JOB VACANCY: Development & External Relations Manager (0.6 FTE)

The City and Guilds of London  Art School is a small, independent Higher Education Institute. It traces its history back to the 1850s and has strong links to a number of City Livery Companies as well as certain Trusts and Foundations and individual donors. The Art School is now seeking a Development and External Relations Manager to drive forward its activities in these areas in accordance with the Art School’s strategy and targets.  A key aspect of the role is nurturing existing and developing new relationships within the Art School’s expanding base of supporters and collaborators, including through the organisation of events.  We are looking for a self-starter with substantial experience of working in a fundraising role in the cultural or similar sector, and who can work on their own initiative as a key member of the Art School’s senior management team.

Please click HERE for further particulars of the post and see our website for more information about the Art School

How to apply:

Please send your completed Job Application Form, setting out how your knowledge and experience meets the person specification, and CV to Mari Shiba at:

Closing Date: 9.00am on Tuesday 7th May

Dates: 1-5 July 2024

Time: 10:00-17:00

Fee: £560

Level: Beginners (18+ years)

Tutor: Sun Ju Lee



Over the course of 5 days, this experimental drawing course will broaden your drawing skills through exploring various drawing processes, materials, and techniques from traditional methods to print and collage processes. By the end, you will have a deeper understanding of drawing and the artistic skills to work independently.


The course consists of 4 sessions over 5 days: Drawing Tone and Line, Drawing Print, Drawing Collage, and Drawing Experiments (2 days). Each session will lead you through a series of drawing exercises aimed at enhancing technical skills and encouraging creative thinking in visual representation of subject matter.

You will be encouraged to experiment with various drawing mediums, using tone and line to explore different ways of depicting depth and shade, as well as engaging in hands-on experiences such as mark making, monoprint, and collage processes. You will have a selection of your own studies and artworks that reflect the techniques, process, and materials you have examined, along with new artmaking skills that you can practise and further develop at home. The final achievement of this course will be your chosen form of experimental drawings, ranging from a large-scale artwork to an artist book, using techniques and resources that you have tested throughout the course.

This course is designed for anyone who seek to challenge their conventional drawing approaches and for those who are intrigued by the expanded realm of drawing. It is accessible for beginners and all levels, and requires no prior knowledge. Materials that you will use in the process are, but are not limited to, brushes, thread, wire, tape, tissues, rubber, graphite, charcoal, photographs, pastels, watercolour, and other materials of your choice.

What is included: Essential materials are provided. Participants are recommended to bring supplementary items, such as pastels, coloured pencils, and acrylics.

What is not included: Please bring your sketchbook and images (drawings, photographs, objects, magazines, postcards, etc.) for ideas and inspiration. An apron and any materials you want to explore for your drawing practice.


10% discount available for City & Guilds of London Art School students, alumni and staff. Contact to receive the discount code.

Dates: 1-5 July 2024

Time: 10:00-17:00

Fee: £560

Level: Beginners (18+ years)

Tutors: Dr Charley Peters and Shiori Clark



Join illustrator Shiori Clark and artist Charley Peters on an active 5-day programme to make contemporary images that communicate your ideas and express your creativity. Develop new visual skills or level up your existing approaches to illustration through a series of practical activities and discussions, and create your own unique visual language through which to bring messages to life.


During this week of visual research and development, you will explore different approaches to drawing, mark making and visual communication. We will start by developing a ‘character’ through different ways of constructing images using traditional and experimental drawing and image making. You’ll start to discover your relationship with different visual styles, materials, colour and texts through a series of studio-based activities and group discussions with support from your two tutors. You will be encouraged to develop images that express your illustrative ‘voice’ to explain, challenge or disrupt ideas from different textual sources, and to consider ways to use your illustrations to communicate to a diverse range of audiences. At the end of the week you will have the opportunity to work on a self-initiated piece of work that interprets an idea or issue of your choice through the creation of dynamic, original imagery.

What is included: all teaching, and most materials including drawing materials.

What is not included: your meals, and please bring a notebook and pen from home if you like to make notes.

10% discount available for City & Guilds of London Art School students, alumni and staff. Contact to receive the discount code.


Dates: 15-19 July 2024

Time: 10:00-17:00

Fee: £560

Level: Beginners

Tutor: Eloise Dethier-Eaton



This decorative surfaces course covers paper marbling techniques ranging from basic patterns to intricate designs, followed by trompe-l’oeil techniques to mimic natural materials like marble and stone on wooden surfaces. With guidance, participants will acquire a versatile toolkit of decorative painting techniques for applications in their own creative practice.


In this course, you will firstly learn the art of paper marbling, a mesmerising process where patterns are achieved by dropping liquid paint on a surface of thickened water. At its simplest, this creates a delightful arrangement of blobby shapes, but various tools can also be used to create more intricate patterns. You will learn how to prepare all the materials so that you can later replicate this process in your own practice.

You will then work through a whole range of paper marbling techniques, from basic patterns such as Italian Vein and Swirls, through to more sophisticated ones like Nonpareil, Bouquet, Spanish Wave and Double Marble. Finally, using the marbled papers you have made, you will upcycle an unassuming shoebox into a striking item for your home.

In the second half of the week, you will use illusionistic techniques known as trompe-l’oeil (meaning ‘tricking the eye’) to mimic materials found in nature, like marble and stone. By layering abstract shapes directly onto wooden board surfaces with traditional tools and brushes, you will paint faux malachite, marble and onyx veining.

This course will set you up with the toolkit to apply these techniques in many different contexts, from fine art to interior design, set design and restoration – or wherever your imagination takes you. This experimental course will be process-based as you explore these techniques with City & Guilds of London Art School’s current Decorative Surfaces Fellow Eloise Dethier-Eaton.

About your tutor

Eloise Dethier-Eaton’s multidisciplinary practice includes painting, printmaking and paper marbling. Eloise studied a BA in Fine Art & History of Art at Goldsmiths. In 2019-20, she did an apprenticeship in paper marbling, bookbinding and business administration. She graduated from an MA in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School in 2023, before being awarded the Decorative Surfaces Fellowship at the School with the support of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

What’s included: all teaching and materials.

What isn’t included: meals/refreshments. Please remember to bring snacks, water, a notebook, and a pen.


10% discount available for City & Guilds of London Art School students, alumni and staff. Contact to receive the discount code.

Level: Beginners

Facilitator: Clémentine Bedos, Transdisciplinary Artist & Previous Resident at Van Gogh House

Dates: 1-5 July 2024

Time: 10:00 – 17:00

Cost: £560



Immerse yourself in the transformative world of site-responsive practices at Van Gogh House this summer. Guided by Clémentine Bedos, a transdisciplinary artist and former resident of Van Gogh House, this week-long course invites participants to delve into the site’s rich history and personal resonance, culminating in the creation of unique artistic interventions. From unearthing hidden narratives to crafting atmospheric experiences, embark on a journey of artistic discovery and self-expression.


Throughout the week, participants will engage in a dynamic blend of text-based and somatic approaches, utilising writing, drawing, visualisation, meditation, movement, and more to craft site-specific and public-facing interventions. Delve into the embedded histories of the site, recounting untold narratives and expressing them through your own idiosyncratic language. Key learning objectives include sensing the site’s resonance, cultivating embodiment, engaging audiences, and upholding ethical considerations.

Key Learning Objectives:

– Sensing the site’s resonance with the body: excavating stories and weaving new narratives

– Cultivating embodied presence in relation to space and others

– Engaging audiences through participation and interaction

– Exploring text-based and somatic approaches to develop time-based practices

– Utilising objects and everyday technologies to support a plot or narrative

– Developing the internal logic of a work and setting intentions

– Working within constraints and embracing risk-taking

– Scripting or scoring to guide performance progression while leaving space for improvisation

– Crafting atmosphere through sensory decisions

– Upholding safeguarding principles: empowerment, ethical considerations, access needs, trigger warnings

– Practicing self-care and sustaining creative practice

– Documentation of site-specific practice

Course Methodology:

My approach is playful, collaborative, and experiential, fostering a supportive environment for exploration and growth. Participants will engage in hands-on activities, reflective discussions, and practical exercises, culminating in the creation of impactful site-responsive interventions.


Step into the world of site-responsive practice and unleash your creativity at Van Gogh House this summer. Build confidence, hone your skills, and forge connections with fellow artists in this immersive learning experience.

What’s included: all teaching, and access to on-site materials.

What isn’t included: meals/refreshments. Please remember to bring snacks, water, a notebook, and a pen.

Note: Participants will be asked to bring objects to experiment with, such as props and technological devices. Additionally, during each session, you will be required to prepare something for the following session and bring it with you the next day


10% discount available for City & Guilds of London Art School students, alumni and staff. Contact to receive the discount code.


After many years of dedicated contribution, Robin Mason, Head of Fine Art, will be leaving the Art School in March 2024.

City & Guilds of London Art School’s Board of Trustees extend their deep gratitude to Robin for his excellent leadership of the Fine Art department over many years.

Robin studied Fine Art at Wolverhampton winning the Northern Young Contemporaries. Following his MA in Painting at The Royal College of Art he established a studio in London. He has continued to exhibit nationally and internationally and his work can be found in public, significant private and corporate collections including those of Unilever and the Government Art Collection.

Robin joined City & Guilds of London Art School in 2000 as Lead Painting Tutor before becoming the Head of Fine Art, overseeing the existing BA course and launching the then brand-new MA Fine Art programme.  In this time Robin developed the Fine Art courses in to the most challenging and creative courses students can choose to study. Encompassing contemporary and historical skills, theories and materials; art histories; visual and contextual research; entrepreneurship and project management.

Robin has led a team with a distinctly nurturing approach, that has always been appreciated by students for genuinely taking time to support and challenge them in all these areas, enabling students to achieve exceptional results and move on to professional practice or further study with confidence and experience. His and his team’s belief in no ‘house style’; has ensured that with focus and ambition, all Fine Art students can fully explore ways of making and thinking, and develop their own artistic ‘voice’.

Robin leaves the Art School with a legacy of teaching fit for its committed and talented students to continue to produce incredible work and ready for an exciting future.

Words shared by students and alumni:

“Robin, you made City & Guilds of London Art School the beautiful place it is, and we can’t thank you enough. We will all look back with the happiest memories; the projects, the community, the atmosphere. Thank you for also being supportive in my personal decisions while at the school. You made everyone feel so comfortable and cared for, and your gentle and lovely manner is invaluable. Wishing you all the best post C&G – keep making amazing art and being a wonderful person!”
Iris McConnell, Y3 BA (Hons) Fine Art

Robin, Thank you for everything. I cannot deny the role you have played in my decision to stay in London and give this whole art thing a try. You offered your help, with a special ability to know when it was needed the most. It made all the difference. It was a few years later that I learned, through sharing experiences with other students, that you had managed to do so for all of us. This is a rare unique quality that very few people have, the rest of us can only try. I am certain you will continue to inspire people in your next chapter and I wish you all the best. With loads of gratitude, Natalia
Natalia Gonzalez Martin, 2017,  BA (Hons) Fine Art: Painting

“Robin, I wanted to let you know how grateful I am that during my time at CGLAS you were the Head of Fine Art. Thank you so much for being there for all of us during the challenging times, for all the feedback, guidance and support. I think a lot about how all of my achievements as an artist post-graduation were a direct link to being on the BA course that you have structured so well. Thank you for supporting all of my crazy painting ideas through the years, allowing me to grow and seeing my potential when I didn’t even know it existed. I’m beyond grateful to have been taught and creatively guided by you. I wish you and your family all the best! Thank you so much again.”
Aysha Nagieva, 2021, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Dr Lois Rowe, Principal, would like to thank Robin for his enormous impact on Fine Art, the School and our wider community, and to wish him the very best for his future endeavours.

The whole Art School community thanks Robin for his dedication over many years and wishes him well.

We look forward to seeing his future projects and welcoming him back as our friend to Art School’s events.



City & Guilds of London Art School (CGLAS) will launch recruitment for a new Course Leader in Summer 2024. 

Current job opportunities can be viewed HERE




Head of Finance and Resources (part-time 0.6 FTE)

City and Guilds of London Art School is seeking a suitably experienced individual to lead its finance team. The Head of Finance and Resources is responsible for managing all financial operational aspects of the of this small Independent Higher Education Institution and its associated Property Trust, ensuring best practice and regulatory compliance, and for developing, monitoring and reporting on strategic financial matters.  You will be a qualified accountant (with a qualification preferably from a CCAB professional body) with experience in providing finance support in a small/medium sized organisation and with a good understanding of treasury management, statutory and management and VAT reporting and payroll processing. Just as important is that you enjoy working in a small team in a creative and collegiate environment.

Salary £32,500 – 35,000 (pro rata for a f/t rate of £54,200-£58,300).

Closing date 26th January 2024 (short-listed candidates will be invited for interview on 30th January)

Please click HERE for further particulars of the post and see our website for more information about the Art School

How to apply:

Please send your completed Job Applicaiton Form, setting out how your knowledge and experience meets the person specification, and CV to Mari Shiba at:

City and Guilds of London Art School is seeking a suitably experienced individual to join its finance team. The Finance Officer will be a key member of the team supporting all areas of financial operations, ensuring day-to-day transactional finance processes and administration are undertaken accurately and efficiently. You will need excellent bookkeeping skills, in-depth operational knowledge of computer accounting packages (preferably Sage) and good Excel skills. Just as important is that you enjoy working in a small team in a creative and collegiate environment.

For further details please visit the links below:

Job Description & Person Specification

Application Form

Salary £32,000 to £35,000, full-time. (The position could also be available for 4-days p.w., salary pro rata).

Closing date: 5.00pm Wednesday 20th December 2023; interviews: first week of January 2024.

Please send your completed Application Form, setting out how your knowledge and experience meets the person specification, and CV to Mari Shiba at:

Thank you for entering the Protect the Arts – Fundraising Raffle.

Each £5 donation entitles the donor to one ticket/entry in the raffle. You may make multiple donations.

The raffle will close on 18th December.

The winner will be announced on 19th December

The raffle is managed by:

City & Guilds of London Art School

124 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 4DJ

Registered with Lambeth Council to run small lotteries.

Contact with any queries.

Take a look at our Support Us pages to find out more about our work.

During my studies at City & Guilds of London Art School, I chose paper as my material, researching medieval watermarks which were explored further in the silk screen print studio.  At the moment, I’m working on a series of prints of medieval carved wooden figures seen in Paris earlier this year, using a crossover of disciplines – monotype, silk screen and soft pastel.

As the Silk Screen Fellow, I’m delighted to be working alongside the wonderful Niamh Clancy who was a great advisor and inspiration whilst I was a student. The upstairs print studio became my home during the year of study and I encourage students of any discipline to come and visit!

City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to be part of the Open House Festival 2023 during our MA Show (2-9 Sept).  An opportunity to see the exhibition of work by our MA students set in our historic Georgian terrace, Victorian purpose built fine art studios and contemporary interventions, only open to the public three times a year.

The festival is two-week celebration of London’s homes, architecture and neighbourhoods. You can get inside some of London’s best-known buildings, as well as some of its best kept secrets.

Open House Festival celebrates our curiosity for what happens inside the buildings that we walk past every day; a festival that works to give all Londoners the chance to learn from the city’s best architecture and the people behind it.

The 2023 Open House Festival programme is now live HERE


from September 2023

City & Guilds of London Art School, Kennington, London, SE11 4DJ

Closing date:    CLOSED

Interview:       TBC


The City & Guilds of London Art School is seeking applications for a 1 to 2 year Printmaking Fellowship. The successful applicant will have a recent postgraduate qualification in Fine Art/ Printmaking, and demonstrate a particular commitment to intaglio processes with some experience of screenprinting.  The post offers a unique opportunity for an artist to develop their own practice in the context of the Art School’s traditional etching and engraving studio, working alongside artist and master printmaker Jason Hicklin who set up the studio under Professor Norman Ackroyd in 1998. The print studio is a thriving and lively working environment with 3 tutors and 3 Fellows working as a team to support students from across the Art School’s courses.


The Fellowship recipient’s responsibilities will include:

  • Being available in the print studio on average 2 days per week during term time
  • Participating in the support and supervision of students under the direction of the Print Studio Manager
  • Working within the Health and Safety protocols and guidelines of the Art School in general and the Print Studio in particular.


The successful applicant will benefit from:

  • Access to the Print Room to pursue their own practice as agreed with the Print room tutors, priority being given to the requirements of Art School students
  • Gaining experience in advanced technical aspects of intaglio printmaking
  • Gaining experience of teaching within a small scale supportive Art School environment
  • Gaining knowledge and experience of safe working practices
  • Exhibiting as part of the MA and Artists in Residence exhibition at the Art School


The City & Guilds of London Art School is a ‘not for profit’ charitable institution, providing a valuable alternative to other models of Art education in the UK at Postgraduate, Undergraduate and Foundation levels.  The Art School has a mission to foster excellence in contemporary Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation of cultural objects. It does this in part by providing students with a very high level of contact time with artist tutors and experts. It also has many partnerships and links with London’s major museums and galleries and is supported by a number of benefactors and philanthropic organisations, providing bursaries and funding for our students and facilities.

The Art School has a particular focus on skills-based teaching and a commitment to cultivate knowledge and curiosity in both the historical and contemporary contexts of our subjects. The relationships between tradition and innovation provide a rich area of discussion and debate and we are seeking a print fellow who can actively and positively engage in the Art School’s community of artists, conservators and craft makers.


Application procedure/Selection criteria

Applications will be considered on their merit regardless of age, gender, race, nationality or ethnic origin, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, class or educational background.

The selection will be based on:

  1. the basis of the applicant’s commitment, need and ability to make the best use of the opportunity;
  2. the quality of their work;
  3. the suitability of their practice to the Art School’s mission and approach to printmaking;
  4. their interest in and ability to interact with students from across the Art School;
  5. their professionalism as an artist.


  • The applicant must have a postgraduate qualification in Fine Art / Printmaking, with a particular commitment to the intaglio process.
  • A commitment to developing their own work involving the intaglio/etching process.


Applications must include:

– up to date C.V. including phone number, email, mailing and website addresses
Printmaking 2023_Application Form

– 15 to 20 Images of recent work sent electronically
– 2 professional art/education related references


How to apply:

Please download the Application Form and send it with the required documents above to Mari Shiba at
If you have any questions about the position and the application process please contact


HEAD OF CARVING DEPARTMENT (0.6 FTE, one year fixed-term)

City & Guilds of London Art School is a small-scale, independent Higher Education provider and charity, well respected for its specialist undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Fine Art, Carving (Stone and Wood) and Conservation and its intensive Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.


The Carving Department is in a moment of significant change as it negotiates its own historic origins, but also sees its potential as a dynamic, contemporary medium. The Art School is therefore seeking to appoint a new Head of Department who wishes to embrace the wider application of Carving and to lead an exceptional team of specialist practitioners who teach on the course. We are looking for an established expert in the field who can fully engage with the Art School’s ethos and mission; a practitioner who can prioritise decolonisation in the teaching of this field, understand recent technical developments, and identify relevant opportunities to ensure that the department can continue to thrive.


In 2018 our longstanding Carving Diploma courses were recognised for their excellent quality and standards and validated as BA(Hons) and MA. We are deeply impressed by the commitment and work produced by our students and graduates and proud to have the only courses in carving at this level in the UK. The Historic Carving Department has seen other major developments in recent years thanks to the support of a range of benefactors. Alongside an impressive portfolio of bursary support and prizes, funding has enabled us to substantially extend and refurbish the studios and workshops. Meanwhile collaborations have seen work, designed and carved by our students, permanently sited at major locations such as Southwark Cathedral and St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

For further details about the role and how to apply, please visit the links below and send the completed Application Form and your CV to Mari Shiba at

Job Description & Person Specification

Application Form

Application Deadline: 9.00 am Monday 5th June 2023

Interview planned for the week of : w/c 5 June 2023

If after reading these details and visiting the Carving section of the Art School website you would like an informal discussion about this post please email to arrange a phone conversation with Dr Lois Rowe, the Art School’s Principal

We are excited to announce the addition of five new courses in our 2023 Summer School collection, with a special launch discount available until midnight on Tuesday 7 March!

The new courses include medieval manuscript illumination, life-size clay portrait sculpture, guided tours of Wren’s architecture and the V&A Museum and an exclusive opportunity to get behind the scenes of London’s art world.

The Summer School programme, which runs over a three-week period from 3-21 July 2023, is a collection of short courses for adults (18+), focusing on the historic craft skills and contemporary fine art skills taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Art School. These include observational life drawing; wood and stone carving; gilding; pâte-de-verre; etching and conservation of historic objects. All our courses are suitable for beginners, with several ideal for those with some experience too.


