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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


Family, friends and students to Moor Hall, often arrive here expecting some new and strange animal to greet them.  A couple of years ago now, it was Brân, hand reared young crow who was on hand to say hello to everyone that came. (Brân being the Welsh name for Crow.)

This crow bought so much pleasure, and was part of the wider family, as can be seen above, but eventually he discovered his wings and his freedom. He was spotted on several occasions miles away on the Beacon and in the village 2 miles away by friends, recognised by his red ring and his very unusual friendly behaviour. 

Well imagine our surprise and delight when he turned up to say hello yesterday. We were so excited that we did not think to take a picture till it was too late, but maybe he will be back again. I am just relieved that he is alive and managed successfully to return to the wild. If he does came back I shall be ready with that camera, but this was the best that I managed yesterday.......and you will just have to believe that it is Bran, with his red ring!!!!

It was so uplifting to see Bran, that feeling of Spring and that things were on the turn in a real way. Many of you will know the struggle that I am having with constant pain from my hip and no sign of anything happening medically, so we need little 'happenings' like this to lift the spirits. Here are a couple of lovely poems which I hope will lift your spirits, both written by a dear long-standing friend of mine, Ken Aeron.

The catkins hang like
Golden lanterns
On threads so fine
They appear to be floating
With the grace of a
Cathedral setting
And I think it might be
Imagined that if one was
Quiet and listened carefully
And got up close you
Might hear a choir
Singing softly
In praise of spring.


It's well named
Don't you think?
All that compressed energy
Suddenly released.
A burgeoning of force
Thrusting its way from the earth.
It's like someone blew a whistle and shouted
'Over the top'
A Spring offensive.
It's a joy to see
Kicking winter in the pants
Shoving him aside.
And what strength
The advance guard
The snowdrops, so gallant.
And then the infantry
The daffodils, primroses, crocuses, tulips
An invasion of beauty
Nature's triumph.
Everywhere, new signs of life.
It's a glorious thing
This spring.


As mentioned in my last newsletter my course programme is constantly being assessed and changes made accordingly. Again I must thank you for being so tolerant and flexible with all of these changes.

In this spirit of optimism I have put on the programme, in addition to a 3 day course with Polly Pollock at the beginning of October, and a day's water colour painting workshop with Ruth Kirkby two further courses. Matthew Harris on 12/13/14 July and Dorothy Tucker on 6/7 September. Details of these are further on in the newsletter.

Work from the on-line courses that I tutor keeps trickling in and I shall feature some of this work in my next newsletter. What I realise is important is that there is something for everyone and these on-line courses certainly enable students from further afield and overseas students to access courses otherwise not possible. 

As you will know, these four courses will now all be running as on-line courses. The term 'on-line course' can be confusing and can mean different things. What these tutors will be delivering is as near an experience as is possible, to face to face teaching in the studio. It will not be just a handout, but the tutor will be with you through the full duration of the course. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 12 students on each of these courses. These courses are now full apart from one cancellation on Sarah's course.......so contact me quickly if interested. The good news is that the tutors will be returning in the Autumn to repeat these, so please register your interest and as soon as courses go live I will contact you.

Bobby Britnell
Watch this Space
22/23 May 2021
Introductory presentation on 21st May


Mary Sleigh
Mind the Gap
24/25 May 2021
Introductory presentation on 
23rd May


Ruth Issett
Exploring Colour with  Paper, Fabric and Stitch
10/11 June 2021
Introductory session on 
9th June


Sarah Burgess
Chasing Shadows
24/25 June 2021
Introductory presentation on 
23rd June


Contact ME if interested in this course.

I shall be assessing further courses as we move on through the year, but will give you ample warning if further changes need to be made. All future tutors are currently hoping to run their courses face to face. Thank you for your continued support and patience with this.

12/13/14 July 2021
Upside Down and Back to Front
£350 for three days

"Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make."   John Cage

The aim of this workshop is to explore playful ways in which images and visual information can be generated and developed through drawing. By working with individual imagery gathered in sketch books, photographs etc, we will be trying to exploit the potential of sometimes the most simple and mundane scraps of image, mark and shape.

Working from a series of sketchbook images, drawings, photographs etc we will explore a number of exercises and processes that will allow you to generate and develop visual information from an apparently simple starting point. By the end of the day you should have a series of images that will form the starting point for the work on day 2, which will be about development and interpretation.

The interpretation of these images into textile materials is the final stage of the project, though you may decide to stay with paper.
A course to keep you thinking and making.

Matthew always presents challenging courses and this one is no exception. He manages to draw the unexpected out of his students in such clever ways.

Book HERE to join this course.
6/7 September 2021
'Going Round in Circles'
£140 for the day

Kantha is a Bangladeshi word for cloth, and a particular way of stitching embroidered quilts made from the good parts of old worn-out saris.  A wealth of decorative circular designs created with variations of running stitch feature on these quilts. Traditionally the threads used were withdrawn from coloured saris borders. Sometimes coloured stripes woven into a sari were sandwiched between the layers of cloth.  

With traditional and contemporary examples as our source of inspiration we will begin by layering together cotton fabrics to create a cloth which is soft and lovely to handle (approximately A4 in size) Then using three basic ways of building patterns with running stitch, in a voyage of discovery and invention we will begin stitching around and around in circles!   Finally, to hold everything together we will surround these circles with the rippling textures unique to kantha.

The workshop is open to everyone who enjoys hand stitching. It could offer you an introduction to kantha making or another chance to extend your kantha making skills. 

Click here to book on this course.

15 September 2021
'Flowers made Easy'
£70 for the day

Ruth has kindly reconsidered what she can offer this Autumn so her previously advertised course will now no longer run, but this wonderful day of painting flowers in water colours cannot go amiss.

Ruth Kirkby trained as a botanical artist, but has spent the last few years trying to make flower painting easier - trying to imply detail without painting every single sepal, stigma and stamen.  In this one day workshop she will share some of the best ideas she has learnt along the way. Using watercolour, she will demonstrate techniques, then give tips on composition, so that by the end of the day participants will go away with some great flower paintings!

Here is a LINK to her website where you can research her work further and here is a LINK to connect directly to her course booking form.

1/2/3 October 2021
'A Group of Similar Things'
£220 for 3 days (includes materials)

I am thrilled that Polly has agreed to come to Moor Hall. She had hoped to come last year, but that wasn't to be. This will be a slightly different approach to the normal run of courses but one with strong links to the world of textiles. Polly is a recently new member to the Textile Study Group and further evidence of her background and work can be found on her WEBSITE

This workshop will look at 'Coiling', a unique basketry technique that's stitched not woven. It can be used for making anything from beautifully simple basketry forms through to free-form experimental structures - there are very few rules, just some basic techniques.

Many materials can be used and very little equipment is needed for exploring materials, textures, colour, pattern, form, surface; coiling can be worked on a scale of tiny to huge.

You'll be introduced to the basics:  ways of starting, stitches which produce different textures, creating form, and approaches to finishing.   You'll make a few samples to get a feel for material(s) you like working with, moving on to making a collection of exploratory samples or small baskets which relate to each other to form a group, or cluster, of objects.
Coiling is a slow technique, so possibly you might not complete your work, but you will go away with enough materials and knowledge and ideas of how to finish it.

You can book HERE

FINALLY it just remains for me to wish you a creative month and stay well and safe wherever you are.

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