Water in woodcuts with Merlyn Chesterman


Ref: S5D11140

Suitable for all

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About this course

Play with light and movement on water. Printing in woodcut you will explore ripples, sparkles, swirls and the ways in which water patterns delight us.

Course Description

Gathering patterns from nature and translating them into printed forms is a wonderful and exciting process. Working with water and light has long been a fascination for artists.

You will draw inspiration from the streams and ponds of West Dean Gardens and from the work of past masters. The tutor also encourages you to bring your own source material. You will be studying the work of masters of both Eastern and Western traditions to help you make your interpretations. Techniques will be discussed to help you to cut blocks in a method sympathetic to the medium, and about scale and form.

You will be encouraged to experiment on a small scale, working quickly and sharing results. You may produce a series of small black and white prints before undertaking larger work to develop your skills and confidence.

There will be demonstrations and informal group discussions throughout the course. Materials and techniques covered include use of tools, tool sharpening, inks and the use of opaque and translucent inks, registration for multi-block printing, and the use of different papers.

The course will enable you to use the tools and materials in a free, purposeful manner, and to develop an artistic vocabulary within this medium. You will also be able to print by hand, using burnishers and with a press.


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


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the basic materials to be shared amongst the group. An additional charge will be made to students wishing to purchase specialist tools and papers.

What students need to bring

  • Apron or work shirt

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Inexpensive pencil-type cutting tools
  • A range of papers
  • Sketchbook
  • Soft pencil
  • Chalk
  • Available from tutor:
  • Specialist tools, wood and papers


Merlyn Chesterman

Merlyn Chesterman is a woodblock printmaker. She trained in Fine Art at Bath Academy of Art. She has a Dip Ed and has taught at West Dean since 2005. Merlyn has a studio in North Devon, and her woodcuts are exhibited worldwide.

She is a Senior Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, and in 2014 set up Pine Feroda, a group of 4 printmakers who work collaboratively to produce large-scale woodcuts. Merlyn has recently completed residencies in Hangzhou China, Hong Kong and Sweden, and is co-author of the book 'Making Woodblock Prints', published by Crowood Press.


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

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