Hugh likes to encourage others to develop their creative potential, as he has been fortunate in his life. He initiated a series of creative exercises while Artist in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and subsequently developed these with prison inmates, homeless men & women, asylum seekers and refugees.
In the last 10 years Hugh has been developing a series of workshops sharing more specific skills such as the Wallpaper Workshop, Cushion Design Workshop, The iPad Workshop, Collino Workshop and Sketchbook Workshop.
|15 May – 10 July||Exhibiting at The Human Form, Tincleton, DT2 8QR|
|16 - 23 May||Maison Rose Painting Week, near Cahors, S France|
|23 May – 19 June||Exhibiting at What Artists Really Do, West Bay, DT6 4EL|
|1 - 7 June||Fringe Arts Bath Festival. Bath Open prize at the 44AD Artspace BA1 1NN|
|3 June||Sketchbook Surgery 10-1pm West Bay DT6 4EL|
|5, 6, 7 June||The Other art Fair Bristol|
|12 - 14 June||Wallpaper Weekend Workshop, Lyme Regis DT7 3HR|
|28 June – 2 July||Collino Workshop, West Dean, PO18 0QZ|
|26 August||Lyme Lympics DT7|
|25 - 27 September||The Illustrated Traveller’s Sketchbook Weekend, Lyme Regis DT7 3HR|
|2 October – 8 November||Sketchbook Exhibition, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, TQ13 9AF|
|9 – 11 October||Wallpaper Master Class, Ruthin in Wales|
|15 – 18 October||The Other Art Fair alongside Frieze at The Truman Brewery|
|6, 7, 8 November||Wallpaper Weekend Workshop, Lyme Regis DT7 3HR|
|13, 14 November||Wallpaper Master Class, Plymouth College of Art|
|25 – 28 February||Wallpaper Weekend Workshop, West Dean, PO18 0QZ|
|15, 16, 17 April||Wallpaper Weekend Workshop, Little Place, Lyme Regis, DT7 3HR|
|16 – 19 June||The Illustrated Traveller’s Sketchbook Weekend, West Dean, PO18|
Cushion Design Workshop
Drawing on the tradition of block printed textiles from the mid twentieth century, you will develop and cut a lino block to print a single colour design onto natural organic Scottish linen.
You will be introduced to a spectrum of ideas from bold abstract to animals, or delicate florals to inspire your design. The merit of borders will be discussed, mark making and colourways introduced.
Before the end of the course you will print your block onto natural linen and be provided with backing enough to sew up your cushion cover at home. Natural feather cushion pads are available.
The iPad is compact, easy to use & fast - an excellent tool for rapid notation.
With one quick motion you change brush sizes and shapes, with pencils to pastels to spray painting to watercolours ready mixed on the largest palette ever.
You can work in multiple layers, which is more versatile than just using traditional washes.
The iPad screen is as big a sheet of paper as you want it to be - with a quick movement of the fingers, the virtual surface will zoom out from 30% to 800%, permitting the effortless enlargement of a drawing or a painting, so bold gestures, and minute details are easy to achieve.
What's not to like about the iPad?
The course is a marriage between the art of linocut printmaking and the art of collage. Lino is an easily accessible material to cut and print for quick results, defining simple drawings into bold prints suitable for this narrative medium. Individual elements will be combined to make up a strong composition, which will be complimented by common materials of collage.
Collinos are a combination of the observed, the imagined and the decorative, and these three elements will be explored individually and together. We can also use transfers, stencils, and rubber cuts in playing with image and design to arrive at a robust composition.
At the end of the course you will have new knowledge and experience of materials and process, developed confidence in composition, colour and texture, as well as working more intuitively to create collino prints.
Everything you need to know to master the art of keeping a sketchbook when you are out and about, or away from home.
A sketchbook is a very useful depository of fleeting impressions and notes recorded on the hoof. It is compact and the drawing tools are few and light. You will be amazed how much richer the impression of place or people is on your imagination when recorded in your own hand, rather than too easily snapped through a lens.
Price: £175 - All materials provided. Contact Hugh to book your place.
Wallpaper Weekend Workshop
Discover the elements of simple pattern and principles of turning a plant study into a design. Learn the theory of repeat patterns by cutting a block and printing a length by hand. No experience or equipment needed.
This article will give you an idea of what the course is like. Read Article →, and if you would like to try printing your won wallpaper at home then read this article from Coast Magazine: Print Your Own Wallpaper with Hugh Dunford Wood
Price: £250 - All materials provided. Contact Hugh to book your place.
