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courses offering unique learning opportunities for all, delivered by highly renowned 

Moor Hall Farmhouse 
Bettws-y-crwyn, Newcastle on Clun
Shropshire, SY7 8PH 
01547 510664


I do hope you are all coping with the current situation and making the most of it. I am most fortunate to be living in a beautiful rural area so can just step outdoors with no fear of bumping into anyone. And how lovely for that much needed feeling of Spring.

However all that aside I do so miss all the creativity that happens here when the courses are running. This weekend I should be welcoming Sarah Burgess, followed by Jean Littlejohn and then an artist friend, Ruth Kirkby who is new to teaching at Moor Hall. But as we all know, these courses will not be be taking place at this point in time, but hopefully most will be happening in the Autumn. However I am hugely grateful to these tutors who are HERE NOW giving a little bit of themselves for you via this newsletter and each of them has kindly provided a personal message.

Hope you find something to enjoy.
Rescheduled for 16/17/18 October 2020 
Message from Sarah

Mono print, or as its sometimes called mono-type printing, has become a passion with me. I have always loved drawing and the way that a very simple drawn line or mark, made on the reverse of a piece of paper or fabric which has been laid on a thin layer of printing ink, picks up the ink and becomes so much more expressive and  interesting never fails to excite me. It's also a very accessible technique, it doesn't require expensive bulky equipment or complex fixative processes, so it's ideal for workshop teaching. Mono-print is  full of potential for original, creative work on paper or fabric where each print is totally unique and can never be exactly repeated. Working with print on semi-transparent surfaces gives lots of potential for layering marks and images, cutting through layers and over printing, reusing cut away areas on the front or back of the work and perhaps developing shadow stitch techniques within the layers.

This unexpectedly quiet time that we are living through just now also gives an opportunity for me to develop further ideas, some of which I am very much looking forward to exploring with participants at my Chasing Shadows workshop at Moor Hall in the Autumn.

Sarah Burgess April 2020

Rescheduled for 13/14 October 2020

Message from Jean

We will do this course when the situation improves. It is a course I love doing because the techniques are those I use in my own work. Jan and I found ourselves writing another book 'Just One More Thing' - it was designed to remind people of some of the things we feel important. I am often asked how I do things and I am happy to share but people are often surprised at how many layers and processes are involved in what on the surface might seem a deceptively simple image. We will construct an image using bonding, layers and stitching. We will also highlight some innovative uses of the embellishing machine, it's time to get them out of the cupboard and really go for it. I will bring an embellisher for anyone who does not have one. Beware if you have not used one before, it is addictive!

A personal Message for Jean

My friend Jan and I had an exhibition before Christmas and struggled at the beginning of this  year with new pathways and then came self-isolation and everything changed. Many people feel that life and death struggles have made other aspects of life insignificant but I am so grateful to have something in my life that absorbs, fascinates and sometimes frustrates me.
At first I thought I would have endless time but this is far from the case. In the first week I cleaned, polished and planted seeds and anything to distract me from tackling the new work. It was back to basics, drawing and researching and I am now recovered from the demented housework and have settled into a work pattern. I worked on celestial patterns, the moon, sun, cusps, equinoxes at a time when there were major changes in my personal life. There was comfort and peace in reflecting on the fact that whatever happens in our lives, the  moon continues to rise and the sun shine. I have gone back to this theme and am concentrating on the moon which has always fascinated me. The recent Pink moon was amazing and I am thinking about how to use the information.
I started with design ideas and created background fabrics using dying and discharge printing techniques. These will be further developed with hand and machine stitching and of course the embellishing machine. I try to organise my work so that designing, dying and printing during the day and hand stitching in the evening. I am not sure how this is going to turn out so watch this space.

Jean Littlejohn
April 2020
Rescheduled for 24th September 2020

Message from Ruth

I have been making the most of the extra time that has materialised since the lockdown. Firstly I have been catching up on some commissions. I was waiting for the tulip season to start - which of course it has done now - before embarking on some tulip portraits. I think of all the flowers, tulips are perhaps my favourite - along with the iris family. However, tulips are stunning at all times of their flowering cycle - in bud, flower and when they go over. Always elegant, with an amazing array of colours, which change with their age. I am putting these images on my Instagram account ruth.kirkby
Alongside this, I have been catching up with some reading - art books of course. I am a huge believer in looking at the work of others and reading about their techniques. One can gather a great deal of very useful information from other artists, and how they approach their work. My mind is a bit of a magnet for anything arty, and it all goes into the mill which is my brain, and gets regurgitated at some stage!
Whilst my workshop this month won't go ahead, I firmly believe that the one which will replace it in September will benefit from this input. I have so many new ideas I want to try, and this will be my next target - to spend some hours experimenting - using some scrap paper to try new techniques. The joy of watercolours to my mind is the layering you can do, with each translucent layer building up to the final picture. There will undoubtedly be many failures, but that's the joy of having so much spare time - much less pressure to produce a final outcome and more time to investigate the possibilities.

These images above are some on the effects that Ruth will be doing on her reschedule course in September. 

Ruth is by profession a botanical painter and these are some of her beautiful water-colour paintings.

This next painting is a recent commission that she is working on.

My final piece of advice for those of you who have a bit of time on your hands is to look at the wealth of ideas currently available online and on YouTube. One particularly interesting site is isolationartschool on Instagram. Artists of all genres are giving demonstrations and talks on their work. Fascinating!
Keep safe and keep busy!


Some of you will already know that I have been doing an on-line course 'Inspired by Ben Nicholson'. It has been so rewarding seeing what the students have been doing  and some people have been engaging their younger family members in this work.  Further down I am featuring just a very few of all the images I have been receiving.

I have had many students, who missed this opportunity, ask if I will be repeating this course. It has been a great deal of intensive preparation work and I really want to get on now and do some of my own work. However I will offer this course again, but this time students MUST book via my website. I made a few mistakes with the bookings the first time round, but I am now learning and getting the hang of things much better. So check my website towards the end of the month when bookings will be once again be open for this course............and who knows I may well be offering a new course as well!!!!!.

Here are some images after the first on-line session.

These last two images are by Millie and Morgan (aged 4 and 8) and I think that they are wonderful.
MY BOOK ~ Stitched Flowers

I have recently had a message from Search Press the publishers of my book 'Stitched Flowers'. They are offering 20% of all purchases and free postage and packing. An opportunity to buy my book or plenty of others.  

Here's how it works:
  • Tell your customers about the deal - 20% off any book on our website and free postage and packing
  • They can order through our secure consumer website or by calling us on 01892 510850. If they quote your exclusive code we'll allocate that sale to you. 
  • The exclusive code is DD59
The Search Press Family

* Please be assured once we have supplied your customer with their book(s) we won't store their data and we won't add them to our mailing lists. They remain your customers. 
Monthly weekends or fortnightly Wednesdays

Some of my students from my regular art groups have remained productive with the theme of 'grids' that we were working on last term before this virus kicked in. Here are a few of the results from that particular course and maybe when this is all over some of you may like to join one or other of these groups.

Every warm wish and do stay safe wherever you are.

Bobby Britnell, Moor Hall Farmhouse, Bettws-y-crwyn, Newcastle on Clun, Shropshire, SY7 8PH United Kingdom
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