Material Matters: Wood 2016/17

For the inaugural year of our Material Matters programme, we chose to focus on wood.

As an invaluable material for artists, designers, craft specialists and architects, wood has been used through millennia to make every kind of artefact from the most essential to the most ritually significant. With over 100 different types of wood harvested across the world, its cultural and historical impact is profound and enduring.

To start our thinking on wood, we invited three of the Art School’s expert practitioners – Gerry AlaboneDavid MacDiarmid and Dick Onians – to engage in a conversation facilitated by Principal Tamiko O’Brien.

You can read an edited transcript of their discussion below or download a pdf here. If you would like a hard copy, please contact



Our Material Matters theme was extended through our London Craft Week event in May 2017. Visitors enjoyed gilding demonstrations, exploring the woodworking studios and special demonstrations by visiting specialists from the Tokyo University of the Arts Historic Sculpture Conservation Lab.

The current subject of our Material Matters programme is pigment.

As essential key material for artists, designers, craft specialists, conservators and restorers, pigments have been used through millennia to image and ornate, from the most domestic object to the most ritually significant. With thousands of known pigments available across the world, their historic impact is profound and enduring.

To open our Material Matters: Pigment series, six of our expert practitioners, Tracey Chaplin, Andrew Grassie, Onya McCausland, Keith Price, Alison Seed, and Amikam Torren were invited to respond to a question by Robin Mason, artist and Head of the Fine Art Department here at the Art School.

You can read an edited transcript of their discussion below or download a pdf here here. If you’d like to receive a hard copy of the leaflet, please email


Our focus on pigment has been extended through a new planting scheme in the Art School’s garden which includes a range of plants used as the source of a variety of pigments. These include Rubia Tinctorium “Madder” – a red pigment extracted from the roots, and Vitis Vinifera “Grape Vine”, producing a vine black pigment from the charred stems. During a tutor-led workshop series, our students will harvest the plants and explore the pigment-making process.


As part of London Craft Week 2018, our event featured a pigment, colour and gilding display and demonstration area, a popular destination for visitors.  Art School alumna and pigment specialist Catalina Christensen,  gave pigment-making demonstrations using the egg tempera process and colour expert Jane de Sausmarez  informed visitors about colour theories. Art School Decorative Surfaces Fellow, Tuesday Riddell, demonstrated japanning and other historic lacquering techniques as used in her practice, and Rian Kanduth, one of our Conservation department tutors and gilding expert, showed visitors gilding techniques.

Tom Groves, Head of Art Histories, has been in conversation with Catalina Cristensen about her fascination with pigment and her environmentally-neutral practice. You can read more here.

We will be exploring pigment again during London craft Week 2019 and plan further activities focused on pigment over the next year.


Our annual MA Show is an exhibition of the work of our graduating MA Fine Art students, our Artists in Residence, and Fellows in Printmaking, Woodworking and Decorative Surfaces.

Exhibited around our Georgian and Victorian buildings, the MA Show is always a remarkable experience and showcases the work of some of the finest emerging artists and makers in the country.

With thanks to Winsor & Newton for their support of the exhibition.

Mon 9 Sept 18:00 – 21:00

Sat 7 Sept  10:00 – 17:00
Tue 10 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Wed 11 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Thurs 12 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Fri 13 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Sat 14 Sept 10:00 – 17:00
Sun 15 Sept 10:00 – 17:00


City & Guilds of London Art School
124 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4DJ

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This is a free entry event.

If you’d like to hear about our upcoming shows and events, submit your details here.

Our annual Degree Show is an exhibition of the outstanding work of our graduating BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Conservation Studies and BA (Hons) Historic Carving students.

Exhibited throughout our historic building, the Degree Show is a great opportunity to view or buy work from today’s emerging contemporary fine artists, wood and stone carvers and object conservators.

The interim work of our current Artists in Residence is also exhibited.

This is a free entry event.