The launch discount on our new courses is available until 12-midnight on Tuesday 7 March, so anyone looking to learn a new art or craft skill this summer is encouraged to book a place now!

If you want to get creative this year, find out more about our Summer School courses on offer and book your place HERE.

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.


On 27 April 2022 we were delighted to welcome Trustees and supporters to the Art School for a celebration to thank Magnus von Wistinghausen, who left the Art School after 13 years in Summer 2021.

Magnus joined City & Guilds of London Art School in September 2008 and was Vice Principal (responsible for Resources and Development) from 2014 to 2018.  From 2018- 2021 Magnus was the Director of City & Guilds Art School Property Trust, which manages the properties occupied by the Art School.  Magnus’ remit as Director, City & Guilds Art School Property Trust, encompassed the ongoing planning and delivery of the Art School’s Masterplan, as well as other strategic fundraising activity.

Magnus was instrumental in the development and roll out of the Art School’s Masterplan since 2008, improving the campus and facilities as well as establishing additional support for the student bursary programme which now provides around 40% of undergraduate students with bursaries towards tuition fees, to ensure all those with the commitment and potential to be offered a place are able to take it up.

Magnus leaves the Art School with facilities fit for its talented students and staff to continue to produce incredible work and ready for an exciting future.

The whole Art School and the Board of Trustees thank Magnus for his dedication over many years and wish him well in all his future endeavours. We look forward to welcoming him back as our friend to Art School’s events for many years to come.

Below are just some of the major projects Magnus delivered and secured funding support for over 13 years:

PHASE 1 (2010-2014)

The renovation of the Art School row of six Grade 2 listed Georgian terrace buildings on Kennington Park Road, was completed in 2014 after five consecutive summers of work. Through Phase 1 we were able to refurbish and enlarge 35 studios; carry out a full upgrade of the Conservation Department; create the expanded Library, new seminar and meeting rooms, and install new lighting and centralised heating throughout.


Another important development connected to Phase 1 took place in 2012 with the relocation of the Foundation Department to the Old Vauxhall Telephone Exchange, a disused 1930s building adjacent to the Art School. This large space of 6,000 square feet was turned into flexible, multipurpose studios with workshop facilities and a lecture space, transforming the quality of facilities for the Foundation Department.

PHASE 2 (2015-2017)

Following on seamlessly from Phase 1, an extremely generous pledge from the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust funded the creation of a new entrance for the Art School, and a striking covered atrium space between the Georgian terrace and the studio buildings.


Stone and Woodcarving Studios Renovation (2018-2019)
With the works completed in Summers of 2018 and 2019, this project equipped the Carving department with facilities that match the excellence and reputation of its then newly validated BA and MA courses, which are unique in this country and play a significant role in keeping alive specialist craft skills central to the preservation of important cultural heritage in the UK and internationally.

Books & Paper Conservation Studios (2020)
In Autumn 2020, the Art School launched its new undergraduate course in Books & Paper Conservation, after reaching an ambitious fundraising target to create and equip a suite of specialist Conservation Studios in its Georgian terrace. Named the Foyle Books & Paper Conservation Studios in recognition of the Foyle Foundation’s significant funding support for this and past studio and facilities development projects at the Art School.  The project also encompassed the creation of new MA Fine Art Studios allowing relocation to another area onsite.  The works were successfully completed, despite restrictions caused by the current pandemic.


Planning permission was granted in 2018 for the final phase of the evolution of the 2008 Masterplan. In 2023 the Art School is reviewing the current needs of the Art School to ensure its plans for the site continue to reflect its ambitions for the future and the priorities of its 2022-27 Strategic Plan.


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.

On Tuesday 22 November, the Trustees of City & Guilds of London Art School and the Art School’s Property Trust were delighted to host a formal celebration lunch in honour of the Art School’s outgoing Principal Tamiko O’Brien.

Former Student Trustee Tina Roe, on behalf of the Board members, presented Tamiko with a specially commissioned carved pear wood brooch depicting a Japanese beetle on a Gingko leaf (pictured below) expertly carved by de Laszlo Senior Woodcarving Tutor Tom Ball, to thank her for her commitment to the Art School and all that was achieved under her leadership from 2014-2022.

Former and current Chairs of the boards, Robin Holland-Martin, John Taylor MBE and Jamie Bill, spoke of Tamiko’s dedication to the Art School, reflecting on her contribution and developments made during her eight-year tenure as Principal of the Art School. Trustees were pleased to celebrate the news that validating partner Ravensbourne University London had conferred the title of Professor Emerita in recognition of Tamiko’s long and distinguished career in Higher Education, her pedagogic and practice based research as well as her leadership at City & Guilds of London Art School. Read more HERE 

At the event Tamiko spoke with conviction and warmth about her time at the Art School and how honoured she felt to have worked with such extraordinary colleagues and students. In all of her years working in Higher Arts education, she had not previously come across such a strong sense of community and shared purpose. She felt that this drive and commitment came from the strong focus on teaching by professionally active practitioners and that this had been core to the way the Art School had responded to the pandemic. After reflecting on memorable instances where staff members had acted ‘above and beyond’ with ingenuity, generosity and personal dedication, she spoke of her admiration for colleagues and students and her gratitude to the trustees and the wider community of friends who had supported the Art School over the years.

City & Guilds of London Art School’s Board of Trustees extend their deep gratitude to Tamiko for her excellent leadership and for her skill in steering the Art School through the particular challenges of recent times. They look forward to her future engagement with the Art School.

Tamiko is succeeded by Dr Lois Rowe, who took up the post of Art School Principal in September 2022.

The Art School is grateful to the Fishmongers’ Company for their generosity in hosting the lunch together with their ongoing support, including funding towards the Art School’s widening participation initiatives.

Left to right: Tamiko O’Brien; close up of brooch; brooch completed in Tom Ball’s carving studio.

Copyright: City & Guilds of London Art School 2022 and Tom Ball Carving, 2022.


The Art School’s 2023 Summer School programme is now open for bookings, with an early bird discount available until midnight on Tuesday 3 January 2023.

View the Summer School 2023 programme here.

The Summer School programme, which runs over a three-week period from 3-21 July 2023, is a collection of short courses for adults (18+), focusing on the historic craft skills and contemporary fine art skills taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Art School. These include observational life drawing; wood and stone carving; painting; gilding; etching and conservation of historic objects. All our courses are suitable for beginners, with several also ideal for those with some experience too.

For 2023, we are delighted to announce two new exciting and rare courses: Glass Sculpture: an Introduction to Pâte-de-Verre  (3-7 July 2023) and Introduction to Bronze Casting  (10-14 July 2023).

An early bird discount is available until 12-midnight on Tuesday 3 January 2023, a perfect opportunity to purchase a last minute seasonal gift for a loved one (or yourself of course!).


Stone Carving for Beginners

Observational Drawing: Focus on the Figure

Lettering in Stone

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.


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.

The last two sessions with Print Fellow Kristina Chan in the Print Room have been all about colour!

Members have learned how to chine college, one of the most traditional ways of adding colour to etchings. It can be used to overlay, accentuate and transform a monochrome 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.

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.

We are delighted to announce that the Art School’s Saturday Club is one of only four Clubs selected to take part in a new Craft&Making programme pilot by National Saturday Club, in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).

CEO of the National Saturday Club, Lucy Kennedy, made the announcement last night at the QEST 30th birthday party held at Goldsmiths Hall, London.

The Craft&Making programme pilot will be hosted by four universities and colleges, including City & Guilds of London Art School. The other hosts include City of Oxford College and MAKE Southwest. The network will increase to ten Clubs by 2025.

This new National Saturday Club programme aims to introduce young people from across the UK to the world of craft and making, creating valuable opportunities for them to develop their creativity and practical skills. Club members will work with varied materials, such as wood, ceramics, glass, metal, and textiles, and will gain an understanding of the importance of retaining traditional craft
practice, whilst ensuring that these skills and materials evolve and remain relevant in the modern world.

The National Saturday Club programme is free and open to 13–16-year-olds of all abilities. The Art School’s Saturday Club gives Members the rare opportunity to use traditional skills to make a series of hand-crafted artworks with a contemporary twist! Club Members will design their own coat of arms, featuring objects and symbols that demonstrate what’s most important to them. Over the course of the Club, they will learn an exciting range of techniques including etching, casting in plaster, gilding with gold leaf onto glass and carving in wood. They will take part in a Masterclass with a leading industry professional, visit a museum or gallery and exhibit their final artwork in the Summer Show at Somerset House. Visit our Club blog to see what Members have already been learning.

Art School Saturday Club Members with Print Fellow Kristina Chan in our historic Print Room

Through the Craft&Making programme, Club members will be introduced to a wide range of careers in heritage and conservation, the built environment, and the creative industries. QEST and the National Saturday Club will engage with cultural organisations and industry, and will develop practitioner partnerships to support and enrich the new programme, supporting Club tutors and providing inspirational opportunities for the young people.

Dr Lois Rowe, Principal of City & Guilds of London Art School, said: “We are thrilled that the Art School’s Saturday Club has been chosen as part of the pilot for the National Saturday Club’s new Craft&Making programme. We are the only higher education provider in the UK specialising in the teaching of historic craft skills at degree level. We are committed to educating the next generations of crafts specialists and are delighted that through our collaboration with the National Saturday Club, we can offer local young people the opportunity to develop a passion for these endangered skills.”

Lucy Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Saturday Club Trust said: “We are delighted to be partnering with QEST to launch the Craft&Making Saturday Club, the seventh subject within the National Saturday Club programme. This programme will be vital in introducing young people to the breath of opportunities open to them within the world of craft and making, opportunities which are
currently not visible within the mainstream curriculum. The programme will impart valuable practical skills which could lead onto rewarding careers and will support them to consider future study in the sector. At a time when we see many craft and making subjects, practices and skills declining nationally, it is even more important that young people have the opportunity to discover and be inspired by them at a pivotal moment in their progression.”

Deborah Pocock LVO, CEO at QEST said: “We are really excited about the potential for this new partnership to inspire and encourage young people of all backgrounds across the UK to explore their creativity and hand-making skills. We hope that the Craft&Making Club will provide transformational opportunities for young people to build their skills, develop confidence and discover clear pathways of progression into craft-based occupations, unlocking hidden talents and growing a new generation of professional craftspeople and makers.”

If you are interested in applying to take part in the Art School’s 2023/24 Saturday Club, sign up to our mailing list and we will send you Club updates and 2023 application details.

The Art School is most grateful to those donors whose generous support has made our National Saturday Club possible: City & Guilds Foundation , Fishmongers’ Company

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.



We are delighted that the City & Guilds of London Art School Print Room 2020 Box Set will be on show, and available to buy, at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair 3-6 November. All proceeds will go to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

The prints contained in this beautiful 10″ x 10″ boxed one-off set are all from editions of 20 and were made by artists who have worked in the City & Guilds of London Art School Print Room, either as a Tutor or Print Fellow, between 2017 and 2020.

The Art School’s traditional etching and engraving room was established by artist and master printmaker Jason Hicklin under Professor Norman Ackroyd in 1998, with the first Printmaking Fellowships taking place shortly after. The Fellowship offers artists who have a commitment to printmaking, and who have completed an MA in art making, a chance to continue developing their practice within the Art School’s lively atmosphere. Fellows also have the opportunity to gain teaching and technician experience with students enrolled across Foundation, BA, and MA courses while being supported by a dedicated team of tutors and professional staff. The Box Set works to represent the results of the Art School’s vibrant programme — for example Rachel Goodison completed her MA at the Art School prior to applying for a Fellowship position. Fellowship alumni, such as Blaze Cyan and Chris Roantree, have also returned as Tutors following additional periods of professional practice.

From 1998 to the present day twenty-three individuals have held the post of Print Fellow.

Unfortunately, professional practices across the UK were presented with unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19, and these artists’ practices are without exception. As a mode of cultural production, printmaking requires very specific industrious equipment that often cannot be reproduced in the domestic sphere. The Box Set works were meticulously crafted between three national lockdowns when Covid safety regulations allowed. 

This project allowed me to escape into a world of metal, acid and inks helping to understand the situation we have come to find ourselves in.” — Jemma Gunning

Yet many of the works presented took inspiration from this new found collective condition. Jemma Gunning, for example, sketched during daily isolation walks; later responding to these sketches creating a haunting urban environment. Blaze Cyan’s work also draws upon ideas of haunting through the depiction of the raven as a harbinger of death, and invoking Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ wherein the narrator laments the loss of his love Lenore, echoing lost loved ones at the hands of Covid-19. Animality and environment feature in other works as well. Drawing inspiration from a 2019 artist residency in Australia’s Blue Mountains at a time when bushfires reached their peak, Kristina Chan depicts the tentative balance between the land, natural disaster, and human impact. Also invoking themes of history and time, Catherine Greenwood collaborated with a composer during the first national lockdown, connecting ancient landscape and human interaction through print and music in a duration of turbulence. Kathryn Graham focuses on walls; all encompassing and all surrounding. She explores the blur of boundaries between interior and exterior space.

The full set of images and documentation will be exhibited at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair 2023, and artists can be contacted through their details afterwards for information on purchasing individual prints from the larger edition.

Artist Biographies:

Edward Adlington

Edward Adlington (b. 1983) London-trained, Philadelphia-based printmaking artist and teacher.

Ed moved to Pennsylvania USA in 2020 and is currently working as an artist and Art Teacher from being a Print tutor 2018-2020 at the Art School and a research Fellow 2014-15 also working at Putney School of Art, London. Completed an MFA 2012 from UAL, Camberwell School of Art and BA degree from City & Guilds of London Art School 2007. Ed’s keen interest in plants and their uses was expressed in his cultivation of the courtyard garden at the Art School, creating collections of plants that related to art’s practise within the Art School walls.



Matthew Beach

Matthew Beach (b. 1993, Kansas, USA) is an artist-researcher working in London. He received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, and BFA from the College of the Arts, University of Florida. Beach’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, including Screw Gallery, Leeds, San Mei Gallery, London, and Galerie Duchamp, Yvetot. He recently completed a year-long residency programme coordinated between East Street Arts and Sustainable Darkroom in Leeds, and is a PhD candidate in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London. Embedded within discourses around materiality, Beach’s practice explores the entanglements between place, the photographic, and care in more-than-human worlds.


Kristina Chan

Kristina Chan’s practice utilises narrative and site specificity to evoke a felt history. She works between traditional printmaking processes and alternative photography to create large scale public installations focusing on local histories and sense of place. Chan has works in the permanent archives of the Ingram Collection (2020), V&A Museum (2016, 2017) and Royal Collection, Clarence House (2018).  She received the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Originals Innovation Grant, Ingram Prize, is a finalist for the Queen Sonja Print Award (all 2020), and a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshield’s Foundation Project Grant (2017, 2018).



Niamh Clancy

Niamh Clancy was born in Ireland in 1975. She graduated with a joint honours degree in the History of Art and Fine Art from the National College of Art & Design, Dublin 1997 and with a Masters in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art, London 2002. Clancy currently lives and works in London as an artist and has established an editioning service for reputable artists based in England. Niamh has exhibited regularly in Europe and America. She has received funding awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs, Royal College of Art, and Queen’s University Belfast. Niamh currently teaches at City & Guilds of London Art School and is represented by Eames Fine Art.



Blaze Cyan

Blaze Cyan was born in Wiltshire and now lives and works in London. Blaze graduated from the City & Guilds of London Art School in 2014 with an MA in Fine Art after a previous career in the fashion industry. She is a ‘Fellow’ of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. Working within the mediums of drawing, etching, woodcut and wood engraving, her primary subject area is landscape, having a particular fascination with ancient trees, the portrayal of time and the beautiful grotesque. Blaze has shown work with many of the leading art and printmaking societies and in 2015 joined ‘The Arborealists’ an international group of artists specializing in the representation of trees.



Kathryn Graham

Kathryn Graham (b. 1995, Armagh, Northern Ireland) is a Belfast based visual artist and fine art Lecturer from Northern Ireland. Graham graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Print in 2019. She completed a Printmaking Fellowship at the City & Guilds of London Art School in 2021. She is interested in the relationship between printmaking and sculpture. 

Kathryn has recently shown work with RE Bankside Gallery, Royal Ulster Academy, Southwark Park Galleries, CCA Derry, Cream Athens and Cole Projects. Receiving awards from the RUA Outstanding Students (2017), Space Artist Award in (2021), Arts Council residency award (2020). Recipient of Arts council funding and A-N artists with work held in collections of Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal College of Art and The University of Ulster.



Catherine Greenwood

Catherine Greenwood (nee Atkinson (b. 1968, Beckenham, England) is a West Sussex based artist and specialises in etching and monotype printmaking. Completing a Fellowship at City & Guilds of London Art School having graduated with an MA from University of Maine USA. after taking part in innovative research into contemporary printmaking materials. She was a student at Camberwell school of Art, KIAD Kent in 1986 and worked as an environmental artist and educator and is currently a teaching etching at Putney School of Art and independent Print Studios in Sussex and Suffolk. Catherine is a member of the Wilderness Art Collective, her work reflects wetlands, coastal landscape and at ancient heritage sites, she is interested in conservation of habitat for migrant birds & wildlife and leads Art Walks on the South Downs. She exhibits widely, notably at the RA Summer Exhibition 2015/22 and at the Houses of Parliament (2015). She won an Arts Council Year of the Artist Award in 2000 and has recently shown work internationally in New York and Vienna.



Rachel Goodison

Rachel Goodison is an artist living and working in London. Her practice employs different media, including painting, printing and sculpture. It explores various themes, such as the importance of play in pursuing creativity; and the vulnerability of the human body and mind. She changed career to become an artist in 2015, having trained as a barrister, and worked for a campaign group called London First. She was awarded her MA at the City & Guilds of London Art School in 2019 with Distinction, and is currently a Print Fellow at the Art School and Artist in Residence at Brompton Chapel.



Jemma Gunning

Jemma Gunning (b. 1988, Wiltshire, England) is a Bristol based printmaker who specialises in intaglio and lithography processes. After graduating in 2018 from UWE with a Masters in Multidisciplinary Printmaking, she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship to fund her two year fellowship at the City & Guilds of London Art School. Working on personal projects and commissions, her practice explores the documentation of our fading heritage. In 2019 she was elected as an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. She exhibits frequently in the UK and internationally, including the RA summer show, London Original Print fair and the RWA annual open. Alongside her practice she works as a technical instructor in lithography at UWE and is co-founder of Bristol Print Collective that she co-founded in 2016.



Jason Hicklin

Jason was born in Wolverhampton in 1966 and studied at St. Martins College of Art, where he was a student of renowned printmaker Norman Ackroyd. After completing a postgraduate course at the Central School of Art in 1991, Jason combined working as Ackroyd’s studio assistant and editioner with producing his own work and teaching printmaking at City & Guilds of London Art School. Jason is currently Head of Printmaking at City & Guilds of London Art School. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Painting and Printmakers in 1993 and has had numerous solo and joint exhibitions in the UK and abroad.



Christopher Roantree

Christopher Roantree has been teaching in the Print Room for over 15 years where he was introduced by Norman Ackroyd.  Working internationally, from residences in Paris, to Belizian jungles. Chris has won numerous awards in fine art and illustration! Currently working collaboratively alongside artist Akarsh Kummattummall. 

Focusing on ReWilding (the practice of reintroducing extinct species back into habitats). These ethereal, dreamy landscapes and semi, broken down relics that often populate them, attempt to form a narrative not solely from a change of habitat, but a human/psychological ReWilding. The aim is to evoke a sense of beauty but with a warning. RoantreexKummattummal practice uniquely collides digital/3D technologies, traditional etching, monotypes and drawing, where the work is firmly rooted and printed from the plate in the intaglio tradition.



Wai Wong

Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Major in Film and Media Art, Minor in Art History, Temple University, 2003 MA Printmaking, Middlesex University, 2018 Different from most of my peers, I will say that I want to be a printmaker instead of an artist. More precisely, I want to be a craftsman or an artisan focusing on making prints. Ozu Yasujiro is my favourite movie director, and probably my favourite artist. In an interview, he once said, “I only know how to make tofu. I can make fried tofu, boiled tofu, stuffed tofu. Cutlets and other fancy stuff, that’s for other directors.” Because he spent his entire career to make nothing else but “tofu”, he made the best “tofu”. Ozu probably did not consider himself as an artist, but a craftsman who repeatedly practiced the same craft until he reached perfection. This is what I want to be – a tofu maker; a craftsman in printmaking. Except through practicing the same craft repetitively and constantly, I do not know any other way to achieve perfection.


