Friday, 18 February 2011


Julie Arkell's paper mache course at West Dean was all I hoped it would be and more .... finally, I got to try my hand at papier mache and Im really pleased with the results ....

Show and Tell .......................... Getting ready ............... Little Duck Pull Toy

The method Julie taught us, an abridged version of her own due to drying times, was fast and allowed us to produce quite a lot of work quickly. By the end of the first day we had figures well on the go - built and with a first coat of newspaper. Day two saw us applying what would be our final coat of paper and Day three was finishing up and dressing the creatures before the show and tell! It was both exhausting and exhilarating with not a minute to spare. We worked all the time, stopping for breaks, lunch and dinner only and back to the studio at night, finishing between 10 and 11pm. It was a great group of women, all encouraging each other and completely focused on the production of our creatures!

Day One ...................................... Day Two ................................Day Three

I'd encourage everyone to take this course - its truly amazing how much you can produce in realitively little time. My clothes as you can see are rudimentary - it could be two days longer giving plenty of time to make outfits for the creatures but I will take my time and create their clothes and will post as they are completely finished!

Our Creatures ............. Julie, Danielle and some bemused visitors!
As you can see, there was a massive amount of work produced in barely 3 days and we were all completely captivated by our creatures and the work of fellow students.
love to all ... xxdi


  1. OH MY!!!!!!!!! What lovely creatures you made Di! I love them! I've been checking the blog constantly to see your photos...thank you! I'm so happy that you enjoyed the whole West Dean workshop experience. It is so hard to put into really need to experience it to understand it! Can you imagine growing up in that house? I hope you got to see the film on Edward James' life....quite sad really! How can I hire your chauffeur?!!!!!!!!! LOVE- Oolie

  2. So lovely Di! Its great to see Julie and Danielle in the background of one of your photos too. The creatures look so beautiful, really wish I was there. Jealous.

  3. Jealous too!!!
    The characters look awesome, would like to take photos of them:)
    Next year I want to go to West Dean!
    Let's all meet there!

  4. Thanks girls! Oh yes becky let's have a pantry violet reunion doing paper mâché at west dean! Fantastic - I'm definitely on it!

  5. Wonderful pictures Di. Thanks for going and sharing. Count me in for next year. Would you go again? Let me know as soon as registration begins if you (and/or other violets go)go. It sounds like a wonderful experience.

  6. Oh P.S. Your pieces came out wonderful!!!

  7. Definitely will Taylor! I'd go on it again tomorrow - so fabulous - very intensive and exhilarating - we can stay on extra days to and finish off our creatures! I will let u know as soon as we can sign up. Will be sending pics etc and info this week! Xxdi

  8. The photos have come out so well, although they do not show just how fantastic your creatures were Di, they had such a quirky life like quality to them, you must carry on with this technique,it should be your thing!
    What a great idea for us all to meet at West Dean next year...we can all keep an eye out for the dates to book,and go mad in Surrey!

  9. is that like going mad in Dorset?

  10. I cannot believe that I was not there!
    I can't believe that Oolie missed it (sorry Oolie)
    I am "ON" for next year, unless we can get Julie to come to Los Poblanos to teach papier-mache in New Mexico.
    How wonderful that we are continuing our connection AND HOW FABULOUS ARE THOSE AMAZING PIECES YOU MADE, Di?!!!???!???

    wow.....I am jealous TOO!
    and missing you ALL!!!!!!

  11. I really loved it Jone! But not as much as I would love doing paper mâché in a room full of pantry violets! Xxdi