City & Guilds of London Art School
124 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4DJ


Fine Art

This year’s Degree Show features work from an eclectic range of practices and subjects. Installations include an exploration of death, loss and memory with subterranean exhibits of fur and bones encased in glass mouldings and a swarm of almost 300 individual ceramic vessels that draw on the Delftware tradition, combined with expressions of gender transformation.

Materiality is explored in sculpture and participatory art that focuses on objects or materials, particularly those in the domestic sphere, that spark interest for their formal qualities and for their potential in carrying meaning as the embodiment of ideas.

Spray paint and highly-coloured acrylics are used on large-scale canvases, depicting a fetus-like imaginary character representing the artist’s childhood, inspired by the iconic work of Charles M. Schultz. Meanwhile themes of nostalgia, temptation, seduction, consumerism and deception are explored through paint in works where photorealism sits next to a painterly brush mark and trompe l’oeil is used to challenge the viewer.

Historic Wood and Stone Carving

The exhibition features an interpretation in stone of Charles Sargeant Jagger’s bronze Royal Artillery Memorial depicting WWI Officers, fine examples of drapery carved in stone and lettering carved into a large roof slate from the Palace of Westminster.

Meanwhile, woodcarving and gilding students are exhibiting a range of breathtaking pieces from an ornate, gilded wall mirror inspired by a Rococo Chinoiserie Girandole design to an intricate cupboard in English Oak depicting the four seasons. Other exhibits include a colourful coat of arms honouring the Prime Warden of the Fishmongers Company Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, and an imposing gilded wood and metal installation which depicts cycles on wellness and juxtaposes a medical aesthetic with organic elements, drawing on the maker’s own experiences.


Conservation students exhibit their final year conservation projects that they have managed independently, with cultural objects loaned from private and public collections. The show features, amongst a range of exhibits, a Pietre Dure table top that has had its many loose and missing stone pieces reinstated to bring the piece back to its original splendour and an Italian, polychrome wood sculpture of St Gerard Majella that has been treated with algae to consolidate the flaking paint and significant losses have been restored.

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If you’d like to hear about our upcoming shows and events, submit your details here.

On completion of the one year Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, the vibrant Foundation Show is a celebration of the eclectic work of our graduating students. The course focuses on a wide range of practices included jewelry design, painting, textiles, sculpture and graphic design and the Foundation Show reflects this diversity.


100 Kennington Park Road
Kennings Way Entrance
London SE11 4EF

Follow us for more information:

This is a free entry event.

If you’d like to hear about our upcoming shows and events, submit your details here.

Since 2016, the Art School has participated in London Craft Week, an annual event that showcases exceptional craftsmanship through a journey-of-discovery programme around the city.

During London Craft Week 2019, the Art School hosted the one-day Material Matters Pigment Symposium alongside the Historic Carving Open Studios. The Symposium brought together leading artists, conservators, curators and researchers to explore and interrogate pigments today within the broader context of their production and rich and varied pasts. This ticketed event sold out, with participants commenting that the diversity of speakers led to an insightful and informative day.

Each year we open our Historic Carving Studios, running our ever popular Carving Competition (thank you to Amarestone for donating the stone). Visitors can have-a-go at stone carving and make a special carver’s paper hat. We also host a variety of demonstrations of historic crafts and specialist skills taught at the Art School.

These events are free and open to all, with no need to book.


Come and observe the Art School’s students and alumni participate in The Big Circle Draw – A traditional drawing class with a twist!

So what exactly is The Big Circle Draw?

The Big Circle Draw is part of The Big Draw 2018.

A group of Art School students and alumni will sit in a large circle. With a continuing series of short exercises, each artist takes it in turn to play model and every drawing produced by the circle is captured digitally to form an animation that will grow as the afternoon continues.
The group will be taught by City & Guilds of London Art School drawing tutor and co-author of ‘Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing’ Jack Southern.

At the Art School we see drawing as fundamental to all our courses. Under the direction of Diane Magee, our Drawing Studio is at the heart of the Art School’s activities, primarily focusing on the role that observational drawing plays in stimulating and facilitating the development of artists and crafts specialists across our Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree and Diploma courses in Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation of cultural objects.

