the alchemist's cupboard TBC

Date to be confirmed


COST: £85 / £95 / £120*


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A day for experimenting with natural materials, weaving traditional ideas and modern perceptions to celebrate the biodiversity of our environment. Paint-making, ointment brewing, potion-decocting, papermaking….

A day for experimenting: exploring traditional and improvising new uses for natural resources. The processes here draw on ancient techniques: grinding and roasting pigments, gently drawing the colour or potency of a plant into oil or suspension. They also encourage people to look more carefully at natural resources, find different ways of understanding what a plant or lump of rock has to offer: textures, colours, fibres all come into play here


This workshop sets out to offer participants the opportunity to try ideas for themselves, inviting them to experiment, to try and maybe to fail but with that to learn and refine activities. Activities are designed to be used with groups on relatively short sessions so we will work safely with quick techniques, readily available and easily managed materials and skills that can be taught easily and will transfer so that participants from schools or public events can take ideas away and repeat them

Activities will include

• Paper-making: from preparing pulp (recycled and natural fibres) to lifting and drying our own sheets
• First colours: finding colours in nature: from the obvious to the unexpected
• Preparing paints: the value of heat, different methods of making pastes and liquids to paint with
• Trying ink: from oak galls to Gum Arabic and lamp black: does any of it work for us?
• Potions and poultices: beaten comfrey, hot fomentations, oatmeal on skin….
• Oils and ointments: melting, making, mixing and keeping….
• Keeping track of results: preparing our own alchemist notebooks
• Review: what worked, what didn’t (and why), applying techniques to group situations, sourcing materials

Notice: this is a workshop about understanding and using resources: it does not teach medical herbalism and recipes and techniques we use are not approved for medical use!


if possible, it would be helpful if participants could bring 1 or 2 small glass jars with lids


One of the best-known trainers in the UK, Gordon is a freelance community environmental arts worker and author of ‘Talking to the Earth’ & ‘Sacred Animals’.


Please bring Packed lunch (tea & coffee provided)
Warm / waterproof clothing and boots/trainers
Notebook & pen


No refunds or credits for cancellations <28 days - see our terms & conditions for details


1. Email us here: please provide your contact details and how you would like to pay i.e. BACS or card
2. By phone: call 01803 868269 (message service when office unattended)
3. Online booking (Eventbrite fees apply) - coming soon

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