Lots of artistic people have drawn inspiration from the Shropshire Hills – in paint, in words and in creative crafts.
You can learn from those who have chosen to make their creative homes in the area by participating in one or more of the many courses on offer, courtesy of enthusiastic tutors at a number of different venues.
Here’s a summary of some of the opportunities.
Besides its repertoire of country craft learning, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm also offers courses that fall more easily beneath the more traditional arts and crafts banner. Many of these are one-day learning experiences, such as Autumn Preserves, Breadmaking, Winter Preserves, Citrus Preserves, Classic Condiments, Spinning, Mosaics, Patchwork and Quilting.
Bobby Britnell is a textile artist, designer and teacher who offers a wide range of artistic courses from her studios in a 400-year-old farmhouse, near Newcastle on Clun. Most courses are tutored by specialists over two to four sessions, and the wide choice of subjects ranges from drawing (taught by Bobby herself) and landscape painting, to textile dyeing and making lampshades. Longer courses are run in groups on a monthly basis. Accommodation options in the area include the White Horse, Clun.
Westhope College, set in in its own gardens, near Craven Arms, provides an extraordinarily wide range of courses in craft subjects as diverse as philosophy and “hygge” – the Danish word for feeling special! The college has been going for more than 35 years and runs about 120 short courses each year, many of them leading City and Guilds qualifications. Bursaries may be available to help with course fees. There is accommodation for up to 15 people at the college, for both weekend and summer residential courses, or you can, of course, stay in the area.
If you yearn to release your inner literary self, then the Arvon centre at the Hurst – the former home of playwright, John Osborne (of Angry Young Men fame) – could be just the place for you. It offers a range of residential courses in a variety of writing disciplines, including comedy, fiction, film and TV, song-writing and poetry. Its Writers’ Retreat at the Clockhouse also operates as a self-contained retreat with four suites, offering more established writers the chance to work without distraction.
You can also draw inspiration from the work of the many arts and craftspeople who have chosen the Shropshire Hills as their creative inspiration. Among creative work that is free to view are sculptures by Roj Williams, in and around Bishop’s Castle.
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