about the historical and contemporary aspects of papermaking. This was followed by an intensive program to learn the skills necessary to become makers of both the Western and Japanese styles of handmade papers.

With the support of Amanda, the students learnt the Western Style of sheet formation using cotton and abaca (manila hemp) fibres and the Japanese Style of sheet formation using Kozo and Gampi fibres. The workshop also covered inclusions, pigmentation, recycling and upcycling.






Adam Wilson recently graduated from our Woodcarving and Gilding BA course and is currently undertaking MA Carving at the Art School. For his MA project, Adam is designing and constructing a timber vault based on the vault from the Chantry Chapel of Henry IV (also known as the Edward the Confessor Chapel) at Canterbury Cathedral.

Describing the ambitious project, Adam said:

“I wanted to attempt a complex project for the MA, where I could combine carpentry, joinery and carving as well as carry out research into historic timber building construction.

“I have been interested in this style of English architecture since I went on a school trip to Devon when I was 10, and it’s only since completing a BA in Historic Carving that I have gained the full skill set to enable me to make a serious attempt at such a complex project.

“I chose the vault because of its diminutive size, elaborate decorative tracery and crucially it was accessible, which made close up inspection of the detailed mouldings and carved elements possible.”

In his own words, Adam brings us up to date with progress so far:

During the first four months of the MA, I undertook an in-depth investigation of the vault, using drawing as a tool to work out the relationship between each geometric element of the design, in order to understand how the individual sections (springer/conoid/spandrel) are combined to create the overall form of the vault.

I used the information gained from this detailed investigative process to construct multiple working drawings, which naturally progressed to the production of wooden and plaster three- dimensional scale models. I successfully used these models to explore the complex curved forms and the relationship between the structural and decorative elements of the vault.

Scale models have been used throughout history to understand and create working prototypes of complex structural forms, which can be successfully scaled up to construct viable and structurally stable buildings.

I combined the findings from this extensive visualisation and modelling process with a detailed knowledge of historic carpentry and joinery practice, allowing for a seamless transition from the design stage to the physical construction of the timber vault.

By combining critical analysis of historic vaulted timber structures and the application of the principals of historic structural design theory, I am constructing a working ⅓ scale model of the vault from Baltic oak, Quercus petraea, using 15th century carpentry and joinery techniques.

The construction of the vault involves joining over 400 individual pieces of oak, using traditional carpentry joints, to create a structurally stable, self supporting, complex vaulted structure.

Once the major project of the MA brief is complete, I will embellish the vault with extensive ornamental carving, including gilded bosses and ornamental frieze appropriate to 15th century English ecclesiastical work, and I will be exhibiting my work at the MA show in September 2022.

By recreating the design and construction processes of the 15th century, and by using the tools that were available at the time, I hope to gain insights into the thought processes employed by master carpenters, resulting in a deeper understanding of the methods used to create these elegant structures.

Several benefactors are generously supporting Adam on the MA Carving: The Worshipful Company of Carpenters; The Drapers Company/City and Guilds Institute; The Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table; The South Square Trust.  Adam was recently granted Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers.

A range of bursaries and grants are available to students studying Carving at the Art School. Find out more here.

One of the larger modules in the Autumn Term for the Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces 1st year students is the stone carving and lettering workshop. The module is divided into two five-day workshops where students are introduced to these historic crafts.

During the stone carving workshop, students became familiar with stone carving techniques, were taught about the range of tools available to stone carvers and then made their own carving in a piece of limestone.

Having made accurate plan drawings from a cast, the students transferred the drawing to a piece of limestone using carbon paper. From there, they continued to apply the carving techniques they had learnt, with some impressive results.

The five-day lettering workshop introduced students to the basic techniques of drawing and carving Roman capital
letters in stone.

Using examples as a guide, students drew sans serif capital letters and worked through the alphabet looking at the
construction of letters, proportion and similarities within groups of shapes. In particular, the students focused on thick and thin stroke contrast, weight, proportion and where the letters sit on or cut the lines.

The students then transferred their drawings to stone and put their new knowledge into practice, carving a range of serif Roman capitals into the stone.









In the Autumn Term, Kim Amis, the Art School’s Modelling and Casting Tutor, led a casting workshop with 1st year Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces Conservation students.

The students learnt how to create a plaster cast and tested out their new skills on a range of interestingly shaped vegetables and fruit, including miniature pumpkins, broccoli, peppers, bananas, apples and pears.

The purpose of the six-day project was to understand clay, plasters, plaster bandage, alginate, and silicone rubbers as raw materials and their relevance to professional moulding and casting. All plaster casts produced during the six-day casting block were suitable subject matter for the following gilding project. In addition to handout sheets, students produced their own daily notes that were compiled and presented as a process log on completion of the project.


As part of the Historic Craft module, first year students on our BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper course have been developing bookbinding skills during a series of workshops with tutor Richard Nichols.

The focus of the workshops is Romanesque bookbinding, and students have been learning Romanesque sewing techniques. Romanesque bookbinding involves sewing several different parts of the book, including the text-block, primary Tab end-band, the chemise, the edging strip and the secondary decorative end-band.

With the support of their tutor, the students are creating their own model Romanesque binding, which will enable them to understand how the sewn elements combine and interact and will give them invaluable insights into the craftsmanship, materials and techniques used in their production which essential knowledge for book conservators.

As well as developing historic bookbinding skills, the students are also learning about the historic context of bookbinding and are considering Romanesque bookbindings in significant collections in the UK and abroad.




Adam Wilson graduated from the BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding in 2021 and is currently starting MA Carving at the Art School.  When he graduated, he was awarded The Joiners & Ceilers’ Prize, in recognition of the development of his woodcarving skills over the three-year course and dedication to his studies.  We asked Adam to tell us about his experience as a carver so far, his plans for his MA and to share some of his impressive work.

I have a deep interest in historic timber buildings and after taking a PgDip in Historic Timber Building Conservation at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex, I worked as a building conservator, specialising in traditional carpentry and joinery repairs to historic houses in Somerset.

I came to the Art School to advance my woodworking skills and learn historic carving, as I had developed an interest in pierced frieze and wished to explore their manufacture and design theory. During the first three terms at the Art School, I taught myself to make projecting cornice mouldings with wooden hand planes. This lead to an interest in curved work including sprung mouldings and circular joinery, which I combined with carving on projects in the second year.

17th century French panelling with applied circular frame, constructed of 12 pieces (Work in progress)
Riven Baltic oak (Quercus petraea), 38” x 27”

As a trained carpenter and joiner, I enjoy combining woodworking disciplines to create complete objects which contextualise the carved work, allowing the viewer to gain a better understanding of its role as part of a culturally significant object.

My work for the final submission of the BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding at the Art School was based upon detailed research into material culture of the 16th century English and Venetian workshop.

Both projects (shown below) began in the woodland and were constructed of timber which I had self selected and converted, relying on in-depth knowledge of timber as a material learnt over the course of many years.

The picture frame was constructed of air dried sawn stock and the chest from unseasoned riven stock. The timber came from within a 20km radius of my workshop, reducing the environmental impact of each piece considerably, and both objects were constructed entirely by hand using historically correct methods.

The chest was left unfinished to naturally oxidise and darken and the frame was water gilded with 24 karat gold.

Picture frame, spruce (Picea abies) and oak (Quercus petraea) with gilded applied gesso ornamentation, 800mm x 1000mm

Carved, joined chest, Riven Baltic oak (Quercus petraea), 43” x 26” x 24”

For the MA Carving course, I have been offered a mentorship in fan vault design by John David, master mason at York Minster. Under his tutelage, I will build upon my previous studies in historic carpentry and joinery to realise an ambitious fan vault. This vault brings the three woodworking disciplines that I have been trained in together in one challenging project.

Vaulted ceiling of the Edward the Confessor Chapel Canterbury Cathedral

I have chosen to construct a timber vault based on the vault from the Edward the Confessor Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral to a scale of 1:3, which will be appropriate for the canopy of a medieval tester. This will be eventually decorated with gilded carved gothic vine leaves and polychroming.