We welcome you to come and see our talented students in action and sketch along if you wish to create your own drawing.

Saturday 20 October 2018, 2-5pm

Foundation Studios, Kennings Way, Kennington, London SE11 4EF

Free entry


If you’d like to hear about our upcoming shows and events, submit your details here.

The Art School’s online learning platform is Moodle, available at

Students use Moodle to access a wealth of course information and resources, including timetables, project briefs, and assessment forms.

Weekly Art Histories lectures are recorded and uploaded to Moodle, allowing students to revisit the material alongside uploaded lecture presentations from home. Recommended readings are scanned and uploaded for direct access to core texts; and supplementary sources such as videos are posted to enrich the key course materials.

Research and study skills advice including essay writing tips, referencing & citation guides are provided on the site, as well as student support information; making it the central location for students to find information and guidance throughout their studies.



As part of the Royal Literary Fund Fellowship Scheme, the Art School hosts a professional writer for two days each week during term time. The Writing Fellow is available to help students with any type of written work, whether this is an essay, dissertation, artist statement or even creative writing, through one-to-one tutorials.

Previous City & Guilds of London Art School Writing Fellows include:

Click here for some samples of our previous RLF fellows’ work at the Art School.



The Art School sees drawing as fundamental to all of its courses. Under the direction of Diane Magee, the Drawing Studio is at the heart of the Art School’s activities, primarily focusing on the role that observational drawing plays in stimulating and facilitating the development of artists and crafts specialists.

For Conservators drawing is an important tool in enabling students to learn to visually analyse objects, to help ‘tune their eyes’ so that they can conduct the deep examination of surfaces and materials that the subject requires.

For Carving students drawing is an integral part of their daily carving practice as well as a way of thinking through complex 3 dimensional questions. An intensive week of drawing at the V & A museum provides carving students with a valuable opportunity to study carved and modelled sculptures and architectural ornament, while anatomy sessions ensure that carvers understand how to look and think beneath the surface.

For Fine Art students drawing can be many things and play many roles. Alongside the observational drawing sessions that are so useful in giving a grounding to the early stages of the 1st year, there are exploratory evening sessions available to all year groups that enable students to investigate their own creative approach to drawing.

For Foundation students the intensive drawing projects at the early stages of the course investigate drawing with many different approaches and include drawing-as-research day study trips, drawing for design and drawing as sculpture.

The Drawing Studio tutors:

Foundation students are free to use all the Art School’s resources and, in addition to this, there are four dedicated workshops alongside the Foundation studios which include:

– A casting and brush cleaning area.
– A workshop with a range of hand and power tools.
– A workshop that is set up with sewing machines, pattern-cutting and portfolio preparation table, mannequins and tailors dummies, vacuum-forming, wood working bench and an area for small-scale hot metal working – soldering, joining, jewellery tools etc.
– Computer facilities with associated printer, scanners and graphics tablets.

Expert technical advice, specialist ceramics casting techniques and kilns are available for students interested in working in ceramics.

The Art School has a specialist Glass Workshop with facilities for glass fusing, slumping, painting, sandblasting and also stained glass production.

There are 2 workshops dedicated to the processes involved in casting one at the main 122 Kennington Park Road site and one in the Foundation studio block. Our technical staff and a number of our tutors are highly skilled and knowledgeable about casting and a wide range of approaches to casting are supported. This facility feeds into all departments, and is interlinked with both the Metal and Ceramic Workshops. As well as bronze casting and ceramic processes such as slip casting, we also facilitate a wide variety of other mould making processes, including silicone rubber, waste and plaster moulds, latex moulding, body casting and resin casting.


The Engraving Room at City & Guilds of London Art School was established in the late 19th century. Today, it offers a facility for printmaking open to every student in the School, as well as Print Room Associates by prior appointment. It is permanently staffed and open five days per week during UG term time. Evening classes are held on Tuesdays.

Professor Norman Ackroyd CBE RA ARCA was instrumental in re-establishing the Engraving Room as a thriving centre for teaching and practice after being invited in 1995 to consider its potential for the future.

