Summer Workshops

August 2021 sees the start of a summer programme to be developed over the coming years. Offering a blend of donation-based and fee-paying workshops, this year the former workshops focus on regenerating the Cathedral grounds and preparing for COP26, while the latter workshops aim to develop our ecological sensibility through collage, drawing, painting, and print.

Information about the former workshops is pending but we’re pleased to announce that workshops by Sarah Gittins, Kittie Jones and Jo Richardson are open and ready for sign-up!

A shared love of the living world

Sarah, Jo and Kittie

We are three artist-educators with a strong interest in sustainable practice, a shared love of the living world and a desire to provide an accessible and holistic approach to art education through the joy and materiality of art-making.

In response to the developing Art and Ecology programme at the Cathedral we’ve put together a programme of summer workshops using both indoor and outdoor spaces. Taking inspiration from the Cathedral’s buildings and grounds, we aim to provide uplifting classes that celebrate this rich and diverse city environment. 

As artists and educators we share a passion for print but also a strong belief that drawing is fundamental to learning to see our surroundings afresh. We are excited to offer classes that encourage enquiry into a range of drawing processes which can be used to develop prints, collages, paintings, and more. 

With over 30 years teaching experience between us, we have taught at locations across Scotland and the north of England, including Leith School of Art, Bridgehouse Art, the National Galleries of Scotland, and Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop.

All profits from this programme will go towards developing the Art and Ecology programme at the Cathedral.

Programme

Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August, 10am to 4pm

Plants are our Teachers! – a plant-inspired drawing workshop – led by Sarah Gittins

Course fee £125 (limited subsidised places are available for this course on application – please contact Sarah at the address below for more information)

This course will observe the particular qualities and characteristics of plants and use these to inform and explore different approaches to drawing. For example: what can we learn from a delicate poppy or seedhead about the art of line drawing? What can a tree teach us about simplifying complex shapes and mapping connections? What can the foliage and flowers of a dandelion teach us about working with the drama of light and shade? Inspiration will also be drawn from contemporary and historic artists who work with plant forms, such as Phoebe Anna Traquair (whose work can be seen at the Cathedral), Ellsworth Kelly, Jim Dine, and Brigid Collins.

To book or for more enquiries please contact: sarahjgittins[at]gmail.com

Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th August, 10am to 4pm

Reflecting the city – an exploration of different drawing processes to reflect the diverse, visual aspects of the city taking the St Mary’s buildings and grounds as our starting point – led by Kittie Jones

Course Fee £125 (limited subsidised places are available for this course on application – please contact Kittie at the address below for more information)

Inspired by the multi-faceted nature of the city this two-day course will look at different methods of drawing – fast, slow, expressive, considered. Working with a mix of wet and dry materials, and in a range of different scales, students will be encouraged to find different visual routes into the subject. Designed to engage a deeper reflection on what cities are and how we can depict them, we will look at the energy lines of the city, as well as spending time finding and drawing quieter spaces within the Cathedral grounds. The course will culminate in sustained mixed media drawings that visually explore the complex layers of life in a city. We will take the work of Jeanette Barnes, Kate Downie, Joan Eardley, and George Butler, amongst others, as a starting point for inspiration.  

To book please contact: kittie.jones[at]gmail.com

Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th, Friday 13th August, 10am to 4pm

The Water of Leith – Channelling the River – an experimental drawing and printmaking workshop inspired by the Paolozzi Millenium Window (situated in the Cathedral) and the Water of Leith – led by Jo Richardson

Course Fee  £185 (limited subsidised places are available for this course on application – please contact Jo at the address below for more information)

The course begins by looking at the imagery of the Paolozzi Millenium Window and its depiction of the Water of Leith. 

We will consider the importance of the waterway as a natural corridor within the city. Focusing on its ability to sustain large numbers of trees, plants and animals and its importance for human wellbeing in this busy, densely populated environment.

Working on location at the Water of Leith, students will be encouraged to record their experiences using observational and sensory drawing exercises. Allowing reflection on the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the waterway, and exploring its flora and fauna. A range of wet and dry materials will be provided to allow for experimentation and exploration.