As we continue to move away from the disruption caused by the pandemic, we want to reassure current and future students that we remain committed to providing the best standards of education and care, alongside the highest levels of health and safety precautions, so that you are able to thrive and excel, and get the very best out of your time studying at the Art School.

If we are required to practise Covid-19 safety measures in the future, we will respond in much the same way as we have during the previous two years.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, one of our top priorities, alongside the safety and wellbeing of students and staff, has been to maintain the high standards of specialist education we are known for and that our students expect and deserve. Even when the nation was in the tightest grip of the pandemic, we were not only determined to continue delivering the highest quality of courses, but strived to ensure our students could thrive and fulfil their ambitions, to secure their progression through their programmes and to continue on to employment or future study.

In order to achieve these objectives throughout this challenging time, we have continued to take an innovative approach to delivering the very best for our students.


During periods of national Lockdown, we successfully embraced online teaching, delivering courses through a combination of online demos, tutorials, seminars and one-to-ones. Where appropriate, we even posted materials and worksheets to students’ homes so they could continue their hands-on practice from make-shift studios.

When national safety advice and guidance allowed, we were amongst the first to open our doors to welcome students back into their studios, following an extensive period of meticulous preparation to create a safe environment for students and staff.

By adapting our facilities, extending our opening hours and term dates, working in bubbles and providing additional teaching, as well as strictly adhering to all social distancing, PPE, testing and safety rules, we were able to offer our students the studio-based learning experience that is essential for the depth of study we provide. Socially-distanced studio practice and small group tutorials were supported with online group seminars and lectures.

To celebrate and promote the achievements of students who were unable to exhibit their final work during 2020, we launched an online Graduate Showcase, and in 2021, hosted an additional in-person summer show for our 2020 Fine Art graduates.

Throughout this difficult period, we have been dedicated to supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing. Our wonderful Access to Learning team, led by Teresita Dennis, has been providing a comprehensive and compassionate service and course tutors have been particularly vigilant about noticing signs of mental distress in their students. We introduced 24/7 free mental health support for students through Talk Campus, and in addition we provide a wealth of information on alternative mental health support organisations available to students.


Recorded at the start of the academic year 2020/21, some of those who were students at the time, shared their thoughts about our response to the pandemic.

“I feel so lucky to be at a school which simultaneously places student wellbeing and respect for Covid rules at the top of their priority list.” – Roberta Bloomer, Foundation Diploma Art & Design

“The school is run in a way that not just considers, but actually centres around the student experience. In current times of Covid, where most institutions have reduced building access, City & Guilds of London Art School has found a safe and effective way of even increasing the number of studio-access hours.” – Gaurav Gupta, BA (Hons) Fine Art

“At a time of such uncertainty and unrest, the Art School  has dealt with everything with incredible integrity and diligence ensuring the wellbeing of all who attend and work on campus. Given most courses at the Art School are very practical and hands on, stringent safety measures have been put in place which has enabled the school to remain open and created a safe environment for all. The quality of the teaching is outstanding. It is clear that it is a place that is well loved and run by a very dedicated and passionate team of professionals.” – Joanne Grogan, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding

“Despite the ongoing global upheaval in education institutions as a result of the pandemic, the Art School has remained dedicated to upholding the needs of its students, ensuring we are still creatively  supported and accommodating our growth as much as possible. Hearing about so many other art schools going online, I am so grateful I chose to come here. Not only are the tutors closely connected to the students in normal times, but even during the pandemic, they ensure that we are creatively guided, closely listened to and helped throughout this period, maintaining as much normality as they can.” – Filippa Seilern Aspang, MA Fine Art

Martin Ravndal Hauge who died in his native Norway on 17 October 2022 aged 85, was a long-standing supporter of students at City & Guilds of London Art School, along with his wife Atla Lund Hauge who passed away on 20 February 2022. They will be greatly missed.

Martin had spent a career teaching at the Institute of Biblical Studies at the University of Oslo and was a published author.

Atla was a published children’s and youth author, teacher and winner of Riksmålforbundet’s children’s and youth book prize in 1995.

Martin and Atla first came into contact with the Art School in the 1990s when their daughter Idun Ravndal a Norwegian Painter, studied Fine Art with us. Idun went on to graduate in 1994, but sadly died on 11 October 2002 aged just 33.  In Idun’s memory and in recognition of her time spent at the Art School, Martin and Atla set up the Idun Ravndal Travel Prize to support a student to take a research trip each year towards their studies.

More recently in 2020, Atla and Martin made generous provisions for a future legacy which will provide further, long term support of Fine Art students, and will permanently recognise Idun’s very happy years at the Art School – which, in their own words, ‘gave insight and the basic rock on which to stand, to start from and to come back to’.

In 2020, the Art School unveiled its own memorial to Idun, through the renaming of one its Victorian fine art studios. The studio plaque celebrates Idun’s time at the Art School and was created by fine art alumna and then Painter Stainers’ Decorative Surfaces Fellow, Ana Kazaroff.

We send our deepest condolences to Martin and Atla’s friends and family.

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.

The Art School is delighted to announce that 2022 BA Conservation graduate, Alannah Hay, has been awarded a fully-funded place on the Architectural Conservation Training Programme at University College for Women, in Hyderabad, India, which takes place this month.

Organised with the World Monuments Fund, the Commonwealth Heritage Forum has developed this course as part of its new Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Commonwealth Heritage Skills (CHS) Training Programme, to build capacity on the practical aspects of built heritage conservation, with a particular focus on working with lime. The course is also designed to share knowledge and experience between India and the UK. The CHS Training Programme offers six fully-funded Hamish Ogston Foundation Commonwealth Traineeships.

The Traineeships are available to students or trainees studying traditional building and/or heritage craft skills, as well as early career practitioners, from the UK. They will join six local participants on the course. The programme includes field visits to sites of architectural interest such as Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Chowmohalla Palace and Paigah and Qutb Shahi Tombs; demonstration and hands-on work with lime: masonry, plastering and construction; and lectures on architectural conservation and safety, conservation practices in India and site and project management.

You can read about Alannah and what she hopes to gain from the course on the Hamish Ogston Foundation website.

We congratulate Alannah on her success and look forward to reading her full report.

Image: Qutb Shahi Tomb by Alaka123 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

At the end of his second year on our BA Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces course, Joshua Horsfall spent the summer working on a variety of conservation projects around the country with conservation companies Rupert Harris Conservation, Skillingtons Conservation Workshops and Sally Strachey Historic Conservation.

In his own words, Joshua details the work he has been involved with:

Ghandi statue in Tavistock Square. Stone cleaning and relaxing of the Bronze

Since finishing my second year I have worked on numerous projects with a few different companies in the conservation world. I started in June working on the statues in Russell Square, Lincoln’s Inn Square, Tavistock Square and Bloomsbury Square, all in London.

Cleaning the stone on the Ghandi statue in Tavistock Square

Tavistock Square, statue of Dame Louise Brandreth Aldrich-Blake (1865–1925), a pioneering woman physician and surgeon in nearby hospitals, whose bust looks both into and out of the Square

This was with Rupert Harris Conservation and involved some introductions into the work they do on Bronze sculptures combined with the varied challenges of poulticing and mortar work on the different stone surrounds. I also worked with Rupert Harris on various projects a few months later in the summer, in St. Pancras Gardens, as well as little maintenance jobs all over the city.

Waterlow Park, North West London. Reinstating the wings

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, 16th century decorative plaster

I also spent some time back with my previous employer Skillington Workshop at Hardwick Old Hall in Derbyshire, conserving surviving Elizabethan plaster work which included some fine examples of the period style still intact after all these years. I have done little pieces there over the years but it was great to be a part of the large works which included lots of disciplines and trades working on site to preserve this building.


Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, repairs and cleaning to the front porch column

Ely Cathedral chapel floor repairs

After that I spent over a month working on the front porch of Ely Cathedral in Suffolk, focusing on the Purbeck Marble columns which were in need of some repairs and cleaning, as well as some restoration to the decorative floor in the chapel. I also managed to complete works at Newcastle Cathedral that I had been a part of before my time at the Art School, this was nicely rounded off with a visit from Prince Edward, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

Chopping out and replacing failed Bath Stone at Drews Park in Wiltshire

At the end of my summer break I had a great time working with some of the team from Sally Strachey Historic Conservation at Drews Park in Wiltshire, fitting stones and mortar repairs around the once mental hospital and now large picturesque residential park.

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 Villagrazia 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


Congratulations to our graduating MA students, whose outstanding work is exhibited in the MA Show, on until Saturday 10 September.

The MA ceremony took place on Monday 5 September, in a wonderful celebration of the students’ success and achievements, with students, staff, family, friends and supporters coming together.

Art School Principal, Dr Lois Rowe

The event was also the perfect opportunity to welcome the Art School’s new Principal, Dr Lois Rowe, who has taken up her post this week. Lois was able to meet many of the Art School’s friends, supporters and partners and is looking forward to meeting many more in the coming weeks and months.

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jamie Bill

The opening address from the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jamie Bill, was followed by the Graduands’ addresses, this year delivered by Bonnie Salter, MA Art & Material Histories; Nicola Shreeve, MA Conservation; and Simon Bejer, MA Fine Art. The graduands thanked their tutors and fellow students for their tremendous support and remarked on the rich diversity of ideas and experience nurtured at the Art School through its cross-disciplinary nature.

Graduands Bonnie Salter, Nicola Shreeve, Simon Bejer

Congratulations followed as this year’s postgraduate prize winners were announced:

Astor Materials Prize – Ann Wasdell, MA Fine Art (continuing student)

City & Guilds of London Art School ACS Studio Residency Prize – Simon Bejer, MA Fine Art.

City & Guilds of London Art School MA Prize for Outstanding Critical Engagement – Romulo Avi, MA Fine Art & Yasmin Noorbakhsh, MA Fine Art

Slaughterhaus Print Studio Prize – Angela A’Court, MA Art & Material Histories

Tony Carter Award – Simon Head, MA Fine Art

Kimberley Ahmet, Senior Manager at the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) presenting the City & Guilds of London Art School ACS Studio Residency Prize to Simon Bejer, MA Fine Art.

A huge congratulations to all our graduating students and prize winners!

The MA Show continues until Saturday 10 September, and you are encouraged to visit and view the truly outstanding work on display. As well as the final work and presentations from our MA Fine Art, MA Art & Material Histories, MA Carving and MA Conservation graduates, visitors can view pieces from our Co-Chair of Students and our Fellows – in all, over 30 exhibitors!

Wednesday 7 September, 11:00-18:00
Thursday 8 September, 11:00-18:00
Friday 9 September, 13:00-20:00, bar open from 18:00
Saturday 10 September, 10:00-17:00

Artist and academic John Wigley, was presented with the title of Art School Fellow in 2019 in recognition of his contribution to the progression of the Art School in his role as validating body Link Tutor at Birmingham City University. In its previous incarnation as University of Central England, Birmingham City University was the first validating body to validate the Art School’s Fine Art Painting and Sculpture BA (Hons) degrees in 1997 and Conservation BA (Hons) degree in 1998, consolidating the Art School’s position as a centre of excellence for teaching contemporary fine art and the conservation of cultural artefacts.  All BA (Hons) and MA degrees at the Art School are now validated by Ravensbourne University London.

Graduating in Fine Art from Reading University, the Royal College of Art and the British School of Rome, John’s career as an artist and lecturer has involved national and international exhibitions and exchanges in both Europe and America. Employing an understated humour, his work tracks his life journey from the South of England, to the North and finally to the Midlands, and his fundamental quest to understand the meaning of belonging and the purpose of existence. John is currently an Associate Professor in Birmingham School of Art, Birmingham City University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Tamiko O’Brien second from left during a visit from Urushi expert and Living National Treasure Kazumi Murose (third from left) to the Art School’ s carving and conservation studios in 2018

In July 2022, the Ravensbourne University London Professorial Appointment Sub-Committee conferred the title of Professor Emerita on Tamiko O’Brien, Principal at the Art School between 2014 and 2022. In their feedback, that considered Tamiko’s career in Higher Education to date, the panel referred to her ‘sustained strategic leadership over many years, particularly in the arena of curriculum development, innovation in learning and teaching, facilities build and development, and resource management ‘ as well as her ‘research and professional practice portfolio of activities, with residency schemes in UK, EU, Japan, supported by external funding, and evidenced by exhibitions and commissions and public events and symposia which she led, co-curated and contributed to’. The title was awarded by Ravensbourne University London through a process that involved external experts including Professor Paul Gough (Vice Chancellor at Arts University Bournemouth) and Professor Anita Taylor (Dean at Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art & Design).

Tamiko worked in Higher Arts Education at a number of institutions, including the University of the Arts London. Initially working as a Fine Art tutor and then course leader, she went on to work as head of school, associate dean and professor before joining the Art School as Principal.  Her involvement in pedagogic research projects, including pro-bono work as the founding chair of the Fine Art European Forum and with the European League of Institutes of the Arts and EQArts, has facilitated developments in curricula and teaching practices as well as generated numerous student projects and international exchanges.

Throughout her time in Higher Arts education, Tamiko has maintained her art practice, that since 1998 has involved working as one half of artist duo Dunhill and O’Brien. Rooted in the traditions of sculpture, their work is concerned with the procedures and problems of collaboration. Their aspiration, to make new work together unencumbered by individual taste, has led to projects involving elaborate processes, motorised apparatus and performative ‘research’ activities, as well as working directly with participants. They have received project funding and research awards including from the Arts Council England, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation and Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and have participated in exhibitions, residencies and projects in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Key developments at City & Guilds of London Art School during Tamiko’s tenure as Principal 2014-2022

Under Tamiko O’Brien’s leadership, the Art School team worked to significantly raise the level of ambition, introducing outward facing activity to better establish the Art School’s profile as a renowned centre of excellence. Alongside important work on governance and quality, measured through a highly successful Quality Assurance Agency Review and registration with the Office for Students, some of the key developments include:

Artist in Residence scheme launch (2015)

This programme provides early and mid-career artists with a base and access to the Art School’s specialist facilities. Meanwhile, their engagement in the life of the Art School provides inspiration and valuable professional experience and contributes to the Material Matters research programme. To date, 14 artists have taken part, including several international artists, most recently Taku Obata.

New MA Conservation (2017)

After many successful years running a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation, City & Guilds of London Art School was proud to launch a new MA Conservation to run alongside the existing BA (Hons) Conservation course. Closely related to the BA, the MA involves high-level conservation projects, advanced conservation science, research, ethics and professional practice, and culminates in the completion of an ambitious practical conservation project, accompanied by an extended research and treatment report. The course builds on the department’s strong links with major institutions including the V&A, English Heritage and the National Trust.

Collaboration – Tokyo University of the Arts’ Sculpture Research Lab (2017 – 2019)

From May 2017 through to November 2019, the Art School engaged in a collaboration with Tokyo University of the Arts specialist Buddhist Carving Lab building on Tamiko’s longstanding connections with TUA from her time as an artist in residence. The collaboration included a visit from experts from TUA to the Art School with demonstrations for students as well as for London Craft Week and events at the V&A and British Museum. A reciprocal visit in 2019 to Tokyo involved a team of specialists from the Art School’s Historic Carving and Conservation Departments including Gerry Alabone and Rian Kanduth, and a conservator and wood and urushi expert from the British Museum.

The project was funded by the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Toshiba International Foundation, and provided rare opportunities for experts from the UK and Japan to exchange skills and develop links and provided students with in depth teaching from international experts .

Summer School Short Courses Launch (2018)

A diverse and inspiring portfolio of 3 & 5 day summer courses was launched in July 2018 . Taught by a range of professionally active tutors from the Art School’s degree and MA courses, the Summer School students benefit from their expertise, small class sizes and focus on historic and specialist skills and knowledge.

The programme has grown over the years and welcomed many individuals interested in exploring the Art School’s subjects. Between 2019-2021, funded bursaries for 18-25 year olds were offered thanks to a grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Stone and Woodcarving Studios Renovation (2018-2019)

This project upgraded and expanded the Historic Carving department with facilities to match the excellence and reputation of its courses, which are unique in the UK and play a significant role in keeping alive specialist craft skills central to the preservation of the nation’s heritage as well as ensuring their role in contemporary architecture and craft.

Carving courses validated as BA (Hons) and MA  (2019)

The Art School’s longstanding excellence in the teaching of craft skills was recognised in in 2019 with the validation of the Art School’s Carving courses as BA (Hons) and MA courses, with pathways in Woodcarving & Gilding or Architectural Stone and MA Carving (which can also be taken as a PGDip Carving). Validated by Ravensbourne University London and entirely devised and delivered at the Art School these courses are only available at this level at the City & Guilds of London Art School .

Launch of new undergraduate course in Books & Paper Conservation (2020)

After successfully reaching an ambitious fundraising target that enabled the Art School to double the footprint of the conservation department and create and equip a new suite of conservation studios and facilities in its Georgian terrace building in central London, the course launched with a full intake of first year students in September 2020. BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper is the only course of its kind to be offered in London, and in the UK. The new award sits alongside and complements the Art School’s existing and highly-regarded BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces. This development also saw the expansion of our MA Conservation to include both research and practical projects in books and paper at an advanced level.

The addition of this new Books & Paper Conservation course has seen the Art School’s Conservation Department double in scale over the following three years, and follows the closure in 2018 of MA Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts, part of University of the Arts London (UAL). UAL donated specialist equipment and materials to support the set-up of the new course having identified City & Guilds of London Art School as a centre of excellence in the provision of craft and heritage training and the natural home of teaching in this specialism. Books & Paper conservation training in the UK has a long and important history and is very well respected internationally, attracting students from around the world, including the US where no specialist provision is currently available. Now that the Art School is offering the new undergraduate Books & Paper award along with clear progression to MA Conservation, the country’s educational provision for this specialist subject is significantly enhanced, giving students a wider choice and enabling them to progress directly into employment in the conservation world. The addition of this course strategically reinforces the Art School’s long-standing commitment to promoting and sustaining the legacies of important (and endangered) art and craft traditions, and of specialist skills essential for the future of our cultural heritage. The Books & Paper course now plays a crucial role in ensuring there are professionals available to work in this important area of conservation, enabling the continuation of the specialist knowledge and skills needed for the preservation of important works on paper.

New MA Fine Art Studios (2020)

The project encompassed the creation of new MA Fine Art studio facilities and a lecture room on the first floor of the adjoining Old Vauxhall Telephone Exchange building to allow for necessary studio relocations to accommodate the new Conservation course, resulting in an additional 500+ sqm of purpose-designed Fine Art studio and workspaces. The new spaces also significantly supported the Art School in reopening safely to students during the pandemic, enabling social distancing.

They now provide generous and attractive facilities supporting full recruitment to Fine Art courses and support excellence in studio based art practice.

Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-2022)

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of the Art School’s activities since March 2020. The Art School, under Tamiko’s leadership, was pro-active in responding to the ongoing situation with our highest priority being the need to maintain the excellent standards we are known for, and that our students expect and deserve – not least to ensure our students were able to thrive and fulfil their ambitions, to secure their progression through their courses and on to employment or future study, and to uphold recruitment in order to avoid long term financial consequences. Despite the significant challenges, there were many important achievements to celebrate.

More detail of our response, including extended access and term times, can be found here.

Widening Access & Participation

Widening access and participation in our subject areas and creative higher education was an area of focus during Tamiko’s tenure though this was somewhat held back by the pandemic. Important groundwork was established that the Art School is successfully building upon including engagement in London Craft Week and the Big Draw with public events and activities, as well as building partnerships with Creative Dimension Trust and the National Saturday Club to offer activities for young people from groups who are under represented in Higher Education.

Collaborations & Partnerships (to date)

The Art School has established a strong and expanding network of national and international art, creative and heritage-related institutions (as well as important links with private individuals). These collaborations translate year on year into significant professional and learning opportunities for current students as well as graduates, including placements, commissions and other forms of collaborative projects. Internationally, the Art School became a member of the Michelangelo Foundation’s European network of organisations committed to highest level craftsmanship and design.

You can read more about our partnerships and collaborations HERE.

Established carver and sculptor, Dick Onians, was awarded the Art School Fellowship in 2018 in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the Art School over many years. Dick taught Historic Carving Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma students at the Art School since 1978 until his retirement in 2018, and he is widely recognised by alumni and staff as an incredibly generous, thoughtful, knowledgeable and inspiring tutor and colleague, who has had a lasting influence on those he taught or worked with.