We focus on the teaching of traditional intaglio processes – including hard and soft ground, sugar lift, aquatint and colour etching. Teaching is delivered by practising artists working with etching. We want all of our students to achieve the understanding and confidence to make the process their own through a hands on experience. By teaching the full range of methods, we provide an historical context of the intaglio process and offer the same experience in terms of techniques, problems and solutions as that employed by Rembrandt, Goya and Picasso.

Our aim is to provide continuity and to keep the bridge to the Old Masters open. As more and more colleges and art schools abandon traditional etching, this position is becoming increasingly unique. While our core strength is the intaglio process, monotype printing is catered for on our off-set lithographic press. We also have a small silkscreen printing facility with a vacuum printing bed and a photo-stencil exposure unit.

Teaching in the Print Room is provided by five part-time tutors and several Printmaking Research Fellows. Jason Hicklin is the lead tutor and Head of Printmaking. Jason graduated from the Central School as a post-graduate in 1992 and was elected a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 1993. Christopher Roantree graduated with an MA in printmaking from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Laura Clarke is an MA graduate from the Royal College of Art, Niamh Clancy, who specialises in screen printing, is also an MA graduate from the Royal College of Art and Edward Adlington is an MA graduate from Camberwell College of Arts.

The Print Making Research Fellow is a part-time post initiated in 1998. It exists to provide a transition from post graduate study to the establishing of an artist’s own practice. The Fellows work two days per week alongside a tutor, gaining experience of teaching and perfecting practical skills. On other week days the Fellows are free to use the Print Room to develop their own work, providing a useful insight for the School’s students. All the current Print Room tutors were previously Print Making Research Fellows with us.


We maintain a small darkroom for traditional black and white analogue photography.

Starting your research: The Sackler Library

Our collection of books, DVDs and journals supports Art Histories modules across all programmes. Students can use the various rooms of the library to develop their research: whether it is searching academic databases for journal articles, writing an essay in the quiet study room, making copies in the periodicals room, or borrowing a book in the main library. Search the library catalogue to discover our collections.

Developing research skills

The librarian offers regular workshops on research skills, referencing and citations to all departments, starting with a course-specific library induction during the first week of term. Sessions coincide with Art Histories assignments, so students are supported throughout the process of researching, writing, and accurately referencing their written work. The library also holds a selection of research and study skills books.

Visiting other libraries

As they progress through their studies at the Art School, students are encouraged to make use of the wealth of outstanding specialist art libraries in London (including National Art Library at the V&A, Tate Library, Stuart Hall Library at Iniva, Wellcome Library), and are supported by the librarian in applying to use these external resources.



The Wood Workshop is available to all students in the Art School.

The wood workshop is run by artist David MacDiarmid. The workshop has a Thickness Planer, Jointer, Band Saws, Pilar Drill, Belt/Disk Sander, Bobbin Sander, Scroll Saw, Mitre saw, Morso Mitre Cutter, Wood Lathe as well as hand tools and power tools. The workshop is available for all students to use, but is most commonly used by painting students for making stretchers and frames. Painting students who make use of the workshop during their studies leave the course able to make their own frames and stretchers using basic equipment that they themselves will own. Woodcarving students use the facilities for reducing and initial shaping, and sculpture students use the facilities in all manner of ways for producing work. For the final year Show, students from all departments may want to use the facilities to make plinths, display cases and portfolio stands.

The Foundry enables students from across the Art School to cast in bronze and aluminium and to work with sheet metal.


The Art School has a computer studio running both Apple Mac and Windows systems in a comfortable room with views of the lush fig tree and garden in the courtyard below and the London skyline above.

All the Macs run an up to date installation of Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Acrobat, Premiere Pro etc.). All computers run Microsoft Office. The room has several A4 flatbed scanners, with A3 size scanning possible using the MFP (multi-function printer).

Students from all courses are encouraged to use the computer facilities from image scanning and manipulation to word processing and Internet research.

There is an IT technician available to assist with learning how to use the facility.

There are additional computers in the Library and Foundation studios.


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