Whether you're thinking about launching your own calligraphy business, looking to master a new skill or want to learn how to weave a willow animal, River Cottage’s new creative courses led by Devon-based artists are the place to be inspired. All courses at River Cottage start at the top of the hill where guests will be met and transported down to the farm by tractor and trailer. The morning starts with tea or coffee and freshly baked scones or pastries from the River Cottage kitchen, whilst saying hello to the course tutors and fellow pupils. The morning session starts, concentrating equally on theory and practical lessons. Food is always the focus at River Cottage and a two-course lunch of local, seasonal fare including sourdough bread, will reinvigorate before returning to class for the afternoon session. At the end of the day, guests are taken back up the hill by the River Cottage tractor and trailer, along with the hard work from their class.
Enjoy an introduction to watercolour botanicals and modern calligraphy taught by artist Harriet de Winton in the beautiful gardens of River Cottage. Finding inspiration in the flowers, herbs and vegetables and the nature surrounding the farm, guests on this artist’s workshop will learn the fundamentals of watercolour as well as key steps to painting any plant or flower. During a busy morning of theory and practical guidance, they will paint a watercolour wreath choosing their favourite plants and flowers. Following a delicious River Cottage lunch, the afternoon will be spent with an introduction from Harriet to the modern calligraphy trend, learning basic techniques with a dip pen nib and ink. Once mastered, guests will try their hand copying a lower and upper-case alphabet, numbers and punctuation, progressing to joined up letters to make words and phrases. To finish, everyone will create a chosen phrase or quote in their own personal free style. Courses take place on the 16th of September and 7th of October, costing £145 per person.
Harriet runs the de Winton Paper Co, a hand-painted stationery company. She has illustrated for numerous publications and teaches extensively. She is also a watercolour expert and teacher at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fairs. For more information, visit: www.dewintonpaperco.com
Learn how to make a beautiful and eye-catching 3-foot willow deer for your home or garden with willow artist Katherine Miles. Famed throughout the South West, Katharine’s life-sized willow animal sculptures are displayed in stately homes, private gardens and as interiors design pieces. Katharine will guide guests through the weaving process in this exiting and fun workshop. Suitable for beginners with no prior knowledge of weaving, all materials will be supplied, including locally sourced willow. However, it’s advised that guests bring along a pair of their favourite secateurs and should wear old and comfortable clothing. Courses take place on the 9th of October and 13th of November, costing £145 per person.
Artisan Willow is run by Katherine Miles who lives in the moorland town of Moretonhampstead, Devon. She specialises in weaving willow animal sculptures and bee skeps for the home and garden. She is available for commissions and also sells her work on-line. For more information, visit: www.artisan-willow.com
All River Cottage courses take place in the award-winning Cookery School at River Cottage HQ. Set against the stunning rural backdrop of the Devon countryside, just a stone’s throw from the Jurassic Coast, HQ covers 65 acres of organic farmland and encompasses a thriving kitchen garden and smallholding. The cookery school is renowned for its approach to seasonality and sustainability while championing the best local producers: it’s a foodie hub where you can learn, cook, eat and be inspired. There’s plenty of fantastic local accommodation to choose from too, including B&Bs, self-catering properties, hotels, camping and glamping sites.
For more information and bookings, visit: www.rivercottage.net