Poetry of decay – an introduction to mixed media surfaces with Christine Chester

Art textiles

Ref: S2D11226

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About this course

Create a range of small paper-based studies based on your own images of weathered surfaces. These enable you to layer experiments and materials quickly, to gain an understanding of mixed media processes.

Course Description

How often do you take photographs of peeling paint, lichen, rusting metal, weathered rock surfaces and neglected buildings as inspiration, but then need to find a way to use them. In this mixed media course you will be introduced to some materials and processes that will help you to create rich and textured surfaces based on the inspiration found in your own photographs. Explore how to interpret those beautiful marks on paper and discuss how to take these experiments through to fabric.

Working on paper you will experiment with a variety of media including paints, inks, dyes, oil pastel, puff binder and rusting powder. Your series of small paper-based studies will enable you to layer experiments and materials quickly, creating an understanding of your media. Your papers will be combined towards the end of the course by looking at how to put together a series of images into small book form. This will provide a record of your experiments.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The cost materials provided by the tutor, including matte medium, walnut ink, black and white drawing ink, gel medium, gesso, puff binder, rusting powder, bronzing powders, procion dyes.

What students need to bring

  • Six photos printed on to photographic quality paper (6”x4” standard photo size) – images of peeling paint, rust, lichen, moss on stone, distressed walls, decaying surfaces. Please note this workshop will have a limited palette of blacks, browns, orange and blues and so photographs should be limited as much as possible to that palette.
  • One pack of 100 plain white cards (6” x 4”) – 200-220 gsm only – if you can not get hold of 200gsm postcards then cut up 200gsm cartridge paper into 6”x4” pieces – they need to be exactly the same size as your photos.
  • One black and one white oil pastel, plus optional rusty brown
  • 8-10 1” Foam brushes and a decorators paint brush – 1” size
  • 8-10 Small pots – egg cup size. Please do not bring large yoghurt pots as these take up too much space and media
  • Small selection of favourite mark-making tools
  • Small pieces of any interesting Japanese, lace or craft papers that you have already in your collection

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Quink ink – black
  • Oil Pastels (eg black, white, rusty brown)
  • White tissue paper and a wide range of other papers
  • Decorators paint brush – 1” size


Christine Chester

Christine Chester is an artist and teacher working from a textile studio in Eastbourne, having previously worked for 20 years in the Adult and FE sector. After being accepted into several juried competitions, Christine has a solo gallery at Festival of Quilts this year, alongside working to complete her Masters degree.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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