This elegant design employs a moulded three centred transverse arch, which divides the two bays and produces two flat central spandrel panels. The sides of the bays incorporate slightly higher four centred arches to accommodate the gothic styling of the windows and is decorated with a geometric design constructed from tangental circles containing cusping and sub-cusping.

The tracery and the deeply moulded ribs will be joined using traditional methods and the shaping of the ribs and construction of the superstructure that supports the fan will be done by hand using historic joinery and carpentry tools and techniques.

The aims of the project are to research the historic construction methods and techniques used to produce these quintessentially English architectural designs, explore the connection between disciplines and contextualise a variety of carved architectural elements which are often carved as stand alone pieces.

The project will challenge my design skills along with my practical skills and is intended to recognise the generous support of the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers and the Worshipful Company of Carpenters during my BA (Hons) in Historic Carving.

Adam’s work will be exhibited at the MA Show, 16-23 October 2021.

Sarah Davis, a graduate from the Art School’s BA Historic Carving course, recently appeared on BBC Radio 6 Music, talking about her sound-art project Day Zero.

Based in part on Sarah’s undergraduate dissertation for the carving course, Day Zero is sound and word exploration of Sarah’s personal experience having treatment for cancer. This informed both her innovative carving work on the studio course and led to a new area of artistic activity, semi-autobiographical writing and audio art. Working with experimental musician, Edward Simpson and others, Sarah produced a piece that was broadcast in August 2021 on the BBC Radio 6 Music show, BBC Introducing Arts.

Described by presenter Huw Stephens as “deeply moving” the work involves spoken words and recordings made by Sarah of the sounds she heard while undergoing treatment in hospital.

According to Sarah, “When you go through an experience that is so life changing it’s quite hard to slip back into your old routine and your old way of making. For me, reclaiming that creativity came about through writing.” This she describes in part as being “cathartic”.

A recording of Sarah’s interview and the audio-art piece she made can be found on the BBC Radio Sounds App at



Sarah Davis in her carving studio.

Sarah Davis, ‘Octopus’, 2021, Limewood.

Sarah Davis, ‘Pill Cup’, 2019, Sterling silver.

We strongly believe that it is the responsibility of an Art School to create the conditions in which learners can safely explore, investigate, experiment, create, write and think, without the distraction of life’s everyday demands. But we also recognise that for our programmes to remain culturally, socially and politically relevant, our students need to actively engage with others outside of the protected and privileged space of the workshops, studios or library.

That is why the MA in Art & Material Histories incorporates projects into its syllabus that require our students to collaborate with artists, scientists, writers, craft and trades people outside of the institution, in order to learn from them and the contexts in which they work and develop professional networks to draw from after graduation. This year, in alignment with the current theme of the Art School’s Material Matters research platform, our students have been collaborating with professionals from the world of clay.

Sabine Amoore Pinon continues her exploration of pigments through a collaboration with the artist and developer of London Pigments, Lucy Mayes. Together they have produced a fascinating in-depth study of the origins of Potters Pink, Celadon and Ceramic White.

Matilda Sample worked with a group of women from a range of backgrounds to explore the overlapping properties and qualities of the clay body and the human body. Through hands-on workshops and open discussion, the participants explored and challenged themes of malleability, impressionability, and the natural.

Maddie Rose Hills teamed up with the research-based artist Robin James Sullivan to investigate Cornwall’s china clay quarries and the impact they have had on the landscape and the lives of those who have lived and worked there. Staging a revisionist and a-chronological dialogue that mimics the process of mining itself, these two collaborators have unearthed a range of geological issues and excavated rich and precious social histories.

Oscar Wilson conducted a series of interviews with potter, artist and craftsperson Dr Mark Sowden. In his work Tidings, Mark collects, identifies and then reconfigures found sherds of ceramic and other objects found on the Thames foreshore. Through Wilson’s generous sharing of knowledge, Oscar learnt about London Bricks, mud larking and the history of pottery.

Check out the publication of our Art & Material Histories students’ collaborative research projects and other fascinating materials projects on our Material Matters Research Platform here.

This week the Art & Material Histories course was delighted to welcome Laura Wilson (@wilsonlaurawilson) to give a talk about her practice. Laura will be joining the staff team next year and her talk provided an ideal opportunity for our students to acquaint themselves with her material practices and ways of thinking.

Laura’s process involves researching, collaborating and re-telling the material histories of things through performance, film, writing and sculpture. She is interested in how history is carried and evolved through everyday materials, trades and craftsmanship and works with specialists to develop sculptural and performative works that amplify the relationship between materiality, memory and tacit knowledge.

Thanks so much Laura for a fascinating and inspiring talk!

Laura Wilson, Deepening, 2020. Still from video, 15:36 minutes. Co-commissioned by New Geographies and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery.

Wilson’s interdisciplinary and research-based works have been exhibited widely including at: The Collection, Lincoln with Mansions of the Future, UK;  First Draft, Sydney, Australia (2021); 5th Istanbul Design Biennial – Empathy Revisited: Designs for More than One; Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, UK (2020); The British Museum, London, UK with Block Universe; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK; and The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London, UK (2018); SPACE, London, UK; V&A Museum, London, UK; and Invisible Dust at Hull and East Riding Museum, Hull, UK (2017); Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2016 & 17) Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK (2016); Whitstable Biennial, UK (2014); Camden Arts Centre, London, UK and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2013); W139, Amsterdam and De Warande, Turnhout, Belgium (2012). Her project Trained on Veda, a malted loaf and evolving artwork was initiated during her residency at Delfina Foundation in 2016 is being developed in partnership with TACO!, Thamesmead, Grand Union, Birmingham and Site Gallery, Sheffield, supported by Arts Council England. She has forthcoming projects with POOL, Johannesburg, South Africa; The Landmark Trust, Wales, UK; and MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, part of Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK. A Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow, she has been awarded the inaugural Jerwood New Work Fund and the Dover Prize 2021.

Laura Wilson, Old Salt, 2021. Silk screen print. Co-commissioned by Mansions of the future and The Collection Museum, Lincoln. Photo: Reece Shaw.

Laura Wilson, Old Salt, 2021. Installation detail. Co-commissioned by Mansions of the future and The Collection Museum, Lincoln. Photo: Reece Shaw.

Laura Wilson, You Would Almost Expect to Find it Warm, 2018. Co-commissioned by Franck Bordese and Block Universe for The British Museum. Photo: Manuela Barczewski

Laura Wilson, Fold and Stretch, 2017. Commissioned by Site Gallery. Photo: Jules Lister.

All images courtesy of The Artist.



Dr Joanna Russell holds an MSci in Chemistry with Conservation Science from Imperial College, London, and an MA in the Conservation of Easel Paintings from Northumbria University. She completed an internship in paintings conservation at the Hamilton Kerr Institute and also worked as a freelance paintings’ conservator for various clients, before returning to Northumbria University to undertake her PhD on the analysis of painting materials, focussing on the artist Francis Bacon. While at Northumbria University she also carried out teaching for postgraduate courses on conservation.

Since completing her PhD she has gained over seven years’ experience of working in scientific research departments in museums, first at the British Museum, and then at the National Gallery, working on the technical imaging and analysis of museum objects, particularly drawings and paintings. Joanna is currently Scientist at a specialist independent laboratory, where she conducts scientific analysis of paint and pigment and carries out technical imaging.

Cheryl Porter is a books and paper conservator who has worked in the UK and around the world. She has led major conservation projects at the Montefiascone Seminary Library and the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, as well as freelance conservation work with a wide range of clients. She has taught and lectured throughout Europe, the USA and Egypt and has been published in many conservation journals and publications. Over a 14 year period, she conducted a series of field research, collecting and analysing pigments around the world, including sea snails from Italy and Kermes insects from Languedoc, France.