On returning to the studio at St Mary’s Cathedral students will be shown how to develop their drawings into print, combining abstract responses and direct observation. Using monoprinting techniques with and without a press, students will create a suite of multi-layered and colourful prints.

Inspirational artists informing the workshops include Victoria Crowe, Kate Downie, Victoria Morton, David Nash, and Anthony Gormley.

To book please contact: j2richardson[at]yahoo.co.uk

Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th August, 10am to 4pm

St Mary’s in Summer – An Urban Oasis – drawing and printmaking workshop taking inspiration from the flora and fauna of St Mary’s grounds in August. Led by Jo Richardson

Course Fee £125 (limited subsidised places are available for this course on application – please contact Jo at the address below for more information)

Students will spend two days exploring and recording the plants, trees and animals which make up the grounds and gardens of the Cathedral. This course aims to provide a ‘time-out’ for quiet reflection and contemplation on the importance of urban green spaces through deep looking and observational drawing. 

Working outdoors in a handmade sketchbook, students will record their responses and exploration of the gardens using a variety of materials and techniques including ink, graphite and pastel. 

Returning to the studio students will be shown how to translate their drawings onto a drypoint etching plate and learn how to print their plates on a small portable press, culminating in a small suite of intaglio drypoint prints to accompany their sketchbook studies. 

Inspiration will be drawn from artists such as David Hockney, Catherine Davidson, Henri Rousseau, and Elizabeth Blackadder.

To book please contact: j2richardson[at]yahoo.co.uk

Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th, Friday 20th August, 10am to 4pm

Reflecting place – workshop encouraging students to explore the micro and macro aspects of the St Mary’s buildings and grounds through mixed media drawing – led by Kittie Jones

Course fee £185  (limited subsidised places are available for this course on application – please contact Kittie at the address below for more information)

What is it that defines place and how can that be interpreted through visual art? This three-day course will encourage students to take in the diverse environs of the Cathedral campus in order to make mixed media works that engage with the idea of place and what it means to us. Beginning by drawing on location, different ways to gather information will be considered. Kittie will encourage students to consider the flora and the micro alongside the broader structures and atmosphere of the place. An expressive and exploratory approach to drawing place will be considered. Back at the studio time will be spent playing with a mixed-media approach to developing work that aims to reflect a personal response to the experience of the Cathedral campus. Ink, charcoal, pastels and collage will be used alongside basic printmaking techniques to create a series of monochrome and full colour drawings. Artists whose work will be considered during the course will include Nik Pollard, Dafila Scott, Joan Eardley, Mary Newcombe, Kim Atkinson, and Duncan Shanks.

To book please contact: kittie.jones[at]gmail.com

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd August, 10am to 4pm

Music, Mark-making, Colour and Collage: A workshop taking inspiration from St Mary’s musical programme and the Paolozzi Millennium Window (situated in the Cathedral) – led by Sarah Gittins

Course fee £125 (limited subsidised places are available for this course on application – please contact Sarah at the address below for more information)

The Paolozzi Millennium Window can be seen as a piece of majestic music crystallised into the colours and patterns of a stained glass window. This workshop will explore how music can be transcribed into a visual form using simple creative approaches. We will work with a musician to listen closely to a selected piece of music, noting what we hear with drawn mark-making and painted colour. Listening again to the same piece we will note the different layers and textures of sound. These notations will then be developed into mixed media, collaged scrolls.

Inspiration will be taken from Eduardo Paolozzi, Sonia Delaunay and Wassily Kandinsky.

To book or for more enquiries please contact: sarahjgittins[at]gmail.com

Art materials and clothing

All materials are provided. Please come in clothes you don’t mind getting messy and where there is an outdoor element to the course please bring clothing for a Scottish summer – waterproofs, sun hat, scarf and gloves etc.! The studio is situated in the Cathedral’s Chapter House (entrace via Manor Road). 

Transport and parking

The Cathedral is easily accessible and we encourage participants to travel by foot, bike or public transport. Where car use is necessary, participants should note that there is no parking on site. Metered parking is available in the immediate locality and at the Gallery of Modern Art by donation.

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