Workshops and Lectures

From the Hands of Heroes: the story of the St Paul’s Cathedral First World War altar frontal

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Tutor: Stephen Barnard
Monday 19th Jun from 14:00 to 15:30
Cost £7

Currently on display at St Paul’s Cathedral is a beautifully embroidered altar frontal that was created in the last months of the First World War by severely disabled servicemen as part of their rehabilitation. It was used for the first time on the High Altar at St Paul’s, in the presence of the King and Queen, during a weekend of national thanksgiving in July 1919. Now painstakingly restored, it is on view to the public for the duration of the First World War centenary. The story of how the St Paul’s altar frontal came to be made touches on many different aspects of First World War history, such as the development of occupational therapy, the role and operation of military hospitals and how handicrafts were central to fund-raising. At its heart, however, is an inspiring story of how a group of wounded soldiers found solace and renewal with the aid of needle and thread. In this illustrated talk based on a newly published study of the embroidery, Letchworth Settlement lecturer Stephen Barnard explains how and why the frontal was commissioned and its context in early 20th century arts and crafts. He also relates some of the individual histories behind the frontal, including that of a Hertfordshire soldier treated at Chailey Hospital in Sussex, where an innovative handicrafts-based therapy called ‘educative convalescence’ was pioneered. Stephen Barnard is the author of ‘From the Hands of Heroes: The St Paul’s Cathedral First World War Altar Frontal and Memorial Book’, published November 2016.

Dovecotes and Rabbit Warrens

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Tutor: Anne Rowe
Wednesday 7th Jun from 10:00 to 12:00
Cost £9

The story of Dovecotes and Rabbit Warrens - and how luxury foods became urban and rural pests! Pigeons and rabbits are familiar to all of us but the dovecotes and warrens they once inhabited, while very common in the past, have now all but disappeared. The perhaps surprising history of these features and their former abundance in the Hertfordshire landscape will be revealed in an illustrated presentation by landscape historian Anne Rowe.

Icing animals and more

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Tutor: Tracey Merryweather
Thursday 13th Jul from 19:15 to 21:15
Cost £20

This sugar craft workshop is for those who want to be taught how to make icing animals, perfect to top birthday cakes and cupcakes. From penguins, dogs, monkeys to birds, this workshop will guide you through. Within 2 hours you will learn basic modelling and sugar craft techniques and how to effectively use colourings to create the perfect result. Enjoy crafting and a slice of cake with Tracey!

Creative Writing Workshop

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Tutor: Rosemary Hayes
Friday 16th Jun from 09:30 to 16:00
Cost £35

This full day workshop is not only a follow up for students who have already completed the five week course ‘Writing Fiction and Getting Published’, but also a ‘taster’ session for potential students. The workshop will include a variety of group and individual exercises followed by class discussions conducted in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. Previous students will also have a chance to discuss their work-in-progress with the tutor. Please bring a packed lunch!

The Ideal City - the Thoughts Behind the Planning from Renaissance Italy to the Modern Age

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Tutor: Annalisa Conway
Friday 7th Jul from 10:00 to 12:00
Cost £9

The ideology of a perfect city first came to popularity in Renaissance Italy. Cities such as Ferrara, Urbino and Pienza were all structured developments on existing cities. I will focus on the evolution of the ideal city in Renaissance Italy and delve into the architecture that 'the Ideal City' inspired in the following centuries.

Introduction to Silver Workshop (Beginners)

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Tutor: Kathy Taylor
Saturday 20th May from 09:30 to 13:00
Cost £38

In this half-day workshop for beginners you will learn how to work with Sterling silver, through preparing your piece, texturising using hammers and stamps, and simple soldering. You will make a pendant, shaped as a heart, circle, square or rectangle (measuring approx 25-35 mm) and two thin stacker rings to match or contrast. All of your silver items will be taken away by the tutor to be polished (this process will be explained during the workshop) and these will be delivered or posted to you the following week. The pendant will be suitable for wearing on a silver chain; a coloured chiffon necklace is included in the price of the workshop for you to take away and await your pendant's arrival.

Chinese Brush Painting - Crash Technique

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Tutor: Marion Dearlove
Saturday 1st Jul from 10:00 to 16:00
Cost £38

This workshop is suitable for those with some experience of Chinese brush painting. This technique was developed in the Song dynasty in China and was used to represent the patina on bronze vessels and the texture of the bark on pine trees. Once mastered, it can be applied to large leaves, vases, branches, flowers and landscapes.