Amanda Brannan is a London-based book artist, papermaker and workshop leader. She observes and engages with patterns, images and informative text to create her visual arts language that is heavily influenced by her interaction and research with the architecture of London.

While living in California during the 90’s she studied both Japanese and Western styles of hand papermaking, which led to the development of her personal style that involves experimenting with different traditional papermaking fibres, recycled materials and pigmentation methods. She uses complex layers of different manipulated fibres to create patterns that are influenced by her research.

Amanda’s approach to support effective teaching is to create an environment that encourages cooperative learning in a relaxed atmosphere, allowing everyone the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the processes, encourage group idea sharing and discussions, as well as experimentation with all the different techniques.

Through a range of approaches to learning and teaching, the Introduction to Conservation unit runs alongside the Historic Crafts, Conservation Science and Art Histories units and focuses on introducing students to the fundamentals of conservation ethics and philosophy, principles and professional standards. Students gain the tools to engage in meaningful discussion about the future management of cultural heritage and preventive conservation.

Through the course of this unit, students will get an insight into the profession of conservation: whether working in a museum or as a private consultant, and the range of international conservation bodies, further training programmes, internships, conferences, and professional accreditation opportunities provided.

This Introduction to Conservation workshop was led by paper conservation tutor, Judith Gowland.


The final module for our first year students in Book & Paper Conservation was ending like a firework of colours and shapes in the studios!

In a series of workshops, led by Books Conservation Tutor, Abigail Bainbridge, students were taught traditional marbling techniques from Europe and Japan, having previously made their own tools to achieve their beautiful patterns.


Some of the beautiful outcomes from the workshop – each student had access to the same six tubes of gouache, resulting in a wide variety of designs.

Art theorist and video and performance artist, Dr Oriana Fox, is an Art Histories Tutor on the MA in Art & Material Histories, as well as a range of other courses at the Art School. Oriana teaches art history from a particularly contemporary perspective and encourages students to think about artworks from the past as well as the present through the lens of the very latest theoretical, cultural and political ideas.

Dr Oriana Fox’s new podcast ‘Multiple Os’ is a spin-off from her performance series ‘The O Show’, which is a recognisable yet innovative take on the talk show genre. Like ‘The O Show’, ‘Multiple Os’ features interviews with artists and other experts who have no difficulty ‘spilling the beans’ about their lives and opinions, especially when they defy norms and conventions. The topics explored include shyness, gender, sexuality, race, belonging and success, integrating therapeutic, artistic and political perspectives.

Episodes released to date include:

Nervous Laughter with Hamja Ahsan, artist and author of Shy Radicals
Art makes life more interesting than art with artist Joshua Sofaer
Do-It-Yourself Revolution with Charlotte Cooper, artist, psychotherapist and fat activist
50 Tinder Dates with Indrani Ashe, artist and unconventional woman
Type-casting yourself with artist Harold Offeh
Hyper-femme superhero alter ego with Lois Weaver, performance artist and professor

Interviewees on forthcoming episodes include:

Sociologist and coach Jo Van Every; Stand-up comic Jaye McBride; artist and diversity advocate Ope Lori; philosopher and author Nina Power; novelist and performance artist Season Butler; writer and cultural critic Juliet Jacques

Oriana’s ‘Multiple Os’ podcast is widely available in the places you usually find your podcasts.

The MA in Art & Material Histories Interim show this year featured student research that spanned a broad range of materials and their contexts.

Sabine Pinon Amoore and Oscar Wilson’s work had much in common in that they share a passion for raw colour.

Sabine Pinon Amoore presented two major works that explored the origins and use of 88 pigments throughout Art History. Ranging from the earliest earthy ochres right up to the most recent industrially produced colours, Sabine’s beautiful display drew from her recent work in Cornelissen’s archive, and combined her own microscopy imagery with pigment powders, modelled molecular structures and beautifully written texts that narrated how, why, when and where specific pigments appear in the history of art. If you want to know anything about pigments in the history of art, Sabine is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s leading experts.

Oscar Wilson’s work introduced us to new and exciting ways we might look at and think about glass and how it functions within the urban environment. Juxtaposing the formal elements of architectural design with expressive mark-making and roughly treated surfaces, Oscar draws us into a world of opacity and reflection in which glass’ status as a symbol of material power is simultaneously asserted and undermined.

Roberta De Caro and Francesca Souza’s work brought us into contact with the materials of the domestic sphere, but in very different ways.

Roberta De Caro’s recent research has been focussed on the impact of domestic violence and how working with materials with our hands can help heal the wounds of trauma. Her project ‘From the Fragment to the Whole’ engaged members of a community of women who have suffered domestic abuse. In one-to-one practical workshops De Caro guided the participants through how to reassemble broken shards of glass into beautiful singular translucent plates that appear as whole but still bear the scars of their shattered pasts. This brilliant project brings together craft, therapy and theory and enables people who might not be able to easily access art and therapy to reflect on their pasts and continue the process of self and shared healing.

Francesca Souza has been researching everything there is to know about the dust in our homes – where it comes from; what it consists of; where is ends up, and the role it plays in the history of art. Reminding us that the vast majority of domestic dust is a left-over of what we once were (dead skin cells, nails, hair etc), Francesca’s research sought to expand the category of dust to include the cast-off objects of cultural history – that which appears in the dark recesses of the museum or in the unopened drawers of the forgotten archive.

Annabelle Moedlinger presented an expanded thesis on the ontology of the seashell. Combining moving image, photography, found objects, written text, sculpture and drawing, Annabelle’s fascinating installation spins us through the spirals of a speculative materialism bringing us into contact with crustaceous life, deep histories, socio-material politics, contemporary visual cultures, the digital and dance.

Matilda Sample has had an intellectual preoccupation with human blood for a while now. Underpinned by a background writing about Aids and Art, Matilda’s recent research explores menstrual blood and the stigmas associated with it. Framed by Feminist art of the 60s and 70s and working across a range of media including textiles, pvc, canvas and the written word, Sample coaxes us in closer to confront our prejudice around this noticeably un-spoken about human-material.

Maddie Hills has been exploring the process of pulping within an exciting and highly original project that looks to termites and termite architectures as a means to think about our relationship to paper and cardboard consumption. Combining strange towering sculptures with collaged found and authored spoken word, sounds and music, Hills builds a swarm of associations that draw connections between certain narratives of late capitalism and insectile behaviour and culture.

The end of year MA Show is planned for October 2021, and we very much look forward to seeing you there! Sign up to receive an invitation.

The Chair of Students is an elected role at the Art School, open to a graduating or continuing student. Working closely with Student Reps and Art School staff and Trustees, the holder of the role plays a key part in ensuring the Art School is the best it can be for all our students. Those elected to the post sit on the Board of Trustees and as artist residents are given a studio space and access to our specialist facilities.

Usually held for a term of one year, current incumbents, Ema Mano Epps and Jyoti Bharwani, were asked to extend their term to help the Art School effectively prioritise students’ needs throughout the pandemic. As they approach the end of their tenure, we asked them to tell us about their experience and pass on advice to the next Chair of Students.

Q. You are both the Art School’s current Co-Chairs of Students, Artist Residents and sit on the Board of Trustees; the primary elected spokespeople for our student body. What motivated you to stand for election to the role?

A. This art school is one of a kind! It has a charity status, unlike all other institutions it is small and caters for the individual, ensuring growth. We both quickly understood the gravitas of its sustainability was dependent on communication, connecting the students all the way through to the Trustees.

We shared an equally positive experience as students in the art school, both of us were keen to make sure we transpire this experience to others, and live a legacy that lasts for generations to come.

Q. The role is usually fulfilled by one person. Why did you decide to take on the role in a joint capacity?

A. Two heads are better than one when it comes to problem solving and multitasking. The role was very new at the Art School and still in process of defining this is why we made a decision to take on the role in a shared capacity. This decision also meant that in supporting the school community we could simultaneously support each-other and balance our art practices and families. We applied with a joint application, you can imagine how extremely glad we are …having just gone through 3 pandemic lockdowns!