As a Cambridge Classicist who had begun his career as a teacher before devoting his life to art, Dick studied Woodcarving under William Wheeler, Stone carving under James Butler, R.A. and Life work at the Art School in the late 1960s, before becoming a freelance sculptor and teacher of carving. He continued doing this even after being invited back to join the Art School teaching staff as a Senior Carving Tutor in 1978. Until his retirement Dick was a constant source of inspiration to generations of our wood and stone carving students as well as to the Conservators, where his wealth of classical knowledge and deep appreciation of form were valued, and he became synonymous with the Art School. The quality of his Carving Teaching led to the award of a gold medal from the City & Guilds Institute, for which he wrote the entire woodcarving syllabus and ran accredited courses in evening classes and summer schools near his home in Hertfordshire. He then became the first recipient of the President’s Award for a City & Guilds teacher, presented to him personally by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2003.

Dick’s private work covers a range of genres, including the human figure and traditional ornament but concentrates on abstract sculptures in wood and stone with a focus on the invention of new forms. Much of his work is concerned with endlessness in time and space and with regeneration. Many of his pieces have been cast in bronze. His sculptures appear in private collections in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and the USA and he has public work in Greenwich and in the Docklands.

Dick is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors and a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Carpenters. He has written two books on the subject of woodcarving as well as contributing regularly to the woodcarving press and also writing for the Grove Dictionary of Arts.

Fine Art alumnus Oli Epp, was presented with an Art School Honorary Medal in 2022, in recognition of his extensive work with alumna Nell Nicholas, in researching and preparing the Student Submission for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) from 2015 to 2016.  As the Art School’s first lead student representatives, Oli and Nell devised and led focus group meetings and summarised their findings in a detailed report submitted for the QAA Review in 2017. This was a considerable task undertaken in a voluntary and unpaid capacity.

Their approach demonstrated a generosity of spirit and determination to capture the student voice, and was particularly impressive because this project ran alongside their own intensive and highly successful studio practices.

Oli Epp’s paintings circulate a number of tragicomic aspects of 21st century living: the complexity of identity in the digital age, consumerism and consumption leading to control and addiction, anxiety and conflict. The paintings work in an endlessly cyclical way as Epp ironically questions idealisms, the pursuit of perfection, and the conflict that arises as a result.

Oli graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from City & Guilds of London Art School in 2017. He has exhibited internationally, founded the PLOP artist residency, and lives and works in London.

© 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.


Teresita Dennis was awarded the Art School Honorary Medal in 2022, in recognition of her exceptional work in establishing and effectively running the support services at the Art School, recognised as a model of good practice and commended by the Quality Assurance Agency. Her compassion, sound decisions, and immense dedication have been greatly appreciated by students and staff alike over the years.

Teresita has worked in the Art School as a Senior tutor in Fine Art since 1999. Her role as a support tutor began in 2007 and since then she has developed the department to encompass the changing needs of students, with a focus on enabling access to learning and promoting confidence and inclusion, in relation to their individual needs.

As Head of Access to Learning, Teresita is trained to support students with a variety of learning differences, alongside making course-based needs assessments, individual learning plans, reasonable adjustments, facilitating DSA applications, providing pastoral care and giving advisory information and advice regarding mental health and general wellbeing.

Dr Lois Rowe joined the Art School in 2022, following a successful career in Higher Education at the University of the Arts London (UAL), where she was Programme Director Fine Art and the Lead of Knowledge Exchange for Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts and Wimbledon College of Arts.

Alongside her career in Higher Education, Lois is a practising artist and researcher. Her art practice was shaped by an early career in theatrical costume design in Canada and Japan. Following a growing interest in textiles and soft sculptures, her work moved towards ‘animating’ her costumes and sculptures and her practice turned to producing and exhibiting film and video. Her work as an artist also involves writing and has focused on how art intersects with other disciplines, and she has published a series of written pieces on current cultural events.

Her academic career has led her to initiate active research partnerships with organisations around the world, such as Ars Electronica, in Austria, where she curated Spectacular Resonance, a showcase of UAL interactive works. Lois also engages in pedagogic research and has organised a joint conference with OCADU in Toronto called Worlding Landscape which considers the different ways that art and land ownership are entwined and how pedagogic strategies can decolonise canonised perceptions of landscape.

Following a Diploma in Theatre Studies at Dalhousie University, Lois gained her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art at Concordia University, Montreal. Moving to the UK, Lois took a Masters in Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art, and has subsequently been awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Management of Learning and Teaching, and a PhD at Goldsmiths College, London.

Fine Art alumna Nell Nicholas, was presented with an Art School Honorary Medal in 2022 in recognition of her extensive work with alumnus Oli Epp, in researching and preparing the Student Submission for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) from 2015 to 2016.  As the Art School’s first lead student representatives, Oli and Nell devised and led focus group meetings and summarised their findings in a detailed report submitted for the QAA Review in 2017. This was a considerable task undertaken in a voluntary and unpaid capacity.

Their approach demonstrated a generosity of spirit and determination to capture the student voice, and was particularly impressive because this project ran alongside their own intensive and highly successful studio practices.

Nell Nicholas is a visual artist and musician. Her practice revolves around drawing, collage and paintings which she uses to investigate the relationship between people and their surroundings. Usually painting on a large scale, she creates interior scenes rich in details and layers. Every object on the canvas seems to have its own story – artworks, furniture, ancient vases, tapestry – everything tells the story of someone who isn’t represented in the paintings.

Nell graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art from City & Guilds of London Art School in 2018. She also studied at Falmouth University and University College London. Nell lives and works in London.

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

The Art School is delighted to once again take part in Lambeth Heritage Festival, which runs throughout September.

The Art School’s Director of Resources and Operations, Nick Rampley, who has recently completed an MA in Public Histories, will be giving a talk entitled “Seven turkeys, five sucking pigs, and three miniatures” – A History of Lambeth’s own Art School,  City and Guilds of London Art School…

This illustrated talk tells the story of City & Guilds of London Art School from its 1854 foundation as the Lambeth School of Art, providing instruction to working artisans, to its present day place as a highly regarded, distinctive, higher educational institution.

The talk takes place on Wednesday 7 September 2022, 3.30pm – 4.30pm, at City & Guilds of London Art School. Entry is free and everyone is very welcome!

Tickets can be booked via the Festival’s event page at

Attendees may also like to visit our MA Show 2022 which takes place in the Art School’s studios on Cleaver Square and Kennings Way from Saturday 3 September until Sunday 10 September. Please check our event page for open times. We look forward to seeing you at the Art School soon!


Professor Norman Ackroyd CBE RA ARCA was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the Art School in 2022, in recognition of his tremendous work redesigning the Art School’s Print Room, and for his advisory role spanning over 27 years, establishing the Print Room as a thriving centre for teaching and practice. Norman’s generosity in supporting an annual graduate prize and offering a masterclass to raise funds for the Print Room are also testament to his longstanding commitment to support and promote the Art School’s work. The fellowship is also awarded in recognition of Norman’s significant achievements as an artist and his important contribution to UK culture.

Norman Ackroyd attended the Leeds College of Art and then trained at the Royal College of Art where he studied under Julian Trevelyan. He produces works in a range of media but is most prolific in etching and is one of Britain’s most famous contemporary printmakers.

Born in Leeds, his love of landscape was nurtured by long boyhood bicycle rides in the Yorkshire Dales. He will take ink, plate and acid into the field in order to, as he puts it, get to the root of ‘the things that stirred me’. The metal plate can be worked on directly, the acid painted on as if a watercolour, and the ‘bite’ stopped by a quick rinse in a stream or a wipe on the wet grass, giving a freedom and immediacy which produces truly captivating images.

Norman has won a number of awards for his work: the South East States Open Exhibition, Carolina, USA in 1969, the Bradford International Print Biennale in 1972 and 1982, the Royal Society of Etchers and Engravers in 1984 and 1985, and the Frechen Triennale, Germany in 1986. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1988, was made Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 2000 and was made CBE for services to engraving and printing in 2007. He lives and works in London.

Photo credit: Angus Blackburn

Sandra Smith, the Head of Collection Care at the British Museum, was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the Art School in 2019 in recognition of her support for the Art School’s Conservation Department through her role as external consultant during the re-validation of the Conservation courses in 2016 and her contribution as an industry expert during the Art School’s 2017 Quality Assurance Agency Review.

Prior to taking up her new post at the British Museum in 2019, Sandra was Head of Conservation and Technical Services at the Victoria & Albert Museum, with an overview of the long-term care of collections including contemporary design. During her 16-year tenure, she fostered research into the conservation and preservation of modern materials and the associated development of conservation practice to ensure the Victoria & Albert Museum collections would be accessible to future generations.

Sandra has also taken a leading role in the development of the conservation profession as the Co-ordinator of the Ceramics and Glass working group of ICOM-CC, participating in working groups within ICON to develop career opportunities and education strategies in conservation. She was the Senior Judge of the Nigel Williams Award for over 15 years, was Treasurer of IIC and ICON and is a Trustee of the Gabo Trust and Vice president of IIC. Sandra is an accredited conservator and Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation (IIC) and the Society of Antiquaries (FSA).

Professor Roger Kneebone was named the Art School’s first Honorary Fellow in 2017, in recognition of his commitment to stimulating cross-disciplinary dialogue in order to foster new and innovative ways of thinking and approaches to disciplines, in the arts, science and beyond.

Professor Kneebone is a clinician and educationalist who jointly leads the multidisciplinary Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science and the Centre for Performance Science at Imperial College London, where he is Professor of Surgical Education and Engagement Science. His innovative work on contextualised simulation builds on his personal experience as a surgeon and a general practitioner, and his interest in domains of expertise beyond medicine. Roger has built an unorthodox and creative team of clinicians, computer scientists, design engineers, social scientists, artists, performers and prosthetic experts.

Roger has an international profile as an academic and innovator and from 2013 to 2016 was a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow. He publishes widely and speaks frequently at national and international conferences. His book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery was published as a Penguin paperback in 2021. Roger is especially interested in collaborative research at the intersections between traditional disciplinary boundaries and brings his considerable knowledge and insight to thinking on art and the nature of craft. Since 2019 Roger has been the fourteenth Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he is exploring how artists, doctors and scientists perceive the human body. And he hosts a fortnightly podcast, Countercurrent, in which he invites scientists, artists, musicians, clinicians, craftspeople and writers to take part in free-flowing discussions.

Further information is on Roger’s website:

In 2018, Rosy Greenlees OBE, was awarded the title of Art School Honorary Fellow for her tireless work championing craft and making throughout society and in education.

In November 2023 Rosy was appointed Chair of the British Ceramics Biennial.

Rosy was Executive Director of the Crafts Council from 2006-2022. A national organisation promoting the value of craft and making to society, the Crafts Council has supported thousands of makers through its resources and support programmes; brings high quality craft to the public through its exhibitions, Collection and events; and campaigns for re-instating craft education in schools.

Rosy spent her early career as a curator in regional galleries and on major public art projects before taking up senior management roles as Head of Visual Arts and Media and Deputy Chief Executive at Eastern Arts Board; Cultural Strategy Manager responsible for the Mayor of London’s first culture strategy; and founder Director of the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise, a HEI partnership, now known as the Culture Capital Exchange (TCCE).

She has also served on various advisory bodies including the Bristol and Bath Design Research Project, the Creative Industries Council and was President of the World Crafts Council (WCC), a non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting and supporting makers and artisans. Rosy is currently a board member of Creative and Cultural Skills and the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange led by TCCE.

Robin Holland-Martin was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow of City & Guilds of London Art School in 2022, in recognition of his exceptional work for the Art School over 18 years, as well as his considerable contribution to wider society and culture through his work supporting numerous other institutions since the 1960’s.

Robin was the Chair of the Art School’s Board of Trustees for 16 years, during which time, along with others, he helped steward the Art School through many important challenges and developments including aligning the Art School’s structure with changing regulations and an ambitious programme of renovations and enhancements of the Art School’s studios and facilities, known as the ‘Masterplan’.  The work carried out during the Masterplan has transformed the student experience at the Art School and allowed the development and extension of the range of specialist programmes provided here.

In addition to his significant role at the Art School, Robin was on the Advisory Board for the Victoria & Albert Museum for 11 years and then, having helped to press for the changes, the Museum was converted to a Trustee status and he joined the first Board of Trustees as Deputy Chairman between 1983 and 1985.  He was also on the Visiting Committee for the Royal College of Art for 11 years and was a non-executive director of the Fine Art Society for 23 years.

Alongside the considerable support he has given to the Arts and medical charities, Robin managed a career in corporate finance and investment, after which he joined, in 1999, the Court of the Fishmongers’ Company (Prime Warden in 2010/11), where he continues, taking a particular interest in their involvement in the Arts.

The Art School is very excited to announce the launch of its brand new National Saturday Club, starting Saturday 8 October 2022!

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. The nationwide programme aims to develop young people’s skills, nurture their talents and encourage their creativity in a range of creative subject areas.

Teens who enrol onto the Art School’s Saturday Club will use traditional skills to make a series of hand-crafted artworks with a contemporary twist! Participants will design their own coat of arms, featuring objects and symbols that demonstrate what’s most important to them, such as their pet dog, favourite trainers or mobile phone. Over the course of the Club, they’ll learn an exciting range of techniques including etching, casting in plaster, gilding with gold leaf onto glass and carving in wood, plus they’ll take part in a Masterclass with a leading industry professional. Their final piece will be exhibited in the Club’s Summer Show at Somerset House. Find out more here.

The Saturday Club takes place on Saturdays at the Art School in Kennington, London, from 8 October 2022 to June 2023, with breaks during the Art School’s holiday periods. There will also be one study trip to a museum or gallery in London during the first term. The Club is FREE to join and includes tuition time and materials.

Applications for the Art School’s Saturday Club are open now! To apply, head to our Club page on the National Saturday Club website and click the ‘Apply for the Club’ button. All applications are welcome and priority will be given to applicants who reside or study in Southwark or Lambeth.

We can’t wait to welcome our first Saturday Club members very soon!

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



Chair of the Art School Board of Trustees until March 2019, Robin Holland-Martin was awarded the Art School Honorary Fellowship in April 2022 in recognition of his exceptional work for the Art School over 18 years (16 years and 7 months of that time being Chair) as well as his considerable contribution to wider society and culture through his work supporting numerous other institutions. He was on the Advisory Board for the Victoria & Albert Museum for 14 years, and on the Visiting Committee for the Royal College of Art for 11 years. He was also a non-executive member of the Fine Art Society for 23 years.

Principal of the Art School, Tamiko O’Brien said:

“The Trustees all give their time and expertise for free, which is quite frankly heroic, but to be Chair of the Board is to take on another level of commitment and responsibility. Robin Holland Martin was an incredible Chair and worked with great commitment to help steward the Art School through so many important challenges and developments. He was always dynamic, strategic, focussed, hyper vigilant, patient,  kind and supportive and in many ways he is an unsung (and unpaid) hero and we are delighted to recognise this with an Honorary Fellowship that is so richly deserved.”

The title of Honorary Fellow is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to art, craft, heritage or materiality, education or pedagogy. Honorary Fellowships have also been awarded to Professor Roger Kneebone Rosy Greenlees OBE, Sandra Smith and John Wigley.

Wood Workshop Fellow

Closing date:  18th September 2022 at 23:59 GMT 

Interviews: Week of 26th September 2022
Start Date: Early-mid October 2022

City & Guilds of London Art School is seeking applications for a 1 to 2 year Artist Woodwork Fellowship. The successful applicant will have a recent undergraduate/postgraduate qualification in Fine Art/ Sculpture, or equivalent experience, and demonstrate a commitment to 3D contemporary art practice that utilises wood or woodworking-based practices. The Wood Workshop is a dynamic learning space where students from across the Art School’s courses are introduced to and taught the processes involved in making and constructing with wood. The post offers a unique opportunity for an artist to develop their own practice in the context of the Art School’s Wood Workshop, working alongside artists and Technicians David MacDiarmid and Ana Kazaroff.


The Fellowship recipient’s responsibilities will include:

  • Being available in the Wood Workshop on average 1 day per week during term time
  • Participating in the support and supervision of students under the direction of the Workshop technician
  • Working within the Health and Safety protocols and guidelines of the Art School in general and the Wood Workshop in particular.


In return the successful applicant will receive:

  • Access to the Wood Workshop throughout the week to pursue their own practice
  • Training and experience in advanced technical aspects of woodwork, benefitting the applicant’s artistic practice and technical abilities
  • Experience of student supervision within a small scale supportive Art School environment
  • Knowledge and experience of safe working practices
  • An exhibition space and promotion as part of the MA and Fellows’ Fine Art Show at the Art School in September 2023.

Please download the Application Pack and submit by email to:

or deliver to: City & Guilds of London Art School, 124 Kennington Park Road, London, SE11 4DJ

Enquiries can be dealt with 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday

The Art School is delighted to welcome Professor Norman Ackroyd CBE RA ARCA, as it’s newest Honorary Fellow, a lifelong title which celebrates significant contributions made to the Art School by an external person, usually through achievements in art, craft, heritage or materiality and/or education or pedagogy.

The Honorary Fellowship recognises Norman’s redesign of the Print Room, and advisory role spanning over 27 years, establishing the Print Room as a thriving centre for teaching and practice. Norman’s generosity in supporting an annual graduate prize and offering a masterclass to raise funds for the Print Room are also testament to his longstanding commitment to support and promote the Art School’s work. The fellowship is also awarded in recognition of Norman’s significant achievements as an artist and his important contribution to UK culture.

Norman Ackroyd attended the Leeds College of Art and then trained at the Royal College of Art where he studied under Julian Trevelyan. He produces works in a range of media but is most prolific in etching and is one of Britain’s most famous contemporary printmakers.

Born in Leeds, his love of landscape was nurtured by long boyhood bicycle rides in the Yorkshire Dales. He will take ink, plate and acid into the field in order to, as he puts it, get to the root of ‘the things that stirred me’. The metal plate can be worked on directly, the acid painted on as if a watercolour, and the ‘bite’ stopped by a quick rinse in a stream or a wipe on the wet grass, giving a freedom and immediacy which produces truly captivating images.

Norman has won a number of awards for his work: the South East States Open Exhibition, Carolina, USA in 1969, the Bradford International Print Biennale in 1972 and 1982, the Royal Society of Etchers and Engravers in 1984 and 1985, and the Frechen Triennale, Germany in 1986. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1988, was made Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 2000 and was made CBE for services to engraving and printing in 2007. He lives and works in London.

Norman was presented with this Honorary Fellowship at the recent Degree Show Prize-Giving and Celebration afternoon, by Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, where he praised the Art School for its championing of hand skills and commitment to prioritising studio practice. He also expressed his delight that his approach to printmaking is continuing to be taught at the Art School through one of his former students, Jason Hicklin, the Art School’s Head of Printmaking.

The Art School’s other Honorary Fellows are: Professor Roger Kneebone; Rosy Greenlees OBE; Sandra Smith; Robin Holland-Martin.

The Art School is proud and delighted to announce the winners of our 2022 awards and prizes for continuing students.

Our suite of student prizes marks excellence and achievement shown throughout the academic year, with a cluster of accolades also awarded for outstanding competition entries. Once again, we have been extremely impressed with students’ work and the overall standard of competition entries and we thank all students for their continued hard work and dedication.

Our congratulations go to all the 2022 prize winners!


Artists Collecting Society Undergraduate Prize: Eddie Jones (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr2)

City & Guilds of London Art School Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize for a Conservation student: Savannah Grieve (BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces, Yr1)

Fishmongers’ Company Menu Cover Design Prize: Clive Bates (BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding, Yr2)

Painter-Stainers Scholarship Prize: Iris McConnell (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr1)



Brinsley Ford Travel Award: Jack Burtt (BA (Hons) Carving: Architectural Stone, Yr2)

David Ballardie Memorial Travel Award: Caroline Spang (BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces, Yr2)

Fishmongers’ Company Beckwith Travel and Scholarship Prize: Sophie Lloyd (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr2)

Idun Ravndal Travel Award: Vianne Furey (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr2) & Simona Orentaite (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr2)

Skinners’ Company Philip Connard Travel Prize: Rodrick Reid Schanche (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr2)



Printmaking Prize for Technical Excellence: Irene Burkhard (BA (Hons) Fine Art, Yr2)

Skinners’ Company Stephen Gooden Prize for Engraving: Anna Wenneker (BA Fine Art, Yr2)



Roger de Grey A5 Prize: Lily Lindsay (MA Fine Art, PT Yr2)

Surveyors’ Club Prize: Robert Postle (BA (Hons) Carving: Architectural Stone, Yr1)

Taylor Pearce Prize: Jack Langley (BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding, Yr2)

View the winners of the 2022 drawing prizes, plus all the brilliant entries.

