The place for original handmade prints and printmaking courses taught by Carol Nunan

Inspirational Northumbria

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Inspirational Northumbria - a summer printmaking retreat in the wilds of Northumberland exploring creativity, collagraph printmaking, learning a new skill, relaxing doing something you really enjoy, playing with colour, pattern and texture in good company with good food and comfortable accommodation“Inspirational Northumbria”

The summer printmaking retreat this August 2017.


The retreat runs from August 7 to August 10. It offers the chance to try something new for beginners or practiced printmakers. The days allow for gathering inspiration via sketching or photographs of some stunning landscape and/or the details – architectural or natural – drawn from the surroundings in the beautiful village of Blanchland. It is the perfect way to spend quality time with someone you love.


Here is a golden opportunity to completely immerse yourself in the creative process, engage with the landscape, the interiors of Blanchland Abbey and the Abbot’s lodge, guest house and grounds that is now The Lord Crewe Arms and with the village itself, collecting material with which to work. Back in my studio I’ll suggest different ways to interpret the groundwork you’ve laid and delve into collagraph printmaking to translate your ideas into print.


The course is based on collagraph printmaking. Founded on your gathered research, I will walk and talk you through alternative approaches – demonstrating a painterly route or one with more precision – using carborundum and PVA, wood filler, scored surface of mount board or alternative substrates like wood ply or metal plates to achieve the best final result.


On arrival your first half day will be devoted to getting acquainted with your fellow course participants at afternoon tea in the garden (weather permitting) or pre-dinner drinks (which of these will be finalised closer to the time). You’ll get a chance to familiarise yourself with your surroundings once everyone has arrived, with a brief tour of the nooks and crannies of The Lord Crewe, the abbey and the immediate surrounding area from whence you’ll be able to collect inspiration over the coming days. Even if it rains, the hotel and abbey offer plenty of indoor options but, if you’re game enough to brave the outdoors, the landscape is beautiful even in the rain. I’ll bring examples of prints and plates as examples of what we’ll be doing and talk through the outline of the course.

Back in the studio you’ll learn to PLAY with colour … pattern .. texture … to make beautiful prints to be proud of no matter what your level of experience.

And in the evenings … well, there is good company and good conversation over a glass of wine in The Crypt, the medieval vaulted chamber that is the pub before going up the sweeping stone staircase into dinner in the Bishop’s Dining Room to evening feasts of delicious locally sourced food and produce grown in the hotel gardens. It gets dark pretty late up here in these northern parts but, if you still have the energy on a clear night, you might want to step out and stand in awe of the stars in the night sky before turning in for the night to your Lord Crewe ‘cosy’. “Dotted between the main house, the miners cottages and with one sitting snug a hop-skip-and-a-jump across the road into the eaves of The Angel, all of our homey spots are sweetened with Roberts radios, sleepy linen and a YUM slab of local fudge.” I’ve stayed at The Lord Crewe myself and I can assure you the beds are very comfortable and the fudge is delicious!Seed Heads - 179 a collagraph print using gesso, paper cut out, wood filler and mount boardThe Hill of Odin - 171 A collagraph print created using wood filler, carborundum, PVA glue with Queen Anne Lace flowers in the foreground0169 Sycamore Gap from the Roadside A collagraph print created on mountboard using gesso, PVA glue, carborundum and scored card with monotype grasses in the foreground



  1. Sheree Witts June 28, 2017 Reply

    Hi Carol,
    I can’t see a price for this course, can you let me know how much it would be?


    • Author
      Carol Nunan July 3, 2017 Reply

      Hi Sheree,
      Apologies for not replying straight away. The prices were here Look under the PRICES tab. However the course did not receive enough bookings before the hotel’s deadline when they needed the rooms back. I am planning to do this again next year though either with The Lord Crewe Arms or altenative accommodation provider based very close to the National Trust property, Wallington Hall. If you would like to be on the mailing lisyt you will get an early heads up towards the end of this year, early next year.

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