Q. What are the main responsibilities of the role?

A. Feedback, communication and ideas between the Art School, trustees and students. We haven’t counted the meetings we had to attend to make this a success:)

Q. You have held the position of Co-Chair of Students during the coronavirus pandemic – some may say one of the most challenging periods in living memory.  How has the pandemic, and the restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus, affected your experience of the role?

A. Solitude and anxiety was the experience we all went through individually, being part of a community where you help also meant that you simultaneously are helped. We had to adjust to digital and organised catch ups, no casual bumping into. We made ourselves available  to each-other, to the staff and the Trustees. We made calls to check on peers, messaged, emailed, shared playlists, sincerity of hardship, wellbeing wobbles and meditative walks…

Q. In line with the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions, the Art School’s facilities were closed during the national Lockdowns. How did the Art School adapt course delivery to ensure students continued to receive a high-quality education?

A. The school was remarkable, it listened and in turn rallied around revising modules from each course that can be implemented online, sending and delivering parcels to students homes for hands on carving, conservation – practical workshops carried on. Lectures and tutorials carried on. There was a mammoth effort made by all involved, with no allowance for loss of quality of teaching and support.

Q. When lockdown restrictions were eased, the Art School was committed to re-opening its studios and facilities to allow students to resume hands-on practice. What measures did teaching and facilities staff put in place to ensure the health and safety of students and staff? 

A. The Art School manifested their commitment to get the students on site before any other art institution, their actions acknowledged how tactile all courses and learning is. It was done so with maximum effort to introduce an efficient and well throughout health and safety contingency plan. They knew what it meant to get us back into the workshops and studios and did so without taking risks, before any other art school even discussed reopening. Masks, testing, one way routes, workshop time slots, limitation to numbers in a single space…we all had a quiz to pass and updates to keep up with. Clear and simple communication, open question and answer zoom sessions ensured there’s no second guessing to minimise anxiety in the age of uncertainty.

Q. How did students react, was this a robust and proactive response to the pandemic?

A. Due to the transparency and openness of the process, everyone felt part of the decision making and was able to make a shift between taking it personally and as a collective experience. We were pleased to see students supporting each other through various zoom socials, with quiz nights, yoga and even studio visits from bedrooms! Students were mature and patient with the efforts due to the transparency and communication of the school. Questions and requests were addressed with care, precision and honesty.

Q. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the mental health of students across the country. How did the Art School make efforts to prioritise student wellbeing?

A. The Art School Pastoral care provided one to one zoom sessions and an investment in a well researched ‘Talk Campus’ app meant all students could connect with peers and professionals. The goal achieved was to provide mental health support 24/7.

Q. In your opinion, what is the most significant change the Art School has made in response to student feedback whilst you’ve been in the role?

A. Wellbeing investment, forming of diversity and equality group, revising curriculum – and proactive changes to the west centric art history. Extended summer term for practical studio use with technical support availability throughout, across workshops. Physical exhibitions instead of digital online presence alone. The Art School also made showcases for each graduating year.

Q. Which of your achievements as Co-Chair of Students are you most proud of and why?

A. We feel humbled for being able to be part of the Art School beyond our MA graduations. To have been there for students, staff and each other at such an incredibly vulnerable and monumental time of change has enriched us in every way. We can’t wholly express how impressive the students, Principal, Heads of Department and trustees have been in working together and supporting each other throughout the hardships.

Q. What are the two most important skills you’ve developed through doing this role?

A. Being objective whilst empathetic. There’s so many different perspectives to problem solving, and it comes down to compromise and understanding from all parties.

Q. Tell us about the work you’ve made in your Art School studio during the residency. Which of the Art School’s specialist facilities have had most impact on your work?

A. During our residency we have gone between home-makeshift studios and the Art School. We have engaged in a series of works which encompass the sincerity of the times and experiences we’ve lived through and continue to do so. For both of us the process of making in the print room, glass, foundry and wood workshops merged with the homecooked pigment recipes, foraged and recycled materials.

We both have sculptural practices informed by materiality and the resonance of each has led to an ongoing collaboration with each-other. Exploring the fluidity between nature, human and the universe means Jyoti’s ‘Cosmos in my luggage’ has merged with Ema’s ‘We are the Universe’.

Q. What piece of advice would you like to pass on to the future Chairs of Students?

A. You are part of a team, so don’t feel like you need to be in full control. Circumstances and opinions can vary and change as we navigate through the current climate, don’t forget you are not super-human.

Q. What are your future plans when your term as Co-Chair of Students has ended?

A. We will be continuing to  develop as a collaborative Artist duo, alongside our individual practices. Sharing the role has redefined new pathways to explore. Sequences of this new body of work ‘Honouring Sensibilities’, 2021 is featured in the images, others will be featured at the Art School in October. Stay tuned to find out about upcoming residencies and exhibitions!

‘Honouring Sensibilities’, 2021 – Variety of environment and scale allows us to witness the commonality of human experience and observe its resonance in the process of material behaviour.

You can see more of Ema and Jyoti’s work in the online 2020 MA Fine Art Graduate Showcase.

We are thrilled to announce that final year BA Fine Art student, Augusta Lardy, is one of the eight winners of the 2021 Freelands Painting Prize!  The Prize celebrates outstanding painting practice at undergraduate level and the eight winners were chosen following an open call to every higher education art department in the UK inviting them to propose a student working with painting for consideration. Congratulations Augusta!

The Freelands Painting Prize was launched in 2020, and the Art School’s Anna Woodward (BA Fine Art, 2020) was was one of the eight successful students selected to win the inaugural prize – we’re extremely proud of both Augusta and Anna.

The eight winners will participate in an exhibition at the Freelands Foundation gallery this Autumn and the exhibition will be accompanied by a publication featuring an essay by Jennifer Higgie.

Gabor, souvenir d’un songe

Describing her winning work, Augusta said: “On the long hours of a warm and confined summer day, in the chest of drawers, I discovered a drawing from a dream I had made about ten years ago. The meaning of this dream was long forgotten, and all that remained were compositional elements creating a powerful image. Gabor, souvenir d’un songe is a dreamscape that transcribes a drawing which lost its primary meaning, only to find a new essence in the act of painting. Ultimately, this painting is a playground for colour and translucency in oil paint, and inquires on how memory and dreams evolve as they accompany us through time.

You can see more of Augusta’s work on her Instagram account @augustalardy and you can experience them in person at the 2021 Degree Show, planned to be held in August this year at the Art School. Sign up to our mailing list to receive an invite.


Augusta at work in her Art School studio. Photo credit Nathan Davis

Clifford Owens’ work revolves around the fact that black people have been hugely underrepresented within the history of performance art. The MA Art & Material Histories invited Clifford to talk about his practice and how his work seeks to rewrite that history.

Clifford Owens is a trans-disciplinary visual artist working through photographs, performance art, works on paper, videos, installations, and texts. His work forges connections between the legacies of artists from the African diaspora and his own creative practice. For key projects, Owens has invited African American artists, and in turn British artists, to provide scores that he (re)performs within a gallery context. In this way, his work is akin to, but also significantly departs from curation in its collecting and presentation of past work via a live-embodied and documented experience.

One of the topic areas we have been scrutinising on the course is how the materiality of the exhibition space interacts with the exhibited work and to what effect. We’ve been looking at the ideas and ideologies behind the ‘white cube’ of the gallery, discussing institutional critique which considers the social and political context of the museum and gallery, examining the use of online exhibitions, how archival material is used in exhibitions and recent curatorial trends that have taken human interactions and their context, as the medium of exhibition.

Owen’s work has helped shape our thinking and enabled us to rethink ways in which the materials of exhibition can disguise as well as reveal the ideologies of the institution and the broader historical-political contexts that support it.

