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Wealden Literary Festival

Boldshaves, Woodchurch, Ashford, Kent TN26 3RA


Sunday 25th June

10:45pm - 12:45pm


Book via:

Join artist Polly Bennett for a pigment making workshop using natural materials found in the surrounding area to create artist's pigments.


On this pigment making workshop participants will learn how to grind and purify natural earth pigment and subsequently turn the finished pigment into paint. The pigment used will come from earth sourced from nearby the location of the workshop, i.e. garden, woodland, the Thames, etc, celebrating a sense of place and environmentally-friendly practices. At the end of the workshop, you will take home a hand-painted colour chart, purified pigment and watercolour paint. 

IMPORTANT: Please bring a glass jar and lid. Everything else is provided.

On the workshop participants learn:

• The historical origins of pigment

• Responsibilities and health & safety of collecting natural materials and processing pigment

• About different binders, specifically gum arabic and its history and sustainability

• About different types of natural pigment: mineral (inc. shell - calcium carbonate), metal compound, animal, plant, charcoal

• How to identify and use natural artist materials

• How to grind, sieve and purify mineral into pigment

• How to create watercolour paint with raw pigment

Participants take home:

• Handout with notes and reading recommendations

• Hand-painted colour wheel

• Watercolour paint

• Purified pigment that they can continue to purify more at home

The use of pigments is ingrained in human civilisation, having provided us with the means of expression since prehistoric times.The oldest known use of pigments is a recently found cave painting of a wild pig, found in a cave in Indonesia, made at least 45,500 years ago. The first pigments to beused by man were yellow earth (ochre), red earth (ochre), white chalk, bone white (burning bone), bone black (charred bone) and carbon/lamp black (soot of burning animal fats). A lot humbler than the options we have today, and that much more connected to Earth.

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