Courses + Opportunities

We currently have no vacancies, but if you are interested in volunteering with us please see the Volunteer page.

Lettering as Art Competition + Masterclass

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft and The Arts Society (Mid Sussex) have teamed up to launch new a competition for budding young calligraphers and creative lettering artists aged 15-18 years old living or studying in Mid Sussex. With support from Cass Art, The Wynkyn de Worde Society and The Edward Johnston Foundation.

Ditchling has an incredible heritage in lettering arts. It was once home to the world-renowned calligrapher and typographer Edward Johnston (1872-1944) who designed the famous London Underground Typeface ‘Johnston Sans’ when he was here. Eric Gill, letter carver and designer of well know typefaces such as Gill Sans, Perpetua and Joanna, lived here for a time as did letter carver Joseph Cribb. John Skelton who was trained by Eric Gill worked just outside the village and his daughter Helen Mary Skelton still runs the letter and stone carving workshop.

You don’t need to be experienced in calligraphy or creative lettering, just keen to learn and interested in taking art or design at A-level or further.

Simply fill out a short application form and send up to three photos of pieces of your art/design that you are most proud of to by 1 July 2019.

To start the competition off we will be offering applicants a place on a free masterclass in calligraphy and creative lettering with experts in their fields:

Creative lettering with Patrick Knowles: Monday 12 August, 11am-4pm (12 places available)

Calligraphy with Patricia Gidney: Tuesday 13 August, 11am-4pm (12 places available)

After the masterclass, using what you have learnt we will set a competition where the two winners (one in calligraphy and one in creative lettering) will win £50 CASS Art voucher and a CASS Art goodie bag worth £40 and also get their winning designs made into post cards.

The deadline for the competition will be in early September and will be judged by a panel of experts:

Ewan Clayton (calligrapher), Patrick Knowles (calligrapher and creative lettering artist), Patricia Gidney (calligrapher), Steph Fuller (Director at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft), and members of The Arts Society.



1 Year Natural Dyeing Course with Jenny Dean

2019 – 2020

After a successful first year with 12 students completing the course culminating in a month long exhibition of their work at the museum this May; Colour Journeys: Natural Dyeing in Contemporary Practice. We are offering this course, which is one Sunday a month for a second year beginning on 28 September 2019. The course is available on an application basis only and the deadline for applications is 30 June 2019.

The workshop will be led by expert natural dyer Jenny Dean who has over forty years’ experience in this specialised field.

“This has been the most wonderful course: instructive, inspiring, stretching and profoundly valuable……I will be eternally grateful to have been chosen to be part of Year one.”

“This year has been so inspiring and enriching. It has been incredible to be part of such a lovely group and to have had such an opportunity to learn from your incredible knowledge.”

Course aims and description:

The aim of this comprehensive course is to teach participants how to prepare and use dyes from natural materials to dye both animal and vegetable fibres, following best practices to produce a full spectrum of consistent, fast colours. We will cover a wide range of mordanting and dyeing techniques and the use of colour modifiers; the dyes used will include all the classic traditional dyes, such as madder, weld, cochineal and indigo, and we will also use some dyes in extract form. Participants will learn how to grow, harvest, prepare and use plants for dyeing and how to test dyed samples for light- and wash-fastness. The course will also cover over-dyeing for compound colours and some decorative techniques, such as shibori and contact printing. This will be a hands-on course and the emphasis throughout will be on reliable, safe, environmentally-friendly methods.  All materials required for the taught components of the course will be provided and participants will also be able to bring some of their own materials for small samples.

Sundays: 10am – 4.30pm

29 September 2019

27 October 2019

17 November 2019

15 December 2019

19 January 2020

23 February 2020

22 March 2020

26 April 2020

17 May 2020

28 June 2020

19 July 2020

23 August 2020

Course fee:

There is a two-tier fee for the course.

  1. £250 for 12 days (£20.84 a session) – to be paid in advance or in two installments.

For people under 30 years old and setting up their own practice (only 4 places available at this rate).

  1. £500 for 12 days (£41.67 a session) – to be paid in advance or in two installments.

These fees include materials.

There is a £10 fee for a textbook ‘Colours from Nature’ by Jenny Dean, available to buy directly from Jenny Dean. (This edition has a spiral binding and will lie flat for ease of use.)

Please bring a packed lunch to each session.

Hot drinks and biscuits are supplied.

Each student will be required to:

Pass on their new skills in the form of running free workshops at the museum or as an outreach event. This will involve two days of your time, most likely at the weekend. Students are also asked to:

  • Log the course and allow the museum and Jenny Dean to use your photos and written descriptions.
  • Potentially take part in an exhibition at the end of the course.