Owen’s art has appeared in many solo and group exhibitions, both in the US and internationally. His solo museum exhibitions include ‘Anthology’ at MoMA PS1, New York; ‘Better the Rebel You Know’ at Home in Manchester; and ‘Perspectives 173: Clifford Owens’ at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

All images courtesy of Clifford Owens.

This week, the MA Art & Material Histories course was lucky enough to host a talk by the electroacoustic musician and composer Erik Nyström. Nyström’s output includes live computer music, fixed-media acousmatic composition and sound installations.

Nyström’s recent piece ‘Intra-action’ takes its title from the new materialist Baradian concept that proposes that agency is not an inherent property of an individual, but a dynamism of forces in which all designated ‘things’ are constantly exchanging and diffracting, influencing and working inseparably. (Barad, 2007, p. 141)

Writing algorithms and employing artificial intelligences, Nyström’s complex compositions produce intricate textures that build into electroacoustic ecosystems that intra-act with the physical world. He describes his work as synthetic and acousmatic, where code-born sounds disturb and become distributed throughout actual space and experience.

Much of the new materialist and post-humanist thinking guiding Nyström’s work also directs the research outcomes of the MA Art & Material Histories course, and it was fascinating to discuss with Erik how acoustic and material aesthetics might converge and differ.

The Art & Material Histories course is multidisciplinary by nature, and a number of the MA Art & Material Histories students this year are exploring sound in different ways; Erik Nyström’s brilliant lecture will certainly help to shape their work and thinking.

Many thanks to Erik for an inspiring and educational introduction to your work and its theoretical territories.

Some of Nystrom’s recent international appearances include Ars Electronica Festival 2019 (Linz, Austria), NEXT Festival 2019 (Bratislava, Slovakia), Influx 2019 (Brussels, Belgium), BEAST FEaST 2019 (Birmingham, UK). During 2019 he participated in CECIA (Collaborative Electroacoustic Composition with Intelligent Agents), a collaborative AI-driven composition project hosted by ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany). His music has been released by the Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes, and he has published articles in Organised Sound and EContact! and presented research at conferences such as International Computer Music Conference, New Instruments for Musical Expression and Beyond Humanism Conference. He is a Lecturer in Music at City, University of London.

Watch Nyström perform his work Intra-action here and listen to other examples of Nystrom’s work here.

See the 2014 collaboration between Erik Nystrom and the MA Art & Material Histories course leader Tom Groves here.


Over a series of hands-on workshops, some delivered online during Lockdown and more recently in the Art School’s Conservation studios, first year students on our BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone Wood & Decorative Surfaces course, have been learning the historic craft skills of gilding and verre églomisé.

Led by our expert Gilding Tutor, Rian Kanduth, students have been practising the complex processes involved in this popular decorative technique, learning the materials, tools and formulas used by makers throughout history.

Students were taught both water gilding and oil gilding techniques, as well as verre églomisé. Water gilding involves the use of gesso and bole to adhere the gold leaf to the surface of the object, whereas adhesive oil primers are used in the oil gilding process. Verre églomisé is the practice of etching onto gilt glass. These traditional processes have been used to augment frames, furniture, decorative objects and buildings for thousands of years and understanding the historic techniques and materials used is imperative for our future conservators.

First year Books & Paper students have recently completed a five-day box making workshop led by Books Conservation Tutor, Bridget Mitchell. 

Over the course of the five days, students learnt how to make different types of protective enclosures, or boxes, to support the conservation and preservation of historic manuscripts and books.

Students first learnt how to measure a book using a variety of equipment and techniques. This enabled them to go on and learn how to make a two piece, four-flap folder. This preservation enclosure forms the basic pattern for further, more complex enclosure designs.

During the workshop, students completed: a phase box with buttons and ties for the protection and constraint of volumes with parchment textblocks and covers; a pamphlet case, for the support of thin volumes that are required to be kept on the bookshelf individually; and a book shoe, an enclosure designed to prevent “textblock drag” in volumes stored upright on shelves in historic libraries.

The last three days of the week were spent learning to make a double wall construction, cloth covered, drop-spine box for the long-term protection of rare books and manuscripts – a complex box that provides the highest level of protection and support for historic volumes.

Bill Chalmers @bill_chalmers has just completed the first two modules on the Foundation Diploma during which students explore and test a range of disciplines and are supported to work towards specialising in their chosen direction. We asked him about the influences, ideas and process of his recent work.

What have you been working on recently?

Two of the most recent projects I’ve been working on are called ‘Misfits’ and ‘Tea Party’. They are going to be part of a series of three pieces of work that are based on childhood fantasies.

Tell us more about the ideas you explore in these pieces

I think that as a child you have an unfiltered outlook on life, which is particularly relevant to gender. It’s interesting how early we have the standards of gender imposed on us. It begins with colours (pink for a girl and blue for a boy) and then often propagated throughout our childhood by the toys we are given.

As I look back on my childhood, I seem to remember not feeling confined by gender restrictions. I would dance when I wanted to, to the music I wanted, wearing what I wanted. But when the teenage years hit, it was easier to conform in order to fit in with others.

In these pieces of work, I wanted to transport back to my childhood and claim a bit of that seven-year-old attitude. Each piece is based on something I used to do or play with as a child. And so, they each involve an element of participation from the audience because I want the people who look at it and interact with it to also have that reintroduction to childhood games but in a very different context.

What inspired your work ‘Misfits’?

‘Misfits’ is based on a card game, which has also taken the form of a book or more recently a digital game, in which you have a selection of characters each split up into hats, heads, torsos, legs. The aim of the game is to combine cards to create different characters. I was thinking about how some children would like to put all the cards together with their same character’s cards, while others would create mutant horrors, and I thought this might be quite an interesting experiment to run with an adult audience.

My version of the game is just shy of life-sized because I wanted the audience to feel like they are creating a real person when they are mixing the panels around – so when the panels are aligned the painting almost starts to breath.

What is the significance of the three characters you’ve focused on?

The three characters in my work represent the ideals of masculinity and femininity that I was surrounded by when I was young. I have represented a ‘power suit’, the armour of the ‘default man’ (as Grayson Perry would describe it). This is one of my father’s suits, the uniform he would put on for a corporate day out. To me as a child, this was both the representation of what a man should be but also where I thought I was inevitably going to end up.

On the other side is one of my mother’s dresses. To me this dress represented an aspect of women’s clothing that was ever out of reach, the area of the Venn diagram that doesn’t overlap. Although I didn’t necessarily wish I could wear  one, because they seem so impractical, dresses were just so much more fun and beautiful than anything I was allowed to wear.

And then finally, in the other option is where I find myself sitting most comfortably in the world of clothes.

I debated a lot over the decision to have just one head in the painting. I decided to go with one head rather than three so that I was showing one person who had three options and to also encourage the audience to swap the panels around. So ultimately this is a Bill-centred version of Misfits.

How did the game format of the piece affect the material process?

To make the Misfits game work, the seven canvases all needed to be quite specific sizes in relation to each other and I eventually had to get custom stretchers to make the canvases, which took about a month to arrive. But this splitting up of the canvases does make the painting easier to make in such a small space and easier to carry around as well.

I also added handles to each of the canvases (other than the head) so the audience would know intuitively that they were able to move the canvases without being told what to do. I’m interested to see how the audience interacts with the piece when it’s exhibited.

Can you describe the painting process you used on this piece?

I wanted the style of painting of the fabric clothes and the skin to be different, similar to a John Singer Sargent painting. I decided to paint the flesh tones in a number of glazes working up from a green underpainting. I chose this process because I wanted the figure in the painting to be reminiscent of renaissance figure painting which used the same technique. This was the first time I had attempted this process and it came with its challenges. Each glaze takes a day to dry so I had to have a routine of doing one glaze each morning and then moving on to different areas of the painting. However, I think this process actually sped up my painting process because each mark I was making wasn’t removing the one that was underneath but adding to it.