We would also like to congratulate all our 2022 graduating student prize winners, who received their awards during their graduation ceremony on 28 June 2022.

A day of celebration of achievement took place on Tuesday 28 June as our final year Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation students graduated from the Art School in our annual Degree Show Ceremony and Prize Giving – one of the highlights of the year.

This celebratory event marks the start of the Degree Show which opens to the public today and continues until 5pm on Sunday 3 July. Open dates and times here.

The proceedings started with a welcome address from Jamie Bill, Chair of the Board of Trustees followed by Art School Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, who presented Professor Norman Ackroyd CBE RA ARCA, celebrated printmaker and artist, with an Art School Honorary Fellowship.

Professor Norman Ackroyd receiving an Art School Honorary Fellowship

Norman is awarded the Art School Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to the Art School through his re-design of our historic Print Room, his advisory role spanning 27 years and his significant contribution to UK art and culture.

A prestigious Art School Medal was presented to Senior Fine Art Tutor and Head of Access to Learning, Teresita Dennis, by Co-chair of Students, Theo Ritzinger. The Medal was presented in recognition of Teresita’s exceptional work in establishing and effectively running the support services at the Art School, which were recognised as a model of good practice and commended by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Teresita Dennis receiving an Art School Medal

Alumni Oli Epp and Nell Nicholas, also received Art School Medals, recognising their outstanding contribution to the Student Submission for the Quality Assurance Agency as the Art School’s first lead student representatives. This was a considerable task and was particularly impressive because this project ran alongside their own intensive and highly successful studio practices.


Nell Nicholas receiving an Art School Medal

The graduands were presented with their well-earned qualifications and prizes by each Head of Department. Chris Chivers, Master of the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers, presented the Joiners and Ceilers’ prize to Daniel Ponde, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding. Daniel also received the Master Carvers’ Carving Prize for a Final Year Student from Tony Webb, President of the Master Carvers Association. Alastair Wood, Master of the Worshipful Company of Masons, presented the Masons’ Company Prize for Outstanding Work by a Graduating Student to Steffan Lomax, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone, and the prize celebrating Studentship and Commitment to Imogen Long, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone.

Daniel Ponde with Tony Webb, President Master Carvers Association

A full list of prize winners can be seen below. We congratulate all the graduates and prize winners and would like to thank the generosity of our donors who support students through these awards.

The rousing 2022 graduands’ addresses were delivered by: Steffan Lomax, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone; Gaurav Gupta, BA (Hons) Fine Art; and Camilla Stafford-Deitsch, BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces. They congratulated their fellow graduands on their great achievements and thanked tutors, technicians and Art School staff for their tremendous support and dedication.

Graduands Steffan Lomax, Gaurav Gupta and Camilla Stafford-Deitsch

The graduating students will all be tremendously missed, but we look forward to hearing about their work and achievements in the very near future. Their outstanding works will be on display until 5pm on Sunday 3 July, and a visit is highly recommended.





Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table Award: Ieva Stradina, Adam Wilson (MA Carving), Steffan Lomax

City & Guilds of London Art School The Board of Trustees Prize: Eloise Etienne (BA (Hons) Fine Art)



Norman Ackroyd Etching Prize: Leonie Von Geyr (BA (Hons) Fine Art)



City & Guilds of London Art School Research Project Prize: Ieva Stradina

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize Practical Conservation Project Prize: Alannah Hay

Michael Legg Prize for Conservation Research: Charlotte Jones

Venice in Peril Residency: Camilla Stafford-Deitsch, Alannah Hay



De Laszlo Stone Carving Prize for Outstanding Work: Steffan Lomax

De Laszlo Woodcarving Prize for Outstanding Work: Daniel Ponde

Joiner & Ceilers’ Prize: Daniel Ponde

Masons’ Company Prize for Outstanding Work by a Graduating Student: Steffan Lomax

Masons’ Company Prize for Studentship and Commitment: Imogen Long

Master Carvers Carving Prize for Final Year Student: Daniel Ponde

Neil Shannon Memorial Award: Morgan Edwards

Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize for a Carving student: Daniel Ponde

City & Guilds of London Art School Lettering Prize: Imogen Long



Baton Fine Art Prize: Kofi Perry

City & Guilds of London Art School Sculpture Prize: Poppy Keating

Chadwyck-Healey Prize for Painting: Gaurav Gupta



Brian Till Art Histories Thesis Prize: Imogen Long (BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone), Pear Nualak (BA (Hons) Fine Art)





City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to announce the appointment of Tom Ball as de Laszlo Lead Woodcarving Tutor in the Art School’s Carving Department. Tom graduated from our woodcarving and gilding diploma programme in 2008, and has taught on our undergraduate and postgraduate woodcarving courses since 2020. He will be in the post to welcome students to the Art School at the start of the new academic year.

Commenting on his new role, Tom said: “I’m honoured to be appointed as the Lead Woodcarving Tutor. Studying woodcarving and gilding at City & Guilds of London Art School changed my life and has provided me with a fulfilling and challenging career in the industry of carving. I look forward to passing on all I’ve learned in my experience so far and help students launch their own exciting career as carvers.”

Since graduating in 2008, 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.

Alongside this work, Tom runs his own carving workshop in the National Trust village of Coleshill where, alongside members of the National Trust team, he has developed carving courses for their craft skills centre. In 2021, Tom received the Master Carver Award From the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers.

Principal Tamiko O’Brien said of Tom’s appointment: We are all so delighted to have Tom join the Art School team in this important role. He is an outstandingly talented and skilled woodcarver and hugely experienced crafts professional. Besides this he has proven to be an excellent tutor,  able to motivate and empathise in equal measure.  He joins the Art School at an exciting moment with a much deserved increase in interest in our woodcarving courses and new outreach initiatives set to champion this unique and fascinating subject area.

We are grateful to the de Laszlo Foundation for their support of the Art School’s Carving department and are pleased to recognise their ongoing generous support through the continued naming of this post.

We have a few places available on BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding to study in 2022/23. Find out more about the course and how to apply here >


1  Chapel Ceiling at Lincoln College, Oxford – The project involved the removal, carving repairs and regilding of the Chapel ceiling.

2&3  Grinling Gibbons carving at Trinity College Chapel, Oxford – Tom removed, re-finished and repaired the exquisite carvings and replaced all damaged and missing sections.

4  National Trust, Coleshill Estate main entrance – The two busts of Roman Emperors, originally stolen in the 1980’s, were carved and replaced.


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)

We are delighted to announce that our Degree Show 2022 will open on Wednesday 29 June until Sunday 3 July and takes place in the Art School’s elegant Georgian and Victorian studio space.

The Degree Show 2022 is an exhibition of the outstanding work of the 2022 graduates from our undergraduate Fine Art, Conservation and Historic Carving programmes.  These students demonstrated exceptional commitment, resilience and creativity during the pandemic, and we are very proud to be showcasing their work.


BA (Hons) Fine Art
Graduate Diploma Arts: Fine Art
BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces
BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding
Graduate Diploma Arts: Carving
Diploma of Higher Education: Woodcarving & Gilding


Wed 29 June, 11:00 – 18:00
Thur 30 June, 11:00 – 18:00
Fri 1 July, 11:00 – 20:00
Sat 2 July, 10:00 – 17:00
Sun 3 July, 10:00 – 17:00


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

We look forward to seeing you at the Art School!

For Degree Show updates, visit our Show event page, and subscribe to our mailing list for invitations to all our events.

City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Lois Rowe as the new Principal of the Art School, as Tamiko O’Brien steps down from the role. Lois will commence her appointment from September 2022, welcoming students at the start of the new academic year.

Lois joins the Art School following a successful career in Higher Education at the University of the Arts London (UAL), where she has been Programme Director Fine Art and the Lead of Knowledge Exchange for Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts and Wimbledon College of Arts.

Commenting on her appointment at the Art School, Lois said: “I am immensely honoured to serve as the next Principal of City & Guilds of London Art School. As an artist who has lived, worked, and studied globally across Fine Art as well as Applied Art contexts, I can speak to the Art School’s outstanding reputation as a significant contributor to contemporary art and material cultures. It will be a privilege to work with our whole school community, to build on the rich history and legacy of the school, to further grow your communities, to share our ideas, and to discover even more opportunities to contribute to London’s economic, cultural and environmental future.

Alongside her career in Higher Education, Lois is a practising artist and researcher. Her art practice was shaped by an early career in theatrical costume design in Canada and Japan. Following a growing interest in textiles and soft sculptures, her work moved towards ‘animating’ her costumes and sculptures and her practice turned to producing and exhibiting film and video. Her work as an artist also involves writing and has focused on how art intersects with other disciplines, and she has published a series of written pieces on current cultural events. Her academic career has led her to initiate active research partnerships with arts and educational organisations around the world and her research has led to organising a joint conference in Toronto exploring how pedagogic strategies can decolonise canonised perceptions of landscape.

Following a Diploma in Theatre Studies at Dalhousie University, Lois gained her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art at Concordia University, Montreal. Moving to the UK, Lois took a Masters in Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art, and has subsequently been awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Management of Learning and Teaching, and a PhD at Goldsmiths College, London.

The Art School’s Chair of Trustees, Jamie Bill, said of the appointment: “We are delighted that Dr Lois Rowe will be joining The Art School as our new Principal. Lois has a wealth of experience in Arts Education and an exceptional track record in the sector. Her commitment to the student experience makes her eminently qualified for the role and will be invaluable in continuing the work of her predecessor, Tamiko O’Brien, in building the achievements and reputation of the School.”

Tamiko O’Brien joined the Art School as Principal in 2014 and during her eight years in the role has worked to further develop its outstanding reputation, firmly positioning it in the forefront of contemporary fine art and historic craft education. Commenting on the appointment of Dr Rowe as Art School Principal, Tamiko said: “This is an important moment for the Art School as we move on from the significant challenges caused by the pandemic with a new strategic plan and exciting initiatives. I am confident that the Art School will continue to thrive and evolve under Dr Lois Rowe’s leadership and that the wonderful Art School team will enable her to quickly grasp the full potential of this unique and extraordinary institution”.

The Art School very much looks forward to welcoming Lois into her new role and wishes Tamiko all the best in her future endeavours.

The Art School wishes to thank Minerva for their generous support.

The Art School was delighted to take part in London Craft Week 2022, with a two-day event held on Friday 13 May and Saturday 14 May. The event was a huge success with over 100 visitors coming through the Art School’s doors.

The activities marked the launch of our 2022-23 research platform, Material Matters: Paper, and visitors were treated to a range of paper demonstrations conducted by students and tutors on our specialist courses.


From top: Globe conservation techniques by Jonathan Wright (Graduate Diploma Arts: Conservation of Books & Paper student); Illuminations and gilding on paper by Sarah Davis (Drawing & Woodcarving Tutor),  Faux wood and stone finishes on paper and origami techniques by Yuki Aruga (2021/22 Painter Stainers’ Decorative Surfaces Fellow); The versatility of handmade paper in 2D and 3D forms by Angela A’Court (MA Art & Material Histories Student); Bookbinding techniques by Emily Stuart and Masha Ivenelo, First Year BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper Students.

A series of one-hour ‘blind printing’ workshops was held in our Print Room, led by Print Fellow Kristina Chan. Blind printing is the traditional intaglio print process without the ink, so participants left the workshop with beautiful embossed artwork, but no inky fingers!


Throughout the two days, our wood and stone carving students took part in our ever-popular carving competition. This year the theme was Fables in the style of Grinling Gibbons in honour of the master carver’s Tercentenary.

We were delighted to welcome Professor Philip Ogden, Trustee of the Grinling Gibbons Society and past master of the Drapers, to judge the competition. Visitors were also invited to vote for their favourite carving.


Stone carving 1st place – Stefan Lomax, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone, yr 3

Stone carving 2nd place – Jack Fonseca-Burtt, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone, yr 2

Woodcarving 1st place – Judith Letchford, Gradudate Diploma Arts: Woodcarving

Woodcarving 2nd place – Jo Grogan,  BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding, yr 2

The William Wheeler People’s Choice Award – Max Reynolds, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding, yr 1

The Peer Prize –  Judith Letchford, Gradudate Diploma Arts: Woodcarving and Christopher Nayler, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone, yr 2

Woodcarving student, Mihail Rizea, received an Honourable Mention, and was chosen by tutors.

Stone carving 1st place – Stefan Lomax; Stone carving 2nd place – Jack Fonseca-Burtt

Woodcarving 1st place and The Peer Prize – Judith Letchford; Woodcarving 2nd place – Jo Grogan

The William Wheeler People’s Choice Award – Max Reynolds; The Peer Prize – Christopher Nayler

Honourable Mention – Mihail Rizea

Congratulations to all the winners for their well-deserved awards!

Visitors on Saturday were invited to ‘have-a-go’ at stone carving, always a popular pursuit, and Fabal lager offered an informative Talk and Tasting, featuring their celebrated English produce.


Art School Students and tutors who took part, had a really enjoyable two days and if you visited us, we hope you had an interesting and illuminating experience! Look out for details of our London Craft Week event in 2023 and we hope to see you then.

With thanks to the generous support of the Masons’ Company,  Dick Onians, the Carpenters’ Company, Fabal Lager and Pierre Heritage GB stone suppliers.


The Art School has launched its first blended-learning course, commencing in September 2022.

The existing MA Art & Material Histories programme has been carefully remodelled so it can be delivered both online and in-person at the Art School, providing a widely accessible and flexible course that can be studied alongside other commitments, by students based outside London or further afield.

The research-based MA Art & Material Histories has a distinctive focus on the links between art and its material, critical and historical contexts, and focuses on students’ own research questions related to Art and its materials. Alongside others on the course, students will engage in learning through live, online seminars and tutorials, with regular opportunities for online discussion and feedback.  During the in-person periods of study at the Art School, comprising 1 week at the start of the course, 1 week in the spring and a further 3-week period leading up to the final exhibition, students will take part in a series of hands-on workshops, material enquiry, and site visits to a selection of London’s significant galleries and museums.

This blended-learning course is aimed at anyone who has recently completed undergraduate studies and wishes to foster a deeper understanding in a chosen research subject or who wants to return to sustained research after a period focusing on professional practice.

The new MA Art & Material Histories course is now recruiting for study in 2022/23. To learn more about the course, we recommend registering for an online open day with Head of Art Histories, Tom Groves. To download a course application form, please visit the Apply page on our website.

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.


Wednesday 18 May – Saturday 21 May 2022, 10am – 5pm

We are delighted to invite you to visit the Foundation Show 2022, a celebration of the outstanding work of our 2022 graduates studying Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.

During this year of exploration, students have interrogated and extended their art practice and created an impressive body of work, soon to be displayed in the end of year show.

We hope to see you at the Show!

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.

The Trust of the Worshipful Company of Educators last week announced the winners of its 2021-2022 awards for outstanding educators.

The Chairman of the Trust, Dr Jennifer Somerville, was delighted with the response to the call for nominations:

“It is quite remarkable that, despite the organisational and financial challenges forced upon organisations by Covid, they have continued not only to deliver educational programmes but also to reach such high standards of creativity and innovation.”

The Art School is delighted that tutor Sarah Davis (Drawing & Conservation, Woodcarving) will receive the Award for Art & Design 2022 with a bursary towards professional development, recognising her as an inspirational educator in this field.

Congratulations Sarah!

Sarah teaching first year students on our BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper course. The module 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.

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.

We are delighted to announce our new drawing and painting summer short course, just added to our Summer School 2022 collection.

Devised by critically-acclaimed artist Kate Dunn, Drawing and Painting: Figuration to Abstraction, 18-22 July 2022, is an immersive course, ideal for anyone who is new to art or has been practising as an artist or designer for some time.

Using historical examples as a jumping off point, we will investigate technique, process and materials, enabling participants to discover or extend their creative practice.

We will cover both classical and contemporary approaches to drawing. From observational skills related to Kate’s classical training in Florence, to material and drawing processes and techniques that challenge and test aspects of space, composition and material expression.

Artworks by Kate Dunn: Venus Cast Drawing, 2015; Detail, keep the fire burning, 2021

We’ll use a range of materials like charcoal, sandpaper, tape and nails and learn how to use colour, making a series of painting sketches. Our final exploration will question whether we should observe or break the rules of composition in our artwork. We’ll learn how to work abstractly, looking at how we concern ourselves with the placement of forms, shapes, marks and colours.

At the end of the week, participants will have a selection of their own studies and artworks reflecting their creative journey, and new artist’s skills to continue practising at home. And thanks to our small class size, each student will receive all the support and guidance needed.

Follow the link to find out more & book a place.

Our full Summer School 2022 programme is listed below.

Behind the Scenes with the Conservators FULL
5-7 July 2022 (3 days)

Etching Fundamentals
4-8 July 2022

Lettering in Stone 2 PLACES LEFT
4-8 July 2022

Gilding and Verre Églomisé
4-8 July 2022 or 11-15 July 2022

Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving 
4-8 July 2022 or 11-15 July 2022

Observational Drawing: Focus on the Figure
11-15 July 2022

Stone Carving for Beginners 
11-15 July 2022 or 18-22 July 2022

Bas Relief Modelling in Clay
18-22 July 2022

Drawing and Painting: Figuration to Abstraction
18-22 July 2022

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.


The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the Art School’s activities since March 2020. Trustees, Senior Management Team, and staff have been pro-active in responding to the ongoing situation with our highest priority being the need to maintain the high standards we are known for and that our students expect and deserve – not least to ensure our students have been able to thrive and fulfil their ambitions,  to secure their progression through their courses and on to employment or future study, and to uphold recruitment in order to avoid long term financial consequences. Despite the significant challenges, there have been many important achievements to celebrate:


Summer Term 2020 L-R: First year BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving student, Tom Buchanan, carving an acanthus bracket; BA Fine Art graduating student Polina Pak working from home; Charlotte Okparaeke (BA (Hons) Conservation) onsite treating the Joseph Wade Memorial for one of her final year projects.

We successfully put measures in place to move teaching online and progress students during the first lockdown. All undergraduate students were able to successfully complete their year in the Summer Term and graduate from their courses, while MA students who would normally have worked through the summer break returned for an additional term in the studios during Autumn 2020.

Thanks to the brilliant innovations of our teaching teams and our shared determination, throughout this time we achieved more than to simply cope with an unprecedented situation. We have seen how the teaching and support we put in place enabled students to thrive and exceed their own expectations during such a time of crisis.


Autumn Term 2020 L-R: New Books & Paper Conservation student in a bookbinding workshop; returning MA Fine Art Student in new studios created over Summer 2020; Third year BA Historic Carving: Stone student working on a lettering project.

In early September 2020 we welcomed new and returning students back to the Art School in stages for the Autumn Term and new academic year 2020/21. We were able to offer our students, the intensive studio-based learning experience that we are known for, and which is crucial for a depth of study in our specialist subjects. Meeting ongoing social distancing and safety rules which required adaptations to our facilities, extended opening hours and additional teaching, along with continued online delivery of certain curriculum elements such as Art Histories, enabled us to maximise on time in our studios, workshops and labs for all of our students. We were also pleased to be able to launch our new Books & Paper Conservation course with a full intake and with a new suite of bespoke studios created over the Summer months.

We launched a new Graduate Showcase website to celebrate and promote our students’ achievements during this time, that has proved to also be very helpful with our current recruitment activities. For our BA and MA Fine Art graduates of 2020 we have secured a for hire external exhibition venue, Barge House, on London’s Southbank for a joint exhibition this Summer. Our Carving graduates of 2020 were invited to show alongside their peers the 2021 Degree Show in August.

We worked hard to successfully maintain the levels of bursaries for students through external donors that continued to support well over a third of the student body to study with us.


Spring Term 2021 L-R: MA Art & Material Histories Students building a materials library collaboratively online; The Fine Art Department welcomed Alumna Flora Yukhnovich back to speak as part of a series of professional practice sessions; Gilding projects are being taught online with kits delivered to Conservation students.

Following a very successful Autumn term back at the Art School, we were unfortunately, and at very short notice, unable to reopen for the Spring term in January 2021 due to new government lockdown regulations. In order to best support our students at the time, and to keep them safe, teaching moved back online for the term. On 8th March 2021 we were pleased to be able to open the studios for students to access.