For the fabrics, which I wanted to have a more modern flattened feel, I painted them almost entirely in acrylic and only added a few blending finishing touches right at the end in oil. I find the quick drying nature of acrylic frustrating when trying to achieve smooth blends. So I approached acrylic like a relief woodblock print. I started by painting the entire area in the darkest tone of the darkest shadow and then gradually made the area I was painting smaller as I lightened the tone and increased the vibrancy of the colour. So the way I was painting was sort of like doing a relief woodblock print up with about 20 different layers. I admit this isn’t the most economical way of painting, but it worked for me and meant I was always able to have a template to work from for my next layer of paint.


Tell us about your second piece titled ‘Tea Party’

‘Tea Party’ is the second in the childhood fantasies project and is also a response to how I have been taking lockdown. I made this about three months into the current lockdown when I found myself really missing a night out and so I thought about what I would have done when I was a younger to remedy the situation. As a child I would have played pretend so I thought I would have a tea party but instead of a tea set I would use a fake set of alcoholic drinks.

I originally didn’t intend on making the tea set models myself, but it turns out you cannot buy children’s toys in the shape of alcoholic drinks, so I made the set from pieces of firewood using a laith. When I was younger, my Dad taught me how to use various woodworking tools and the laith was the one that I was drawn to the most. It only took one broken model for me to remember the best way to do it. After sanding the models, I finished them with the same oil that I use to thin my paint.

What were your main influences in this piece?

The outcome of this project was a film of me having a tea party with some teddies. I took inspiration from the 1972 living sculpture ‘Gordon’s Makes Us Drunk’ by Gilbert & George, which is an almost surreal film about the behaviour expected of us in social situations. I also wanted to use Van Gogh’s ‘The Potato Eaters’ as the reference point for the set that I made for this scene.

Foundation Tutor Gareth Brookes recommended some films to watch as research which helped with the style choices, but other than that I wanted to try and make this without any knowledge of how to make a film. I think there is a lot of value in naïve art making, as I have no fear of failure, and that is what I was trying to exploit when making this film.

I am really pleased with the general sense of insanity that comes across in this piece. I think the combination of the repetitive music and deadpan delivery gives anyone who watches the same sense of desperation I felt when filming it. I suppose this film blurs the lines between documentary and fiction. Like the whole of this series of work, it is meant to address a fairly serious experience but in a tongue-in-cheek way. It is meant to be slightly absurd but also scarily real, after all this was easily my best night out during the lockdown.

Will this work influence the direction of your practice?

Making this film has opened up a new direction for my art to go in and made me think about my choice of media more clearly. The final project in this series of three is going to be a sculptural interactive painting that links to both of these two projects. This will be my final project on the Foundation Diploma and should take the whole of this summer term.


Photos courtesy of Bill Chalmers @bill_chalmers

Tutor, Joel Hopkinson, has been supporting first year students on our BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces course, to learn the conventions and develop the skills involved in technical drawing.

The iterative process of drawing is the visual language of design, the realisation of mental drafting, outlining the intended constructive manifestation of ideas. Technical drawing constitutes the clear use of a vocabulary to communicate intention and ideas with legible precision.

This module aims to equip students with a fundamental conversancy with and grasp of, the rudiments and conventions of the field. Through the course of the module, students will develop ideas and learn how to convey them by producing a set of technical drawings made to depict an object of their choosing.

When they have completed their final drawings at the end of the module, they’ll discuss and evaluate their work as a group, taking out learning points as a conclusion to the course.


One of the modules studied by first year students on our BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper course, looks at developing observational drawing skills and understanding the historic drawing processes involved in making medieval illuminated manuscripts, essential knowledge for the conservator’s tool kit.

Throughout the module, students were introduced to a range of drawing techniques by tutor Sarah Davis. The first seven sessions were held online with the students being led through the fundamentals of observational drawing. Starting with measuring techniques and moving on to light, shade and shadow.

As well as enhancing their observational skills they were able to really get a feel for the materials at work when an artist is drawing, which is invaluable for their work as conservators.

With the easing of restrictions, we were able to hold some of the sessions at the Art School. By this point we were focusing on manuscript drawing and the tools and techniques the Medieval miniaturist would have used to create an image.

From preparing Vellum for use, to creating underdrawings and inking over, the students were able to peel back layers of history to better understand the complicated process involved.




In this joinery workshop, part of the Historic Crafts module, first year students on the BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces course investigated four joints which have been widely used by joiners and cabinet makers for centuries. The mortice and tenon being probably the oldest and most widely used, followed by dovetails, bridle joint and mitred half lap.

Tutor Peter Bennett took the students through some chisel sharpening techniques and demonstrated basic sawing techniques. The students then went on to produce a frame from softwood with each of these different  joints at each corner.

Understanding these historic craft skills will be crucial to the future conservators when treating wooden frames and many types of furniture.

The Fine Art Professional Practice Programme sets out to prepare students for life after art school through a range of study visits, seminars and artist talks by art-world professionals, as well as competitions and off-site exhibitions.  As part of the programme, we invited a selection of artists to talk to our BA and MA Fine Art students about their work, insights into their professional experiences, and current directions.

For students, the artist talks are a fundamental part of making the apparent impossibility of being a working artist a reality. They expose them to the hard work and dedication it takes to make it happen but also to the knowledge that there are myriad definitions of the word ‘artist’ and that it is certainly possible to find a place for your work out there. The more practical and vocational components of the talks,  in which artists reveal what they need to do to supplement their art practice, are such a necessary conversation which you wouldn’t hear in the more glamorous context of a podcast or gallery talk.

The first artist talk of the Spring Term was delivered by MA Fine Art alumnus, Hugo Wilson, who detailed his recent work for his solo show, ‘Havoc’, at Parafin. Hugo has exhibited in solo shows internationally and his work is included in private and public collections around the world. His multi-disciplinary practice includes painting, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking.

‘Havoc’ features large-scale, charcoal on paper works, as well as bronzes and sculptural pieces in glazed terracotta. His work juxtaposes motifs from art history with contemporary cultural images, and explores how belief systems are defined in culture over time.

Following Hugo’s illuminating talk, we were delighted to welcome BA Fine Art alumni Rose Schmits, Thomas Elliott and Tuesday Riddell, who each described their journey since graduating from the Art School and what they are currently doing.

Rose Schmits’ (BA Fine Art 2019) practice is inspired by the traditional delftware from the city of Delft, Netherlands, where she was born, and explores transgender identity. For Rose, the process of making ceramic artworks reflects the trans experience of the mutability of the body.


As well as a practising artist, Rose is a kiln technician at Studio Pottery London, and is currently the Kiln Girl on the Channel 4 TV show, The Great Pottery Throw Down.

Graduating from BA Fine Art in 2015, Thomas Elliott’s mainly figurative practice is currently centred around the world of sci-fi and fantasy, and he’s the in-house illustrator for Games Workshop. Thomas specialised in painting during his degree and says that one of the main skills he learnt on the course was the ability to recognise where his interests lay and then continue to explore and challenge his practice.

Following graduation, Tuesday Riddell (BA Fine Art 2015), was awarded the Painters-Stainers Decorative Surfaces Fellowship at the Art School, where she had the opportunity to explore a variety of decorative techniques and crafts, including japanning, a form of lacquering used in Europe since the 17th century, which has become the main focus of her practice.  Through her luscious and intriguing artworks, Tuesday explores our attitudes to nature and artifice, contrasting beauty with decay.

Tuesday has exhibited internationally with Messums, in addition to group and solo shows around the UK.

In the third of our artist talks, Flora Yukhnovich (MA Fine Art 2018) described the development of her practice through the MA course, and her journey since graduation. Flora’s paintings adopt the language of Rococo, seen through a filter of contemporary cultural references.  She describes her work as hovering somewhere between figuration and abstraction, leaving the viewer to read the work as they will, resulting in a myriad interpretations of meaning.

After graduating from our MA Fine Art course, Flora was awarded the Artists Collecting Society, City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award which supported a studio and mentorship for a year. This was followed by a residency at Palazzo Monti in Italy with @thegreatwomenartists, and she has since been represented by Parafin and the Victoria Miro Gallery, with a string of solo shows.