Collaborative transcription projects on Gozzoli & Brueghel, delivered online by tutor Kim Amis to second-year Historic Carving students over 12 days.


The 12th April 2021 saw the beginning of the extended Summer Term with the full schedule of tutorials, teaching and workshops resuming on campus, with necessary Covid-19 testing and safety measures in place. With our commitment to hands-on teaching and practice-based focus we determined to extend each course to allow for the essential studio and workshop-based teaching and development, for example the BA academic year was extended from June through to mid-August.


We were proud to celebrate the outstanding work of our 40+ 2020 Fine Art BA and MA graduates who were unable to present their work in a physical show in Summer 2020 due to the pandemic. The Art School hired the Bargehouse on London’s Southbank, a well-regarded arts venue with its extraordinary powerful post-industrial spaces. The largescale group exhibition featured a diverse range of artworks, providing an important opportunity to showcase the year groups work as a launch pad for their professional practice and to celebrate their achievements.


We were thrilled to also be able to run our Summer School in July 2021, having no choice but to cancel in 2020. We welcomed participants to step inside, and explore craft, art and conservation skills with our expert tutors.

Thanks to the generous support of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, a number of grant-funded places on our historic craft-focused courses were given to young people aged 18-25. The scheme is aimed at engaging young people with historic crafts, specifically facilitating the participation of those who would otherwise be unable to fund their place and where aspirations to study at a higher level may need direct encouragement and facilitation.


2021 BA Fine Art graduate, Augusta Lardy, was one of the ten winners of the 2021 Freelands Painting Prize.  The Prize celebrates outstanding painting practice at undergraduate level with an annual exhibition and publication. Winners are selected by judges from proposed students from Art Schools across the UK.


Nine of our Historic Carving students and recent graduates were shortlisted for the Grinling Gibbons 300 Award, a national competition for emerging carvers established to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of the ‘Michelangelo of woodcarving’ Grinling Gibbons. The winners were revealed in early August at Bonham’s and our students and alumni won five of the six prizes including the first prize.


The extended summer term enabled our undergraduate students across our Fine Art, Carving and Conservation courses to achieve their ambitions and our Degree Show in August was a testament to their hard work but also to our unusual decision. Where the majority of higher education providers did not extend the academic year, we were determined to remain true to our mission and ethos as a centre of excellence. The exhibition was profound and joyful and the external examiners spoke in the highest terms of how well we had supported our students during this time, how impressed they were with the student outcomes and with the Art School’s integrity and commitment.


We are absolutely delighted to have Nick join our team, he has a most impressive track record, previously having been Vice Principal at Morley College and clearly has the experience and skills to excel in all the aspects of this complex new role. As well as his professional abilities and accomplishments his deep commitment to widening access for education in creative practice fits well with the Art School’s ethos and ambitions.


We were so pleased to have welcomed more than 100 UK and international delegates to the Material Matters: Clay online symposium, and received some wonderful feedback about our speakers. Recordings of the presentations are now available to view on the Art School’s YouTube channel.

City & Guilds of London Art School’s research programme, Material Matters, sets out to explore a specific material through a range of approaches: from exhibitions to lectures; pecha kucha to symposia; and from commissioned essays to interviews. Clay was the focus of the Material Matters programme for 2020/21. Previous materials explored were wood (2017) and pigment (2018/19).

MA SHOW 2021 – OCTOBER 2021

Featuring artworks from over 30 exhibitors, the MA Show 2021 at City & Guilds of London Art School was a celebration of the outstanding work of our postgraduate Fine Art, Art & Material Histories and Carving students.

The exhibition was postponed from early September to late October to accommodate an extension to the term.


The Art School welcomed new and returning students for the Autumn Term and new academic year 2021/22. We continue with social distancing, mask wearing, regular testing and safety rules to maintain a safe environment for staff and students to work and study.

We are currently developing our new five-year strategic plan which looks carefully at the Art School’s potential to develop and grow, with long-term sustainability and social impact in mind.

The Trustees’ and Executive’s utmost priority is to secure the funding needed to move ahead and to stem any further weakening of the Art School’s financial position created by the pandemic, ensuring that we avoid creating a negative financial legacy holding back and undermining our progress in the years ahead.

The Art School was delighted to find out recently that MA Conservation student, Louise Davison, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of The Institute of Conservation (Icon) as an emerging professional. Congratulations Louise!

Icon brings together people with a passion for the care of cultural heritage and champions excellence in the profession, promoting the value of heritage. Trustees of the charity support Icon to achieve their strategic aims and deliver public benefit, having an impact on the conservation profession and on society as a whole.

Louise told us that as an emerging professional, she is keen to use her Trusteeship to ensure the perspectives of those entering the profession and in the early stages of their career, are voiced and shared.  She also plans to use this opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion in the conservation sector, raising awareness of the profession and opening opportunities to a wider audience.

Louise completed the BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces in 2021 and is currently studying on our MA Conservation course. One of her BA final year projects was to carry out repairs and conservation works on Thomas Brock’s bust of Frederic Leighton, part of the collection at Leighton House. The plaster bust was discoloured and the surface layer had deteriorated. A large corner of the socle (the base of the sculpture) had also broken off and a wire fixing tied around the base needed to be carefully removed.

Thomas Brock’s bust of Frederic Leighton, Leighton House. Image credit: Leighton House

In order to fully assess the deterioration and damage on the bust, Louise carried out in-depth analysis including examination under ultraviolent light, testing of fluorescence and microscopy. Before re-attaching the piece of broken base, Louise thoroughly tested various fill materials and types of adhesion to best mimic the original materials used, and concluded that a mould of the detached piece should be cast with plaster of Paris, and rabbit skin glue used as an adhesive agent. The meticulous process of cleaning and stain removal from the surface followed and a carefully considered and tested collection of washes and paints used to bring overall cohesion to the colour of the surface.

A full interview with Louise about the conservation process carried out can be read on the Leighton House website. Leighton House reopens in the summer and the restored bust will be proudly exhibited in the new reception space.

During her MA Conservation, Louise is conserving an exquisite fireplace at the Jacobean Charlton House in London. The Vulcan and Venus fireplace is one of the oldest and grandest fireplaces in the House. Dating from around 1630, it is attributed to the sculptor Nicholas Stone who was appointed Master Mason to King James.

Little is known of any restorative or conservation treatments the fireplace has undergone over the years, except that the two figures of Vulcan and Venus were put back on their plinths after becoming dislodged during a bomb explosion in World War II.

Louise has conducted an initial condition assessment concluding that the fireplace is structurally sound but it exhibits a litany of damage and deterioration including losses, failed fills, discolouration, loose parts and additions of coloured paint.

Using mobile scaffolding to gain full access to the fireplace, Louise is initially treating the overmantel and then the lower part of the fireplace, mechanically removing additions, dirt, and failing fills and joints. She will stabilise mobile components, reattach losses, including Vulcan’s thumb, and dry clean the sculptures.

As well as carrying out this detailed conservation treatment plan, Louise will draw up a proposal for the ongoing care of the fireplace, with carefully curated instructions for appropriate house keeping, and hopes to be able to involve the local community in the long-term care and conservation of this stunning, historical piece.

Since graduating in the summer, Louise has been working on a variety of conservation projects with the conservation firm Taylor Pearce, including undertaking work at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Alongside the MA Conservation, Louise will continue with a paid internship at Maison Dieu in Dover, with Bainbridge Conservation and Icon, where she is working on the conservation of a nationally significant collection of civic furniture designed by acclaimed Victorian neo-gothic architect, William Burges. During the internship, Louise will be taking part in a series of pop-up workshops that will be open to the public.

Louise Davison on ITV Meridian News talking about her internship at the Maison Dieu

Louise said: “I am so excited to be working at the Maison Dieu. It’s a fascinating building and a great opportunity to work on William Burges’ furniture collection, and some really interesting paintings too.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting local people at the pop-up workshops which will give them an insight into how we conserve these incredibly significant items of furniture.”

We wish Louise every success in her Trusteeship at Icon and are looking forward to following her progress at Charlton House and the Maison Dieu.

We are looking for up to 4 Trustees to join the City & Guilds of London Art School Board following the scheduled retirement of a number of members of the board whose terms had come to an end. Please read the full details here: CGLAS_Trustees_Call for Applications

The Trustees are collectively responsible for the general control of the administration of the Art School charity. They ensure its effective governance, provide their expert knowledge and act as ambassadors, championing the Art School and its work. The role of Trustee should be a rewarding experience, providing an opportunity to make use of one’s skills and experience to make a difference.

Trustees are appointed for a term of three years, though may subsequently be re-appointed for a further two terms of three years. The Chair is Jamie Bill.

We seek candidates who share an enthusiasm and commitment for Higher Education in the arts but who can also bring diverse skills to help the Art School thrive and grow in an ever more challenging environment. We are especially keen to broaden the overall diversity of our Board.

For this recruitment we are particularly looking for Trustees experienced in and committed to fundraising, philanthropy, advocacy, diversity and widening access, along with, but not solely restricted to, the following specialist skills:

  • Widening participation, Community engagement

Involvement in the community life of SE London; the ability to connect CGLAS with its diverse locality and to bring wider voices more representative of contemporary London into the life of the Art School.

  • Finance and the City, Fundraising

Demonstrable senior level experience of investment management, or of financial management; good networks within the City of London; successful experience of fundraising.

  • Entrepreneurship and Digital, PR and Marketing

A strong track record in Digital Innovation and/or PR and Marketing, particularly in the Creative Industries; able to help develop an entrepreneurial spirit at the Art School.

  • Art market, Collecting, Curating, Conservation

Demonstrable experience in an area with synergies to CGLAS’s mission; a full understanding of the non-profit arts sector, conservation or contemporary art are particularly welcome.


The role will be primarily based at our main site in Kennington, provided that it is safe to do so and in line with government recommendations. International candidates are advised that travel expenses will not be reimbursed.

We hold five full Board of Trustees meetings a year, and Trustees are also encouraged to join one of the Board’s Sub-Committees or Working Groups. They are requested to attend a number of special events at the Art School during the year.

The Art School is committed to equality of opportunity and values diversity, seeking to actively encourage participation at all levels. Our Equality & Diversity Statement and Policy sets out our approach and can be found here. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates as they are under-represented within the Art School at this level

For more information, please see the Art School’s Management & Governance Handbook, ‘How We Work’.

For an informal conversation, please contact Jamie Bill, Chair of Trustees, or Dr Caroline Campbell, Chair of the Nominations Committee at

To make an application, please send to

  • a comprehensive CV, including details of two referees
  • a supporting statement, explaining how you believe your skills and experience match the requirements of the role

Deadline for applications: 5 April 2022

Interviews: late April/May 2022

My practice addresses notions of loss, longing and identity, by drawing on personal experiences and my mixed Japanese and British heritage. I take inspiration, visually and materially, from the traditional and the contemporary; from Japanese and European still life paintings and religious iconography of the 16th-18th century, Eastern philosophy and Japanese aesthetic principles, or by adopting techniques of the Old Masters to create paintings from digitally rendered collages.

The Art School’s 2022 Summer School programme launches today, with an early bird discount available until midnight on Tuesday 4 January 2022.

View the Summer School 2022 programme here.

The Summer School programme, which runs over a three-week period from 4-22 July 2022, is a collection of short courses for adults (18+), focusing on the historic craft skills and contemporary fine art skills taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Art School. These include observational life drawing; wood and stone carving; gilding; relief modelling in clay; etching and conservation of historic objects. All our courses are suitable for beginners, with several ideal for those with some experience too.

An early bird discount is available until 12-midnight on Tuesday 4 January 2022, giving art and craft enthusiasts an ideal opportunity to purchase a last minute seasonal gift for a loved one (or themselves of course!).




A memorial plaque celebrating the life and work of William Wheeler – founder of the Art School’s Restoration Department, the precursor to the current Historic Carving and Conservation Departments – was unveiled at the Art School recently.

The plaque was commissioned by William’s son, John Wheeler (a past Master of the Carpenters’ Company) and was designed and carved in Maple with oil gilding, by woodcarving and gilding alumnus, Jim Patrick.

The memorial plaque was unveiled at the Art School during an intimate gathering of three generations of the Wheeler family, members of the Carpenters’ Company and Art School Carving tutors and staff, past and present.

During the evening, John Wheeler gave a speech about his father’s life and Art School Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, spoke about William’s lasting legacy at the Art School. As well as admiring the new plaque, guests had the opportunity to view a selection of photographs reflecting William’s time at the Art School and a collection of his drawings.

William Wheeler (1895-1984), an ecclesiastical designer and carver, studied at the South Kensington School of Art Wood-Carving and the Central School of Arts and Crafts. After service in World War I, he continued his studies and taught at St George’s School in Harpenden. In 1932, he was appointed Art Director of Faith Craft in nearby St Albans until he left for war service in 1939. After World War II he became a Ministry of Labour inspector and assumed responsibility for the training of ex-servicemen as craftsmen to repair the extensive damage to architecture, monuments and treasures during the war. It’s during this time that William started the Restoration and Carving courses at City & Guilds of London Art School, where he held the position of instructor in carving, at least informally, for the rest of his career. He also continued work as a carver and served on the Council for the Care of Churches.

William’s legacy is still felt at the Art School today. City & Guilds of London Art School continues to play a crucial role in fostering and maintaining the endangered historic craft skills needed to preserve the nation’s architectural and cultural history. The Restoration and Carving Department, founded by William after World War II,  continues to thrive as the Art School’s renowned Historic Carving and Conservation Departments.

In 2019, our wood and stone carving diplomas were revalidated as BA and MA degrees, and provide the only carving qualifications at this level in the UK. In 2020, the Conservation Department extended its course provision to include the specialist area of books and paper conservation, thus ensuring the continuation of books and paper conservation training in London.

Woodcarving: the beginner’s guide‘ written by William Wheeler and Charles H. Hayward, continues to be an essential read for anyone learning this historic craft skill and it remains central to the teaching of woodcarving at the Art School. Indeed, there remains at the Art School a direct lineage from William Wheeler, through former tutor Dick Onians, to today’s carving tutors, who are passing on his knowledge and skills to the next generation of carvers.

Applications are currently open to study at the Art School in 2022/23, with online open days available for all courses. To find out more about the Art School’s wood and stone carving courses, click here. To find out more about the Art School’s Conservation courses, click here.


  1. Dick Onians, former woodcarving tutor; Jim Patrick, Diploma Ornamental Woodcarving & Gilding 2019; John Wheeler, son of William Wheeler, with the new plaque in memory of William Wheeler.
  2. The William Wheeler memorial plaque, commissioned by John Wheeler and designed and carved by Jim Patrick.


City & Guilds of London Art School is grateful to the Sir Denis Mahon Foundation for its continued support of a grant at the Art School, created in 2020 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 annual grant will be available annually until academic year 2022/23. It is open to submissions from second year BA Conservation, Carving and Fine Art students working with sculpture for use in their final year. They are invited to submit their applications (which should reflect Sir Denis’ studies, research and interests) to the Art School for the Grant and between one and three students will then be selected for recommendation to the Sir Denis Mahon Foundation for consideration.
In this second allocation, the Grant has been awarded to three particularly strong candidates, who will share the £5,000 grant.

MORGAN EDWARDS – Third Year BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
“I am making a transcription relief carving in the Baroque high relief style, specifically of an illustration from a Welsh fairy tales book by the late painter Margaret Jones.”

“I hope to challenge my current carving abilities by achieving a high-level representation of natural forms, such as the human figure, drapery, animals, water and vegetation, all in one scene. Thus, achieving a greater understanding of the techniques necessary to complete the notoriously difficult ‘rilievo’ form of carving (relief sculpture). In this carving I hope to draw the viewer in by depicting the leaves of the trees and water from the stream spilling over the edges of the scene and on to the frame work. This would aid the creation of an ‘all-encompassing’ and theatrical effect, giving multiple viewing angles and reaching out into surrounding space, which is essentially the definition of the Baroque style.”

ROBERT (BOBBY) HEFFERNAN – Third Year BA (Hons) Fine Art
“My project will be in two stages; one being a stage of making a loom, and the other will be producing large scale tapestries. I will make the loom from scratch as this plays a big part in my practise allowing me to understand the mechanics of weaving. Along with this, tools will be handcrafted from both wood and metal. These will be presented as works in themselves”

“The tapestries will be based around landscapes and will have a sense of the ever changing, unpredictability of nature.
Having recently travelled to Marrakech I was immersed in the diverse culture of craftsmanship that helped me understand the cultural significance of weaving. The techniques created by Berber and Moroccan artisans have been preserved over many centuries dating back to 1500 BC, which over the years have infiltrated into western culture. I want my work to hone in on and examine the exquisite masters of the past and bring those ideas to the forefront of what I do. I intend to use these techniques in my practise and further investigate my work by building a loom and weaving tools, such as bobbins and beaters, from scratch. The level of dedication and craftsmanship required will fully absorb me in the process of weaving and allow me to develop an understanding of historical traditions. I believe Sir Denis Mahon would have enjoyed the construction and my attempt to apply myself through every step of the process. I think from an art histories point of view, understanding African art and its significance in influencing western art and reflecting on those craft traditions would have been of interest to Sir Denis. Weaving is accessible globally as a craft and I’d like to contribute to promoting it further as a fine art form and I think Sir Denis Mahon would welcome this.”

IMOGEN LONG – Third Year BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
Imogen will carve a foliate relief sculpture of her own design. The carving is to be used as a stone lintel.
The design will be reminiscent of the Romanesque style, evoking the era when the portals of churches and cathedrals were carved with messages to those who passed beneath them about the coming of the Last Judgment and through this message urging them to review their conduct while on earth. This theme is developed to suggest that our current conduct on earth will lead to catastrophe and flood if we do not assess and change our behaviour and relationship with the planet, not in the next lifetime but in this one. The selected foliage specimens are therefore seaweed. In terms of shape and movement, seaweeds have a beguiling range of forms to explore. Their inherent form is further enhanced by the way in which they are acted upon by the movement of tidal water.

In her own words:
“Through carving the lintel, I hope to create a piece that is useful and beautiful, but which also goes beyond this to mean something to those who see it. The lintel will be of a size that is functional and could therefore be incorporated into a contemporary building. If the appropriate opportunity arose, it could also be installed in an existing building.
Sir Denis Mahon took a deep and serious interest in many aspects of art and had a particular period of painting – the Italian baroque – that became his life-long curiosity and study. At the time he became interested in it, it was not fashionable or well-researched. The Romanesque period had similarly been neglected in art history and only became the subject of scholarly study in the late nineteenth century, so he would have been aware of how the fates of different eras rise and fall in the contemporary academic and cultural world.
Mahon was an advocate of art being accessible for all. I hope that he would be thoroughly sympathetic to the idea of art adorning buildings, rather than hidden within them. The Romanesque portal carvings are an excellent example of this. I hope that the lintel project I am undertaking would also be something Sir Denis would believe to be worthwhile.”

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

The Art School’s research programme, Material Matters, explores specific materials used by artists, carvers, conservators and researchers on the Art School’s specialist courses. Having previously examined wood and pigment, the material currently under the spotlight is Clay.

In October, the Art School presented the Material Matters: Clay symposium, an online, one-day event featuring artists, craftspeople, art historians and other experts concerned with clay. The full programme list is available here.

Symposium presentation: Clare Twomey, British artist, “Making material: Processes and practice of a monumental work”


With over 100 UK and international delegates, we were delighted with the positive response the symposium received and pleased to hear some fantastic feedback about our speakers

A really interesting mix of practical and theory.”

“I came to the day with a practice already strongly linked to process and materiality, and the presentations gave me insights on how to fully embrace this and be braver! … I went away with lots of avenues to explore and research further.”

“To know the science of the structure of materials we use creatively feeds so much into the creative process.”

“It really stretched my thinking on clay from a scientific, fine art, craft, conservation and political perspective.

Symposium presentation: Dr Javier Cuadros, Natural History Museum, “What on Earth is clay?”


Recordings of many of the presentations are now available to view on the Art School’s YouTube channel and further resources related to the talks, including publication lists, journal articles and short films, can be accessed on our Material Matters website.

We wish to thank all the wonderful speakers who took part in the symposium and all those who attended throughout the day.

Symposium presentation: Emma Simpson and Tony Minter, “Matching and making: Brick selection for conservation repairs”


To mark the Material Matters: Clay symposium, the Art School has published a self-guided walking tour of London, taking in both notable and hidden examples of clay in architectural history. Designed by Art Histories Lecturer Dr Michael Paraskos, with artwork by Wood Workshop Technician, David MacDiarmid, the tour takes the historic collaboration between City & Guilds of London Art School (originally called Lambeth School of Art) and Doulton & Co. as a starting point, and takes in the Durning Library, Beaufoy Institute, the Doulton Factory, and Brunswick House. Crossing the river you can then learn more about Harrods, the Courtyard and Ceramic Staircase of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Royal Albert Hall.

Anyone interested in following the tour may download a pdf of the map and guide here.



Part of the Material Matters research platform, the Materials Foyer is a carefully-curated reference library in the heart of the Art School where students can learn more about what materials mean to conservators, carvers and artists, currently focusing on clay. The Materials Foyer includes work from students, tutors and alumni from our Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation departments. A detailed catalogue of the collection can be viewed here.

Further details of our Material Matters research programme can be found on our Material Matters website.


‘The Last Shift’, a beautiful, thought-provoking bas-relief sculpture by recent Art School graduate Dan Russell, has been donated for public display by the Freedom From Torture charity to the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust, in acknowledgement of the tremendous work of NHS staff during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dan Russell, who graduated from the Art School’s BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone course this year, designed and carved the ‘The Last Shift’ as one of his final year projects and exhibited the piece in the recent Degree Show.

Dan said: “I named this piece ‘The Last Shift’. My inspiration for this work has been the physicians, nurses and care staff that have been on the front line of the Covid outbreak, some of whom have sacrificed and lost their own lives. This life-size arrangement of the PPE (scrubs uniform and the respiratory protective mask) that physicians, nurses and care staff wear is carved in Portland stone.

Freedom From Torture (FFT) provide specialist psychological therapy to help asylum seekers and refugees who have survived torture, recover and rebuild their lives in the UK. The FFT Southeast London Support Group are raising funds to cover the costs of purchasing ‘The Last Shift’, and any additional monies raised will be given to the FFT Afghan Appeal.

‘The Last Shift’ is currently on display at The Studio, Linear House, Peyton Place, Greenwich SE10 8RS.

It can be viewed on Wednesday 17 November , 10:00-15:00 and on Thursday 30 November, 11:00-16:00. Anyone interested in hearing about the work being carried out by FFT to help Afghan refugees is invited to attend an open evening on Thursday 25 November.

For further details about Freedom From Torture, please visit and if you would like to donate to raise funds for ‘The Last Shift’, please make a transfer to the South East London Support Group’s bank account (Freedom From Torture, Sort Code 08-92-99 a/c 65529830. Ref: ‘’Last Shift”).



This November, 2020 SPAB Fellow Toby Slater, a carpenter and framer by trade, will take up a two-week placement in the Historic Carving Department at City & Guilds of London Art School. Toby’s time at the Art School will be spent learning ornamental woodcarving alongside our BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding students.

Meanwhile, our Historic Carving students look forward to visiting the SPAB’s Old House Project, in Boxley, Kent, this coming academic year to learn more about the Society’s work saving at risk buildings and to further contextualise their own learning through this live project.

The Art School is delighted that our two organisations are able to share and exchange knowledge and to promote the teaching of critical craft skills in the UK that are vital to maintaining our built heritage for the future.

The SPAB’s William Morris Craft Fellowship was founded in 1987 to address the shortage of craft skills and to champion the importance of craftspeople that carry out repairs. This unique annual scheme is designed to broaden the skills and experience of craftspeople from any trade who work in the repair of historic buildings. The programme gives Fellows the chance to travel countrywide together and learn on site from specialist craftspeople, architects, surveyors and others working in building conservation.

City & Guilds of London Art School was established in 1854 as a small, specialist college, dedicated to teaching the techniques of the specialist crafts and focused on developing skills required in the artisan manufacturing industries. Since then, it has evolved and expanded its educational programmes, offering an alternative approach to that provided in most other art schools on its programmes in Conservation, Historic Carving, Fine Art and Art & Material Histories. For over 165 years the Art School has played a vital role in passing on specialist craft skills and inspiring new generations of artists and makers, and offers the only Carving courses (wood and stone carving) validated to BA and MA level in the UK.

The Art School has long enjoyed good relations with the SPAB. For decades SPAB Fellows have benefitted enormously from time in the workshop with tutors Nina Bilbey, Mark Frith and then Head of Historic Carving, Tim Crawley.  A prime example of the synergy being Heather Griffith (above) who, after a placement at the Art School during her 2016 SPAB Fellowship, graduated in 2020 from the BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone course. With Heather Newton now in post as Head of the Department, well versed in hosting SPAB Fellows and Scholars at Canterbury Cathedral, the Art School looks forward to developing mutually beneficial relations with the SPAB for many years to come.





  1. Toby Slater, 2020 SPAB Fellow
  2. Heather Griffith, 2016 SPAB Fellow
  3. Sam Matthams, 2019 SPAB Fellow

Sophie studied at London Metropolitan University and has a BA Hons in Design Studies. She went on to work as a photographer for 15 years and specialised in portraiture. During that time she photographed a wide range of people from MPs to children. She taught photography to secondary school students as an enrichment subject for six years. She has also worked as a creative artworker. She designed a variety of printed material as well as electronic publications. In recent years she has been working with clay and experimenting with form.



2001-2004, BA Hons Design Studies, London Metropolitan University. London, UK.



2003-2018, Photographer, Sographia Photography, UK.

2010-2016, Photography Teacher, Hasmonean High School, UK.

2010-2016, Creative Artworker, Hasmonean High School, UK.

Nikkie Amouyal comes from a family of Italo-French artists in Fashion and Fine Art. In 1990 she got a BA (Hons) at the ECV in Paris and worked for over a decade as a Creative Designer in the Music Industry in Paris. Nikkie moved to London in 2000 to carry on her career on an international level. She started to work at Dewynters for the West End productions before joining Eagle Rock Entertainments for 14 years where Nikkie has created visuals for a very wide range of international artists. In 2010 she received a BVA Award for Best British Authored DVD and Design for her work with Monty Python.

From 2006 to 2009 she directed a monthly themed club night called Rockabaret. Rockabaret was dedicated to freedom of expression with glamorous extravagant rock parties held in London clubs involving live art performances.

Nikkie has been with the Art School since 2016 and has brought an added glamour to our daily life – she is also a most considerate and helpful addition to our technical team. She is delighted to be back to the roots of Art in a new career as a Conservation Studio Manager as well as Photoshop Teacher. She is committed to the success and safety of our Conservation students and ensures the smooth and efficient running of our Conservation labs and studios.



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.

We are excited to announce that the Art School’s second Material Matters symposium will take place online on Saturday 9 October, as part of London Craft Week 2021, and registration is now open – book your free place here!

Material Matters: Clay is a free online symposium that brings together artists, craftspeople, scientists and industry experts to consider both the history and contemporary uses of clay and is supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. 

Confirmed speakers include:

Symposium updates, will be posted on our Material Matters site, along with programme previews.

The Art School’s Material Matters research programme sets out to explore a specific material, on a bi-annual basis, through a range of approaches. Clay is the third material to be part of the programme and follows pigment and wood.

The Material Matters: Clay symposium is the programme’s second symposium and comes after the success of the Pigment symposium, held at the Art School in May 2019. The Pigment symposium featured speakers from a variety of specialist disciplines and backgrounds and considered pigments today within the broader context of their production and rich and varied pasts.

More information about the Art School’s Material Matters research programme is available here.

To register for your free place at the Clay symposium on Saturday 9 October, 10:00-17:00, click here.

We are very excited to announce our 2021 Degree Show opens it’s doors on Wednesday 18 August until Sunday 22 August, and you are invited to visit!

The Degree Show features the outstanding work of graduating students from our BA Fine Art, Carving and Conservation courses and promises to be a must-see exhibition for anyone interested in contemporary fine art, historic craft and heritage.

We are particularly proud to be presenting this Show during these extraordinary and disrupted times. The quality of the work on display is testament to our amazing students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment, resilience and creativity throughout the pandemic.

We ask visitors to wear a face covering inside the Show, sanitise your hands and keep a safe distance from others.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Degree Show very soon!


Wednesday 18 August, 11am–6pm
Thursday 19 August, 11am–6pm
Friday 20 August, 11am–9pm
Saturday 21 August, 10am–5pm
Sunday 22 August, 10am–5pm


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

Jo Grogan (BA Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding) with her Grinling Gibbons 300 Award entry

In July we announced that nine of our current Historic Carving students and recent graduates were shortlisted for the Grinling Gibbons 300 Award, a national competition for emerging carvers established to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of the ‘Michelangelo of woodcarving’ Grinling Gibbons, the product of a collaboration between the Master Carver’s Association and the Grinling Gibbons Society.

The winners of the Award were revealed yesterday evening at Bonham’s and we are delighted to report that our students and alumni won five of the six prizes!


Jo Grogan, CGLAS First year Student, BA Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding

Sarah Davis, CGLAS Alumna (2019) Diploma: Woodcarving & Gilding

Tom Buchannan, CGLAS Second year Student, BA Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding


Freya Morris, Moulton College

Alex Waddell, CGLAS Student, Graduate Diploma Arts: Carving

Tom Clark- Collins, CGLAS Alumnus (2018) Diploma: Architectural Stone Carving

Our huge congratulations to all the winners and finalists on their brilliant work and thanks to all the mentors at the Master Carvers’ Association and Art School tutors who worked with them to achieve such wonderful outcomes.

The Grinling Gibbons 300 Award is part of a year-long festival of nationwide events celebrating Gibbon’s life and legacy, including an exhibition ‘Centuries in the Making’ at Bonhams, that opened last night and included the announcement of the Grinling Gibbons 300 Award.

City & Guilds of London Art School is the only institution in Europe offering a BA & MA in Carving and is proud to play a part in continuing the legacy of Grinling Gibbons through its teaching of his work, ensuring specialist carving skills are embodied in a new generation of carvers and crafts people.

Interested in finding out more about our renowned wood and stone carving courses and generous bursaries for 2021/22? Book onto our in-person open day on 21 August, arrange an online chat with our Course Leader or contact us at


Jo Grogan, BA Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding

Sarah Davis, Diploma: Woodcarving & Gilding (2019)

Tom Buchannan,  BA Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding

Alex Waddell, Graduate Diploma Arts: Carving


Congratulations to Historic Carving students Emma Sheridan and Steffan Lomax, who have been selected to receive the 2021 Brinsley Ford Award, which promotes and recognises the practice of observational drawing and sculpture by funding a study trip to Rome.

The Brinsley Ford Award is run by a charitable trust established in honour of Sir Brinsley Ford CBE, the celebrated art historian and collector who held a fascination with The Grand Tour and 16th and 17th century Italian drawings and sculpture. It enables a second-year wood or stone carving student from the Art School to travel to Rome for at least three weeks in the summer break, to study sculpture at historic sites and museums, compiling a sketchbook and portfolio of drawings.  These drawings can be developed to form a carving project for their final year on the course.

As the Award couldn’t be allocated in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Brinsley Ford Charitable Trust kindly extended the Award to two deserving students this year.

Bust of a Girl, Emma Sheridan

Commenting on winning the Award, Emma Sheridan, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone, said: “I am very grateful for the chance to travel to Rome for three weeks with the sole purpose of drawing. The Brinsley Ford Award provides the opportunity for a valuable experience that I am sure will inform my further studies.”

Marinelli Philosopher, Steffan Lomax

Steffan Lomax, also studying on the Architectural Stone course, confirmed his delight at winning the Award and added: “I look forward to developing my drawings skills studying renowned works created by masters over thousands of years, with a particular focus on Hellenistic styled sculpture. The trip will be hugely beneficial to my third year studies, and beyond.”

George Edwards (Diploma Architectural Stone Carving, 2018) received the Brinsley Ford Award in 2017. Whilst visiting the Sperlonga National Archaeological Museum he was particularly inspired by a sculpture of ‘the wineskin bearer’ part of a series of Hellenistic sculptures that depict scenes from Homer’s Odyssey. Using his drawings and a cast of a similar Roman sculpture from the British Museum, George carved the head of the wineskin bearer for his final year project.

George said: “The time I spent in Rome was one of the best experiences of my life. Having never been to the city before, I was overwhelmed. I spent five weeks inspired by an abundance of art and architecture and finally getting to understand my subject much more clearly. My drawing improved so much during my trip. Having the time to ‘look’ was so valuable and has without a doubt had an enormously positive impact on my knowledge and skill.

We are looking forward to seeing how the study trip to Rome inspires this year’s recipients!

We have a few places on our wood and stone carving courses starting in autumn 2021, with generous grants and bursaries available to help fund course fees . If you’re interested in finding out more, book onto our in-person open day on 21 August, arrange an online chat with Heather Newton, Head of Historic Carving, or contact us at


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.



Shortlisted student Arielle Francis (BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding), with Alex Elinson (GradDip Arts: Carving)

2021 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of the renowned 18th century Master Carver Grinling Gibbons. A series of events, exhibitions and competitions is being held by the Grinling Gibbons Society as part of the tercentenary celebrations, including a national competition for emerging wood and stone carvers.

The Art School is excited to announce that nine of its current Historic Carving students and recent graduates have been shortlisted for the Grinling Gibbons 300 Award!

Shortlisted candidates have been paired with mentors from the Master Carvers’ Association to develop their designs for inclusion in the exhibition ‘Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the making’ celebrating his life, genius and legacy.  The exhibition will launch at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 3 August 2021 and conclude at Compton Verney from September 2021 to 30 January 2022.

Current Art School students in the short list:
Arielle Francis
Jo Grogan
Tom Buchanan
Alex Wadell

Art School graduates in the short list:
Silje Loa
Sarah Davis
Oscar Whapham
Tom Clark-Collins
George Griffiths

We wish all those shortlisted the very best of luck in the final judging in August!

Miriam Johnson (BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone 2019)

Congratulations also go to stone carving graduate Miriam Johnson, who has been named as the winner of a carving competition run by the Drapers’ Company for Art School students and alumni, also in celebration of the Grinling Gibbons tercentenary.

Candidates were asked to submit ideas for a memorial carving, in stone or wood, to be displayed in the Drapers’ Hall. Three finalists were chosen and asked to provide detailed specifications including processes, materials and site positioning of the final piece. After much deliberation, Miriam’s design for a stone cartouche to be sited in the garden on the exterior of the building, was selected as the winner and her final work will be unveiled on 3 November 2021. Congratulations to the two other finalists Wilfe Gorlin and Lara Domeneghetti.

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.

Iron, Copper, bronze and brass Manillas were used extensively as currency in West Africa from the 15th to the 20th Century and played a crucial part in the trading of enslaved people. Records show that in the 1490’s a West African slave cost about 12 to 15 manillas, and in 1522 a female slave aged 16 in Benin cost about 50 manillas.

Metal manillas were forged in the industrial cities of England and other European countries, carried by bearers into the African Interior and exchanged for slaves who were then transported to the Americas and the West Indies to work in the plantations producing sugar and cotton which was then shipped back to Europe and the UK. It is estimated that over a period of 400 years 12-12.8 million slaves were shipped across the Atlantic, 1.2-2.4 million of them died and were thrown overboard before they even reached the Americas.

This week, we were delighted to have the artist Karen McLean run a workshop with our Art & Material Histories students in which we explored the history and legacy of slavery and some of the many materials directly associated with it.

Karen’s research focusses on understanding the complex histories of enslaved people and the many acts of resistance that helped bring about Abolition in 1933. The workshop combined hands-on learning with listening and discussion and resulted in the casting of unsettlingly beautiful sugar manillas.

A huge thank you to Karen for an incredibly inspiring and educational day.




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.

Tuesday 22 June – Saturday 26 June, 10am – 5pm – book your viewing time here

We are very proud to present the exceptional work of our 2021 Foundation Diploma graduates, who have worked extremely hard this year, despite the constraints of the pandemic, to make an outstanding body of work.

The students have demonstrated an admirable commitment to exploring and extending their art practice, and have impressed their tutors with their enduringly positive attitude.

And we’re delighted that we are able to celebrate their achievements in this in-person show at the Art School, a wonderful way to mark the end of this challenging year!

In order to ensure your safety, and that of our students and staff, we have introduced a booking system for all visits to the show. You can book your viewing time here.

We hope to see you at the Show!


Thomas Merrett (b. Suffolk in 1987) is a sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker. He received his training at City & Guilds of London Art School and then the Florence Academy of Art.  Since 2017 he has been a member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors and since 2020 he has been represented by the gallery Crean & Company.

His work is in numerous collections, including the permanent collection of the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern (MEAM) in Barcelona. He has been awarded the International Founders Sculpture Prize in 2016 and in 2021 named as a finalist for the National Sculpture Prize 2021.

‘My work is centred around the human form, a fascination for anatomy and movement, and the challenge of portraying this in sculpture and drawing.  Through my work I aim to create a unique interpretation of the subject in front of me rather than just a skilful and literal replication of their likeness.

I create portraits and figures by reducing my sculptures to more basic forms. By this I do not mean simply abstraction, but an attempt to capture the subject’s character whilst moving beyond the physical anatomy of the human form.’


We are very proud to celebrate the outstanding work of our 2020 Fine Art graduates who were unable to present their work in a physical show due to the pandemic. This exhibition features a diverse range of artwork and approaches to contemporary practice.

If we require visitors to book viewing times to visit the Class of 2020 BA and MA Fine Art Graduates Show, we will add details here. Please check again closer to the time, and follow us on Instagram @cglartschool for updates.

Open 27 to 31 July 2021, 11am – 6pm

Admission free

Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH

July 2021

Friends of City & Guilds of London Art School,

We are running a fundraising campaign seeking your support as we emerge from one of the most challenging periods in living memory.

How to donate 
Donate by card or paypal
Bank Transfer

We know that you recognise the need for and importance of our work.  As the only Art School in Europe offering a BA and MA in Carving, the only institution teaching our Conservation specialisms at BA and MA level, and one of the few places where Fine Art BA and MA are taught with a focus on material enquiry and historical methods, with dedicated studio space and 1 to 1 teaching by experts, we are clearly an exception to the rule. We believe a very necessary exception, our ongoing determination and commitment ensuring that valuable intangible cultural assets will not be lost for the future.

The pandemic has left us with the need for an additional £250,000 to reach the end of the current financial year without a deficit. We are hugely grateful for the pledges that have already been made approaching £200,000, and we are now turning to our whole community to help us secure the balance, so we are able to move ahead with a future to look forward to.

The Art School’s response to the global health crisis over the past 14 months has more than proven what a dedicated and resilient team we have, and how flexible and creative a small institution and community can be. Moving teaching online last spring, successfully delivering the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year off site for all students, achieving a return to the studios for the full Autumn term, switching back to remote learning from January to March this year, and now reopening for an extended Summer Term until August, clearly has been a formidable challenge.

We could not have imagined 14 months ago that it would be possible to organise our courses in such radically different ways to support creativity and teach specialist skills, and it has been a revelation. However, the teaching and staff teams have achieved more than to simply cope with an unprecedented situation. We have seen how the provision we put in place has enabled students to thrive and exceed their own expectations during such a time of crisis.

At a time of such uncertainty and unrest the Art School has dealt with everything with incredible integrity and diligence ensuring the wellbeing of all who attend and work on campus.” Joanna Grogan, BA Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding.
I’m extremely grateful to the way the school has handled the pandemic, doing their utmost to continue to deliver our course and actually giving us back the studio time we would have missed had we stuck to the original course schedule.” Lucia Ferguson, MA Fine Art
The fact that the art school is planning a full physical grad show [for the class of 2020] in these COVID times, speaks volumes about the level of care that it gives to its students.” Andrew Szczech, MA Fine Art – previously BA Fine Art

Along with so many other organisations, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the Art School at all levels. 2020 saw some income lost but 2021 will be even more challenging through a combination of increased costs and a reduction in student numbers. There have been many useful lessons learned over this year that are feeding into strategic planning. To be able to realise plans that will stabilise our financial position we do need help now. As a small, independent charity, with no direct public funding or significant reserves to draw upon, the Art School has always been a lean organisation operating on a tight margin. This, compounded by the fact that the Art School has not been eligible for any of the government rescue packages, has led to the particular challenge we are finding ourselves in and is why we are seeking your support at this time.

Thank you for giving our appeal your attention. We will be grateful for your contribution; at any level you feel able to offer.

How to donate 

Donate by card or paypal
Bank Transfer

If you would like to discuss your donation, please do not hesitate to contact Hannah Travers, Head of Development & External Relations on or 020 7091 1689.