On 22 February, Bloomberg New Contemporaries Chair, Sacha Craddock, and Séamus McCormack, Programme Curator, gave a passionate talk about the renowned competition which showcases the work of recent art school graduates from around the UK. They took students on a behind-the-scenes tour of the history of the competition, the selection process, and their responses to Lockdown.

Students also heard from artist Karen David who discussed her research, multi-disciplinary studio practice, curation and writing, touching on invented communes, science fiction, mythologies and academic communities.

Karen David, ‘This Is Not Happening, Luminous Lemon (Highest Intellect) TF22901’, I litre tin of wall paint, glow in the dark stars, carborundum, crystal, Edition of 50, 2018

And just this week, we’ve been lucky enough to welcome back Jessie Makinson, Art School Artist in Residence 2017, during her show at François Ghebaly, LA.  Jessie’s practice focuses on multi-figure paintings of women referencing the representation of women in art history and celebrity pop culture. During her talk she described her studio practice and expanded on the themes and inspiration for her complicated and ambitious paintings.

Upcoming artist talks in the Professional Practice Programme include Lucy Williams, who works with mixed media bas-reliefs that depict deserted scenes of Modernist architecture, and Paolo Arao, US-based artist whose geometric sewn paintings and textile constructions disrupt perceived symmetries and challenge the viewer’s expectations about the presentation of queerness.

Fine Art Tutor, Reece Jones, who oversees this part of the Professional Practice Programme, explained the importance of giving students a platform from which to be exposed to a selection of professional artists, each with their own unique practice and experience: “I think the most nourishing and intense input an artist can receive is through listening to another artist talk with passion and depth about their practice. Even when the artist in question is making things with which a particular student doesn’t directly identify, the importance of hearing different voices on a wide variety of challenges and interests is second to nothing. It’s genuinely empowering to see individual practitioners land their ideas and inspiring to see how they go about it.”

Students and tutors alike have been incredibly impressed with the generous insights the artists and art professionals have shared with us throughout the Professional Practice Programme and we’re immensely grateful for their time and support. We’re very much looking forward to talking to Lucy and Paolo over the coming weeks, and learning from their fantastic work.

Reece Jones again: “We are very lucky that the guest artists this term (alumni and visitors alike) have each brought real honesty and insight to their presentations. We’ve seen gleefully geeky deep dives into what inspires people and heard about moments of success and moments of frustration. The question and answer sessions afterwards have proven really illuminating too. It’s fascinating what conversations can open up when someone spends the time describing what motivates them. I’m always so impressed and thankful that busy artists (all of whom are in the midst of working on huge projects) deliver informed, candid and passionate talks and seem to really enjoy the interaction with the Art School cohort.”

The Art & Materials Histories course was delighted to welcome Dorothy Cross yesterday, for an intimate look at her work and discussion about its material and conceptual contexts.

For the last 30 years, Dorothy has been a driving force in shaping the identity of Irish visual art and her work is regularly shown internationally.

Dorothy’s fascination and love of rare materials and their multi-layered meanings is clearly evident in her incredible range of work and how she describes it. From gilded shark skins to pearled finger bones to precision carved Carrera marble, Dorothy’s work criss-crosses the contested territories of the interior and exterior sublime.

Dorothy’s generosity and kindness shone a much-appreciated ray of light into our week. Inspiring, educational and hugely entertaining, we thank her for her fabulous lecture and look forward to welcoming her back to the Art School very soon.

Images courtesy of Dorothy Cross.

What do Indian Yellow, Bohemian Terre Verte and Dragon’s Blood all have in common? Although they sound like they could be ingredients used by one of J K Rowling’s characters, they are in fact all historic pigments recently uncovered by MA Art & Material Histories student Sabine Pinon, in the expansive archive of L.Cornelissen & Son, the celebrated art materials emporium on Great Russell Street near The British Museum. As part of her research on the MA in Art & Material Histories, Sabine has been assisting with an audit of the shop’s archives, which has been accumulating in their storage facility for over 100 years.

Sabine Pinon is passionate about art materials, and in particular pigment, having spent a large part of her working life surrounded by them in the art supply centres she owns in Australia. What started out as inquisitiveness about the materials she was selling to her customers, developed into years of research into art’s materials, their origins and their use.

Sabine’s fascinating blog documenting her research, In Bed with Mona Lisa, is an ever expanding “resource centre” about the materials and tools used by artists today. From charcoal to oil sticks, from gouache to acrylic and vinyl paints, and from coloured pencils to brushes, Sabine has explored it.  As well as spending a lot of time reading about materials, her research has taken her around the world visiting and interviewing artisan manufacturers, shedding light on the often traditional production processes involved.

A large portion of her research concerns pigment and she has written extensively on the subject. In fact, she is in the process of writing a comprehensive book based on her research ‘Hues in Tubes and How They Made a Name for Themselves’. Her work examines the different types of pigment (organic or inorganic, historic or modern), their sources, their use, their history and their future. Part of her research on the MA in Art & Material Histories involves analysing the structure and shape of pigment particles under the microscope and exploring how the tiniest of changes in the shape of the particle affects the hue that we see. With the support of Dr Tracey Chaplin, Conservation Tutor at the Art School and expert in microscopy and technical examination, Sabine is recording and charting the precise molecular shape of up to 100 historic pigments.

Sabine started working with Cornelissen after contacting Lucy Mayes, founder of London Pigment, as part of her Masters research. An artist and pigment-maker, Lucy also works at Cornelissen and invited Sabine to assist in an exploration of the dusty archive which holds some fascinating historical pieces. Whilst cataloguing the archive’s contents, Sabine unearthed pigments she hadn’t come across before – some rare and valuable:  two balls of Indian Yellow, a pigment supposedly made from the urine of cows or yaks force-fed mango leaves, that hasn’t been produced since 1904; Frankfurt Black, made from roasted wood, vine, or vegetable matter; French Vermillion, originally made from the powdered mineral cinnabar.

And it’s not just jars of pigment Sabine is uncovering. Cornelissen sources, processes and packs more than 100 pigments, as well as other art materials, from all over the world, and Sabine came across a copy of a letter that gives a fascinating insight into how they source Isinglass, a fish-based glue used since medieval times with pigment and gold leaf. The letter, sent to a caviar farm in Kyzylbalyk, Kazakhastan, asked if they may be able to provide the gelatine from the inner membrane of the Sturgeon’s air bladder in order to make this specialist adhesive.

Describing the MA in Art & Material Histories and how the course is challenging her research practice, Sabine said:  “I love we have input from so many angles and get to discuss and think about our materials in so many different contexts: historical, philosophical, curatorial, personal, with practising artists, and of course, with hands-on elements. This is an incredibly nourishing experience opening new vistas onto even sometimes well-known fields… exciting!”

Sabine is planning to return to the audit of Cornelissen’s archive after the current Lockdown restrictions are lifted, resume microscopy research into the particles of historic pigments and interview pigment specialists including Onya MaCausland and Keith Edwards. She will also be working towards a presentation of her research at the Art School Show.


In response to the lockdown measures in place since Christmas, the Foundation teaching team have developed ways to support students online during the Developing Specialist Practice module of the Diploma. Online tutorials, one-to-ones and group discussions are taking place and students are progressing their individual work with their tutors. In addition, students have been given a series of one-day Lockdown Projects, specifically designed around the current restricted circumstances, to challenge and inspire students. Space Invader was the first Lockdown Project to be completed.

The Space Invader Lockdown Project is designed to introduce a range of possibilities in the making and purposes of drawing, exploring drawing as a process, and looking and thinking about what drawing can be. The project encourages students to consider ways of thinking about the abdication of control and how this process relates to drawing, and it gives them experience with various unconventional tools and procedures used for making drawings. The project also promotes independent learning and problem-solving within the context of specialist practice.