We wouldn’t be where we are without our community of friends and supporters, and there has never been a time when it has mattered more. We look forward to seeing you again when we finally re-open our doors for our degree shows this summer, when we can hopefully join together in celebrating all that has been achieved against unprecedented odds.

We have several in person shows this summer that we hope you will be able to visit.
City & Guilds of London Art School Class of 2020: BA & MA Fine Art Graduates at Bargehouse, Southbank
Open Tues 27 – Sat 31 July 2021
Degree Show 2021 at the Art School
PV 18:00 – 21:00 Tuesday 17 Aug. Booking essential. Open Wed 18 – Sun 22 Aug 2021
MA Show 2021 – At the Art School – w/o 18 Oct. Details to follow.

With best wishes,

Tamiko O’Brien

Jamie Bill


Our Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic 
The Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted every aspect of Art School activity since March 2020. Trustees, Senior Management Team, and staff have reacted and reconfigured our activities at four distinct points to provide the best possible offer to students.March 2020 – Lock down
We successfully put measures in place to continue teaching and progressing students during the lockdown. All undergraduate students were able to successfully complete their year in the Summer Term and graduate from their courses, while MA students who would normally have worked through the summer break returned for an additional term in the studios during Autumn 2020.


September 2020 – Back in the studios and workshops

In early September we welcomed new and returning students back to the Art School in stages for the Autumn Term and new academic year 2020/21. We were able to offer our students, the intensive studio-based learning experience that we are known for, and which is crucial for a depth of study in our specialist subjects. Meeting ongoing social distancing and safety rules which required adaptations to our facilities, extended opening hours and additional teaching, along with continued online delivery of certain curriculum elements such as Art Histories, enabled us to maximise on time in our studios, workshops and labs for all of our students. We were also pleased to be able to launch our new Books & Paper Conservation course with a full intake and with a new suite of bespoke studios created over the Summer months.

We launched a new Graduate Showcase website to celebrate and promote our students’ achievements during this time, that has proved to also be very helpful with our current recruitment activities. For our BA and MA Fine Art graduates of 2020 we have hired an external exhibition venue, Bargehouse, on London’s Southbank for a joint exhibition in July 2021. Our Carving graduates of 2020 will show alongside their peers this Summer in our Degree Shows now planned for August (BA) and October (MA).

Meanwhile we have worked hard to successfully maintain the levels of bursaries for students through external donors that continue to support well over a third of the student body to study with us.

January 2021 – Lockdown


Following a very successful Autumn term back at the Art School, we were unfortunately, and at very short notice, unable to reopen for the Spring term in January due to new government lockdown regulations. In order to best support our students at the time, and to keep them safe, teaching moved back online for the term. On 8th March we were pleased to be able to open the studios for students to access.


Extended Summer Term April 2021 – The return


The 12th April saw the welcome beginning of the Summer Term with the full schedule of tutorials, teaching and workshops resuming on campus, with the necessary Covid-19 testing and safety measures in place. As all of our courses have a strong practice-based focus the decision was taken in the spring term to extend the academic year from June through to August to provide students with additional access to studios and workshops as well as specialist practical teaching essential to complete their year of study and achieve all their learning outcomes. Whilst we do not know the exact additional cost at this stage, we deem this to be essential to provide students with the best possible experience under these very challenging circumstances, and to remain true to our mission and ethos as a centre of excellence. We believe that maintaining delivery of the highest quality education is key to our future.

As illustrated, tutors have worked creatively to devise ways to deliver practical teaching online. We have learned that it is possible to share some of what is unique about the Art School remotely, this will feed into our planning for outreach work and income generating short course offers for the future, contributing to widening participation, the stabilising of our financial position alongside essential fundraising for the immediate future.


How to donate

Donate by card or paypal
Bank Transfer


We’re delighted to announce the launch of the MA Fine Art Graduate Showcase, an online exhibition of the outstanding work of our 2020 MA Fine Art graduates, following an extended academic year due to the pandemic. View the exhibition.

The new MA Fine Art Graduate Showcase joins the work of our 2020 BA Fine Art, Foundation and Historic Carving graduates in our Graduate Showcase, a purpose-built online exhibition space developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The online exhibition features a broad selection of creative ideas and approaches reflecting each exhibitor’s individual practice. Pieces range from a large-scale charcoal and ink 10 metre-long surround to work made from bible fragments and ashes on wood panel; from a sculptural piece made using rice, moss and soil on an oak sleeper to mechanised tapestry, repeating insignificant actions that have become strangely amplified during this unusual year.

The striking work featured in the 2020 MA Fine Art Graduate Showcase has been made during a difficult period, disrupted by the restrictions of the pandemic. The Art School has remained committed to ensuring hands-on studio practice in its facilities when possible, but periods of national Lockdown have meant students have also spent time working from home studios, supported by comprehensive online course delivery.  We are extremely proud of the resilience and dedication shown by all our students during these difficult circumstances, and the challenges they faced during this extraordinary time makes their final work all the more impressive.

Alongside our 2020 MA Fine Art graduates, the current Co-Chair of Students, Artist Resident Trustees, Ema Mano Epps (MA Fine Art 2019) and Jyoti Bharwani (MA Fine Art 2020), are exhibiting the work they’ve made during their residency.

A public-facing exhibition of recent work from our BA and MA Fine Art 2020 graduates is planned for July 2021 at Bargehouse on London’s South Bank – sign up to our mailing list to receive an invitation.

Images of work

  • – Patrick Stratton, Things I Do Sometimes: Step in Gum, 2020, tapestry and electronics, 90 x 74 x 14 cm
  • – Isobel Bedeau, surrounded by the high silence, 2020, charcoal and ink on paper, 150 x 1000 cm
  • – Yuki Aruga, A Memorial to Nothing, 2021, soil, rice, moss, oil on oak sleeper, 170 x 40 x 70 cm
  • – Fipsi Seilern, Revelations II (Out of The Ashes), 2019, bible fragments and ashes on wood panel, 38 x 41 cm
  • – Alexandra Sivov, 60 000 Children, 2020, acrylic and gouache acrylic on canvas, 153 x 189 cm

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.

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.


To celebrate World Book Night 2021, the Art School’s Librarian, Harriet Lam, put her head together with Heads of Department and Tutors across our courses, to pick out a selection of some of the most inspiring and indispensable books from the library’s diverse collection.

Here are just some of the Art School’s essential reads…

Contemporary theory of conservation, by Salvador Munoz-Vinas (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005)

One of best introductions to conservation, insightful and imaginative. This book sets the stage for students who are starting training in conservation covering such important topics as philosophy and ethics in contemporary conservation.” Dr Marina Sokhan, Head of Conservation

I attended a workshop with Munoz Vinas after he published his book, which was tremendous, discussing the concept of authenticity as tautology. ‘An authentic what…?’ An altered and restored object is entirely authentic, inasmuch it is an altered and restored object.” Gerry Alabone, Frames and Wood Conservation Tutor

The eyes of the skin: architecture and the senses, by Juhani Pallasmaa (Chichester: Wiley, 2012)

Thinking through painting: reflexivity and agency beyond the canvas, edited by Isabelle Graw, Daniel Birnbaum, Nikolaus Hirsch (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2012)

I like it when a little book is packed with more than its size suggest, both these books fit into that space. The discussions around the haptic activities of making, and the potential or fact that the tradition of the hands-on activity of thinking through making retains its position to make extraordinary things happen, resonate with me and is evidenced in the outcomes in the Art School studios…Robin Mason, Head of Fine Art

Modern practical masonry, by Edmund George Warland (Shaftesbury: Donhead, 2006)

“The stonemasons’ bible. No one considering a career in working with stone should be without this on their book shelf.” Heather Newton ACR, Head of Historic Carving

The organic chemistry of museum objects, by John Mills and Raymond White (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999)

A ‘must have’ book for a Conservation Department and any training conservation course that deals with such a diversity of materials as stone and paper and leather.Dr Marina Sokhan, Head of Conservation

Written by two eminent chemists who present the information in a substantive and very accessible way that made the content of great value for conservators. Though the authors worked at the National Gallery, the book covers a wide range of materials and object types.Jennifer Dinsmore, Stone Conservation Tutor

Vibrant matter: a political ecology of things, by Jane Bennett (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010)

Required reading for anyone interested in New Materialist thinking.” Dr Matthew Rowe, Art Histories Tutor

Whitechapel: Documents of contemporary art series (London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2006-)

“I would always recommend the Whitechapel: Documents of contemporary art series books for anyone interested in, and wanting to explore, the subject.” Dr Matthew Rowe, Art Histories Tutor

About modern art: critical essays, 1948-96, by David Sylvester (London: Chatto & Windus, 1996.)

“This has been my go-to tome of art criticism. It inspired me to go back to art school for my MA, after a 20-year gap from my undergraduate degree, and led to the basis of my MA dissertation.” Hugh Mendes, Fine Art Tutor

Pigment compendium, by Nicholas Eastaugh, Valentine Walsh, Tracey Chaplin, and Ruth Siddall (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008)

An incredibly useful reference work, the only book of its kind to have so much information about pigments all in one place, including their history, chemistry, use and how to identify them under the microscope.Dr Tracey Chaplin, Conservation Science Tutor

A comprehensive account of pigments and their identification with a wealth of information that introduces students to polychrome surfaces.” Dr Marina Sokhan, Head of Conservation

The Art School’s library is an essential facility for all students at the Art School, supporting all academic programmes with visual and textual research materials. As well as accessing the library’s broad collection of books, journals and DVDs, students are taught research and referencing skills through regular workshops led by Librarian Harriet Lam.

Head of Conservation, Dr Marina Sokhan, and Art Histories Tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos, are speaking at a webinar organised by Imperial College London as part of its ‘Science & Engineering Research for Cultural Heritage’ series.

Entitled ‘Laser Cleaning in Conservation / Historic Artefacts: when do you want it?’, the webinar will feature two twenty minute presentations followed by a Q&A session, with audience members invited to submit questions in advance.

Dr Marina Sokhan will host the first presentation, discussing the use of lasers to clean historic buildings and sculpture during conservation treatment. The second presentation, led by Dr Michael Paraskos, will explore how the cleaning of artefacts can obscure the real history and original nature of those buildings and sculpture.

The free webinar takes place on Thursday 13 May at 2pm. To book your place and pre-register a question, click here.

Dr Marina Sokhan is the Head of the Art School’s renowned Conservation Department, which specialises in the conservation of Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces, and Books & Paper. Dr Michael Paraskos lectures on the history of British architecture on the Art School’s Historic Carving and Conservation courses.





Master Carver, Tim Crawley, who trained at the Art School from 1979 and was Head of Historic Carving from 2012 to 2020, has been commissioned to create a heraldic sculptural scheme featuring two bronze lamp standards to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Representing the monarch’s “guiding light”, the pair of lamp standards are a gift from Parliament to the Queen and will be funded by MPs and Peers.

Tim commented: “Naturally, I was delighted to win this prestigious commission, which celebrates such an important national event, and delighted also  to be entrusted to add something new to this iconic building. Working within the Palace is a privilege, and I answer to a small group of Lords and MPs, including Mr Speaker, which is a unique experience.”

The commissioning committee selected Tim’s traditional, Pugin-esque design which includes sculptures of the heraldic beasts of Great Britain and other royal symbols around the base of the standards. The lanterns themselves reflect the shape of St Edward’s Crown.

Explaining the design and making process of the lamps, Tim said: “The competition brief cited the much-loved Dolphin Lamps that line the Embankment as a possible inspiration for the commission, and I designed several options based on this concept for consideration by the committee. My preferred design was a contemporary take on the Gothic and heraldic language of the Palace of Westminster, but the committee chose an option that more closely referenced Pugin’s medievalism. Pugin produced several elaborate lamp standards for the Palace which are significant examples of decorative sculpture and these influenced the way I developed my designs.

“This is the largest bronze commission I have yet undertaken and I will be working closely with the long-established Morris Singer Foundry.  Although most of my work is in stone, I spend a lot of my time modelling as a way of developing my ideas in three dimensions, making plaster casts from the models as reference for carving, so my normal way of working transfers easily into the use of bronze.  Morris Singer will cast my full-size models hollow, using the lost wax technique. I will also be working with William Sugg & Co, who specialise in heritage lighting schemes often involving the traditional gas lighting that can still be found at Westminster.”

The lamps will be positioned atop the staircase leading to the fountain in New Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster, built to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, and it is hoped that the Queen will visit the statues next year as part of the planned celebrations.

The installation of the lamps follows a tradition of marking the reign of a monarch in such a way. Five lamps erected to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond and Golden Jubilees can be seen around the country and are now listed structures.

The Art School congratulates Tim on this historic commission and we look forward to seeing the completed sculptures when they are installed at the Palace of Westminster next year.

Follow the links to find out more about our renowned undergraduate and postgraduate courses in woodcarving and gilding and architectural stone carving.

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.

Elaine Wilson, who sadly passed away on the 3rd of April 2021 has been a colleague and friend since the late 1980’s. We first met as visiting artists at City & Guilds of London Art School under the Principal Sir Roger de Grey and for at least the last 20 years plus as regular members of the fine art team of tutors. Elaine has been a significant part of the evolution and realisation of the Fine Art department’s success story, which sees our alumni positioned amongst the best graduates from other leading fine art courses.

Over the recent years the attributes that made Elaine who she was came to the forefront as she bravely battled and fought the knock backs, which the cancer that eventually took her life threw at her. Her strength, humour, creativity, knowledge and constant caring nature, despite all the difficulties, shone through brightly over these last two and a half years. Always at the start and end of any conversations about timetabling for the next term was her desire to support the students and the fine art team of tutors and technicians, working as a team, working to give the best and get the best out of the students. “I’m really sorry about this Robin” she’d often say when she had to attend meetings with specialists or undertake chemotherapy. Her drive to overcome her situation and to be in the studios or running a workshop enabled and allowed her to share her vast knowledge of materials, processes and subject in a caring way, using humour and skill to ease any anxieties the students might be experiencing.

Elaine initially studied BA Sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art in Dundee followed by an MA at the Royal Academy Schools where she was awarded the RA Gold Medal.

During a 3 month residency at the European Ceramic Work Centre in Holland, Elaine explored and challenged the socio-politics of femininity in relation to the traditions of ceramic ornamentation. The residency spawned several solo exhibitions at the Hatton Gallery, Globe Gallery Newcastle, Bath Spa University and Gift Vyner St. Gallery, London. She also received awards from the Arts Council, Art Editions North and the Hope Scott Trust to produce a monograph of her work ‘Mirror.’

Elaine was regularly an invited artist in group exhibitions and symposiums and featured in the publication New Directions in Ceramics-From Spectacle to Trace examining innovation, critical and cultural contexts in contemporary ceramics. Although largely feminist in concept, her engagement with more philosophical debates of self-reflection and ‘otherness’ is reflected in the large sculpture, ‘Seeing Myself Seeing’ exhibited in her solo exhibition ‘Spoiled’ at the Hatton gallery.

In her solo exhibition at Arthouse 1 Gallery in 2019, Elaine introduced a new body of work, ‘Corps-A-Corps’, watchtowers constructed from steel and ceramics, exploring themes around body, vigilance, combat and the gendered vision of power and control. The buildings atop of the towers sourced from different cultures of the world. This Exhibition opened shortly after Elaine

had her diagnosis and through the last few years of her life there have been many events: ‘me too’, ‘black lives matter’, Brexit and a world pandemic that has brought out of the dark many of the issues addressed or raised by Elaine’s body of work. Reflecting on aspects of power structures that have been in place for oppressive control, this body of work in many ways foretold and has witnessed the unfolding of many of the things that Elaine cared about and was worried about. She found a language to speak about the unspeakable, to raise the subjects that are uncomfortable and to start discussions about awareness and the need for change.

Leaving her many students, good friends and colleagues both at City & Guilds of London Art School and Kingston University where she also worked as Senior Technician in Ceramics, we are lonelier and sadder than we were a short while ago, but I hope stronger and more positive, because of the way she was.”

Robin Mason (Head of Fine Art, City & Guilds of London Art School)

If you would like to make a donation Elaine’s chosen charity was: The Princess Alice Hospice

A book of remembrance will shortly be available in the Art School Foyer students and staff who would like to sign it and send a message to Elaine’s family,  it will be posted to them at the end of the month.

Explore more of Elaine’s work:

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.

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



Foundation Diploma student, Madeleine Halil, recently completed two very different pieces, repurposing everyday objects and materials to create evocative artworks. We asked Madeleine to tell us about the inspiration behind her work ,‘Waste land’ and ‘Cup of tea anyone?’, how she developed her initial ideas and the process involved in creating her final outcomes.  You can see more of Madeleine’s work by following her on Instagram @mads.halil.artwork


“’Waste land’, is a dress made from waste products from the coronavirus pandemic. The glamorous, retro style of the garment jars with the disposable, contemporary material it’s made from, lending a satirical tone to the piece.

The project was kickstarted with research into the Arte Povera movement of the late 60s, which gave me an insight into the breadth of materials available to me and their broad applications. I took a walk on Google Images to create a mood board of different ideas, processes, aesthetics and materials that jumped out to me.

I experimented with different materials, melting plastic together, looking at their textures and colours, and incorporating tinfoil. I manipulated paper and fabric to explore how they would behave, then finally began to sketch ideas of garments I could make from discarded and recycled materials. This was followed with collage and experimentation on the mannequin before finally beginning to assemble the final piece.

Although I had spent time designing and planning the garment, the design developed further during the making process. My original concept was a corset-inspired top, however, I experimented with bubble wrap which I had gathered when creating a collection of materials to work with, and as I began to layer it to create a skirt, I liked the look of extravagance it brought to the work. This set me on a path to develop the piece into a garment inspired by an glamorous ball gown instead of just a top.

Assembling and wearing a mask dress was a challenging process! I wanted to leave the shape of the masks mostly intact so they were recognisable, however they didn’t naturally fit all of the body’s contours and there was no flexibility or stretch in them. With very limited experience in fashion and textiles, I was mostly learning as I went along, with lots of help from the wonderful Foundation Technician Emma Simpson, who guided me through the technical aspects of assembling a garment.

I had definitely underestimated the complexity of getting a garment or material to sit the way I wanted it to. However, it helped to frequently refer back to my model to take measurements and make alterations. I allowed room for trial and error in my plan, so I was able to really explore different directions, which made it a fun process.”









“‘Cup of tea anyone?’, is an exploration of loss and mortality, reflecting on the life of my wonderful Grandad. On each individual tea bag tag are illustrations and questions that make up a waterfall of reflection. For me, the tea references all of those casual moments throughout our lives that we take for granted. I can’t think of one particular conversation over a cup of tea that stands out as particularly different from the rest, however I would give anything to have one more with my Grandad.

I began the process of making ‘Cup of tea anyone?’ by producing a series of mixed media collages, exploring my experiences of loss and grief. This got my ideas flowing and I began to capture the essence of various aspects of my Grandad and his life.

I took a closer look at the imagery that I was working with. I examined more closely how my Grandad’s features and facial expressions could be used to capture his story. This led me to produce a series of illustrations which can be seen on some of the teabags of the final outcome. After looking through lots of my Grandad’s things and material that I had collected for the project, I came across a few handwritten notes and letters. I found stacks and stacks of bonsai magazines, art work and collections of music, which made me begin to contemplate all the knowledge and experiences my Grandad had accumulated throughout his life, and that I had never really asked him about properly.

I found more and more questions that I wish I had the chance to ask as I continued on this journey of reflection.  From here my idea to combine the written word and my illustrations in a final outcome was born.

As is the nature of self-directed study, I experienced quite a few changes of direction with this piece. Originally in the very early stages of the project, I had the idea to look at obsessive documentation. I considered casting some of my Grandad’s possessions, creating a larger sculpture from these components, perhaps a life-sized sculpture of him. However, when working on my mixed media collages, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do a piece of work of a more multidisciplinary nature. And from this point I decided to explore illustration, written word and sculpture.

In making ‘Cup of tea anyone?’, I came across a few technical challenges. It took many attempts and much consideration to hang the teabags. I originally used string, however this presented limitations. I wanted to have more control over how the form would fill space so decided to use wire instead. The logistics of tying so many individual tea bags was difficult at first! The thread was slipping down the smooth wire and the weight of all of them together was problematic. Double knotting each thread and securing the wire with hot glue inside the teapot proved most effective.

As well as the technical difficulties, I found this a very emotionally-challenging piece to make. I processed a lot of emotion surrounding my own experience of losing my Grandad. However, I think the process was ultimately beneficial for me.”



Photos courtesy of Madeleine Halil @mads.halil.artwork

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

Fish skin leather made by student Tanya Alfille