The project brief was to examine space as a subject to map, in particular the space they currently live in. They were asked to respond to the space by mapping and exploring the architecture and objects in it, and thinking about how they use the space, how they move around it and its sounds.

The Lockdown Projects are divided into two sections, with preparatory work carried out in the morning and the main task completed by the end of the afternoon. For the Space Invader project, morning tasks included drawing a floor plan, drawing your heart beat and drawing the sounds that can be heard from where they are sitting. The main task was to produce a small installation mapping their space and interpreting their environment, using simple materials and equipment such as pencils, marker pens, adhesive tape and string.

Inspiration is provided by studying the work of a long list of artists including Katie Holland Lewis, John Cage, Gabriel Orozco, Pierre Bismuth, who have all developed their own responses to mapping spaces.

As well as working towards the final outcome, students are asked to document their studio work development including ideas, plans, influences, processes and techniques.

The students’ responses to the brief include models, painting, installation, video, drawing and sculpture. Here is a selection of their work.





  1. Abstract Painting Map of Room, Isabella Abbott
  2. Installation, Ava Silvey
  3. Sounds of Bin Men, Bird Calls and Cars, Malaya Loney
  4. Heat Map of my Room, Gabrielle Zemsky
  5. Mapping Out Light POV My Chair, Sophia Kenna
  6. Model of Map of Study, Katherine Tomiak
  7. Everything I Touched in a Day of Quarantine Mapped, Maddie Halil
  8. Caterpillar Map, Zoe Irons
  9. Trainer Deconstructed, Jack Bell

‘Journey of the Magi to Bethlehem’ by Benozzo Grozzoli, modelled by Historic Carving 2nd year students Morgan Edwards, Ewan Craig, Roya Bahram, Imogen Long, Emma Sheridan and Steffan Lomax.

During the Spring Term, students in the second year of both the stone and wood BA Historic Carving courses, have been working on a collaborative transcription relief project based on ‘Journey of the Magi to Bethlehem’ by Benozzo Grozzoli and ‘Peasant Wedding’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

A particularly ambitious project, each student was given one section of the paintings to transcribe into relief in clay. The measurements and proportions of each section had to be completely exact so they could sit together to form the full image – quite a feat considering the students were all working from home and studying online due to Lockdown #3.

‘Peasant Wedding’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, modelled by Historic Carving 2nd year students Arielle Francis, Daniel Ponde and Emma Sheridan.

The fact that the students had to transcribe the complex pieces into relief form from a two-dimensional image, rather than a pre-existing relief, made the brief all the more challenging. As well as transcribing the paintings, students were asked to thoroughly research the period and style of the works.

Section of Bruegel’s painting next to Daniel Ponde’s transcription

Supported by Sculpture, Modelling and Casting Tutor, Kim Amis, students had 12 days to model their relief in clay. The process includes carefully making an appropriate wood and wire structure, adding the clay base, transferring the image onto the clay using a pro needle to outline the main shapes, and then developing and modelling the image, planning and sculpting the appropriate depth levels.

Emma Sheridan’s section of ‘Peasant Wedding’ in development

As the project concluded, photographs of each section were positioned together to form a transcription of both the full paintings, with rather impressive results!

Modelling in clay is a key part of the historic processes of carving a relief in either stone or wood – a technique that was used by ancient civilisations and is still prevalent today.

Detail from Daniel Ponde’s relief


We last reported on the activities of students in the first year of BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding before the Christmas break. Due to Lockdown #3 that started after Christmas, the Art School’s facilities have been closed and students have been studying online from home through one-to-ones, tutorials, workshops and lectures.

During the first two weeks of Spring Term, first year Historic Carving students, specialising in both stone carving and woodcarving, focused on developing their drawing skills, and in particular learning how to accurately draw the head by transcribing historic drawings and portrait busts. They were supported on this project by Drawing Studio Manager Diane Magee and Stone Carving Tutor Tom Merrett. We’ve been following the progress of student Paul Flanagan who has been recording his work on his Instagram account @paulflanaganartist. To see previous posts about Paul’s work, click here.

The students’ first task is to carefully set up their home studios with their drawing boards and the copy of the historic drawing they are following, positioned at the correct height and angle to ensure the head can be drawn with complete accuracy. The historic drawings they are copying are by Tintoretto, the Renaissance painter, and the students choose two drawings that depict the head at different angles.


Firstly they make preparatory drawings to get a feel for the images they are going to study. This stage of the drawing process helps students observe their subject in detail, gaining an understanding of the axis and orientation of the head, the major planes, proportions and gesture.  Paul completes one of his preparatory drawings and starts the next transcription, which poses new challenges.

This drawing is trickier. Paul comments that “the axis, angle, direction and weight of the head is very difficult to capture.” 

The next part of the project is to make a transcription of a portrait bust. For this exercise, the students are using single portrait busts that are on display at the V&A. During normal times, students on our Historic Carving courses would be using the Art School’s impressive collection of plaster casts of famous sculpture and carving for this sort of transcription work in their studios. Our precious cast collection has been a crucial resource for students for many years and we are always striving to increase it. In recent years, our collection was boosted with casts acquired from the British Museum, which has ensured that new material has been available for our students to use. These two disgruntled chaps are recent additions to our collection.

Again, the students make preparatory drawings of the portrait bust, examining the bust from different angles to build a complete understanding of this 3D sculpture.

Once they’ve chosen an angle to concentrate on, the students start their sustained drawings. They have to consider the scale of their drawings, the position of the drawing on the paper, the alignment of the features to the axes of the head. They gradually build their drawings through observation and constructive drawing methods, making adjustments as they go.

Paul’s drawing isn’t quite complete but it’s a great transcription of the bust at quite a challenging angle.

The next project the Woodcarving students are working on is lettering – we’ll report on their progress on that piece soon…


Photos courtesy of Paul Flanagan



Whilst the Art School’s facilities are closed due to coronavirus restrictions, we are delivering high quality teaching online, through workshops, 1-to-1s, tutorials and lectures. In a recent set of online Leather and Parchment workshops, part of the Historic Craft module of our BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper, students learnt and carried out the process of making leather and parchment from fish skins.

Studying from home, the students each prepared their fish skins with the support of Book Conservation Tutor Abigail Bainbridge, who demonstrated each of the processes – de-fleshing the skin, de-scaling and de-greasing it, and preparing a tannin solution which is added to during the week.

Abigail recommended using salmon or rainbow trout skins, but the students could experiment with skins from different fish if they wish. To prepare the skins the only tools the students needed were a blunt knife and a chopping board, so easy to find at home. Black or green tea is used to make the tannin, starting off with 3 tea bags and adding more each day to increase the amount of tannin in the water.

De-scaling the fish skin

Massaging the fish skin in soapy water to remove the grease

Once the fish skin had the flesh, scales and grease removed, the students soaked them in the tannin solution. After a day or two, the tannin will soak into the skin and at this point, more tea bags are added. The way to check if more tea bags need to be added is to taste the skin and tea mixture! If it no longer has an astringent taste that tea usually has, it needs more tea bags.

Fish skin after a few days in the tannin solution

Abigail demonstrated how to make parchment by stretching and pinning the treated fish skin on a board and allowing it to dry.

As well as making the fish skin leather and parchment, the students learnt about historic methods to make the material using mammalian skin and looked at their working properties, and how to identify species.

In the second Leather and Parchment workshop, the students massaged coconut or olive oil into their fish skins that have been steeping in the tannin solution during the week, in order to turn it into a flexible, workable leather that can be used to bind books.

To test the leather’s strength, Abigail demonstrated measuring the skin’s shrinkage temperature in a flask of heated water.

Measuring the shrinkage temperature of the skins

Jesse Meyer, a tanner based in the United States, joined the online session and gave the students a tour of his tannery where he works with mammalian hide including goat, cow and sheep from sustainable farms, and described the largely traditional tanning process he undertakes.

Stretching a skin at the Pergamena Tannery