The Human Touch
Excerpt from Gardens Illustrated a post on Gardens Illustrated. Posted here on 15th September 2016
Hugh Dunford Wood’s garden is a little gem, perched high above the golden cliffs and sparkling waters of Lyme Bay in Dorset. A small wood, which he calls Whistler’s Wood (the glass engraver Laurence Whistler once lived in the house), protects it from the worst of the wind, so that the roses and hollyhocks just nod gently in the breeze. Sometimes it serves as an outdoor studio, for drying off handprinted fabrics. But its principal benefit, in Hugh’s eyes, is that it offers daily inspiration for his beautiful handmade wallpapers. “I don’t have to go far to come up with new ideas,” he says.
The large magnolia tree planted by Whistler – the subject for a painting every spring – this year found its way into a wallpaper design. A rhythmic foliage pattern is inspired by Whistler’s Wood. Agapanthus and cardoons; honeysuckle and ivy; roses, cornflowers and ferns appear stylised, but clearly recognisable, on every richly papered wall. “Nature is the best designer possible,” says Hugh. “People always like to bring the outside in.”
"Hugh Dunford Wood’s handmade wallpapers, with their plant motifs and floral designs offer a warmth and integrity entirely absent from machined prints"
Hugh has found the most successful forms are trailing and sinuous. “Plants grow upwards towards the light, and in a room you want to be uplifted – but you don’t want a straight line going up, that looks plonky,” he says. “Back in the 1960s, there were all these bold new wallpapers with zigzags and wiggly lines. But it’s not terribly nice – it soon makes you feel a little seasick.” So Hugh’s patterns often suggest vines and ivies, the curve of a feather, the unfurling of a bud. But there are joyously playful patterns too – frolicking hares, a Rousseau-esque jungle scene, a jolly farrago of vintage footware. For his latest design, he has been sketching the long, twining tails of dormice. And living in Lyme Regis, as he does, a pattern of ammonites could scarcely be avoided…
Agapanthus and cardoons; honeysuckle and ivy; roses, cornflowers and ferns appear stylised, but clearly recognisable, on every richly papered wall.
Hugh began making wallpaper for his own use in the 1970s, when it was deeply out of fashion. He had learned block printing from his mentor, artist Peggy Angus, who used linocuts to produce tiles for the Festival of Britain in 1951 (and numerous other post-war projects including Gatwick Airport). “Wallpaper was such a no-no then: people used to shade their eyes when they came into my home, exclaiming there was too much pattern,” says Hugh. “But pattern should be like background music – offering the stimulation of different textures, without fighting what’s in front of it.”
“Nature is the best designer possible,” says Hugh
Hugh also works with lino blocks, printing on to 10m rolls of lining paper that he has previously painted (using household emulsion, which he colours himself). He brushes the paint on to the lino block in a second colour and presses it on to the paper with a four-inch handheld roller. Some of the larger blocks are too big for this process, in which case he leaps on to the table and presses them down with his feet. The pressing is repeated, stamp by stamp, so each one is subtly different, with small imperfections and gradations in tone. It is this that gives the papers a timeless quality that sits so well with old furniture – there’s a warm and settled feel about them, rather than crisply new. “You can see the maker’s hand in them,” says Hugh. “And that’s really important to me. It reflects humanity back to humans.”
Peaceable Kingdon Cushions - Top Drawer London
Excerpt from Top Drawer a post on Pink House by Rebecca Cole-Coker. Posted on 15th September 2016
As each season of new products approaches, I look forward to visiting the Top Drawer Show in London.
This is in the knowledge of course, that after so many years of trend spotting, I am extremely difficult to please, and find it hard to be ‘wowed’ by the products launched by the multitudinous companies that show their wares to the trade buyers at these shows.
However, I am the eternal optimist and turn up every time looking for that wonderful object, design or personal ‘click’ that makes me feel warm inside!
I am of course always drawn to the textile products, as that is my background, and this week chanced upon the stand of Peaceable Kingdom.
The Peaceable Kingdom cushion collections came about through the artist designer Hugh Dunford Wood creating an image of a cat for his daughter and subsequently grew into a range of lino block printed cushions.
Excerpt from Coast Magazine article:
Try it now...make your own wallpaper
After years of minimalism being the dominant trend in interiors, it’s refreshing to see wallpaper having a moment, heralding a return of warmth, wit and personality to our living spaces. We are now so used to seeing digital- or machine-printed papers, however, we forget that before such technological advances in the nineteenth century, the most common method of production was hand block-printing.
When wallcoverings are handmade in this way, the human touch creates patterns that are more texturally interesting than their uniform, modern-day equivalents – and they can, of course, be tailored to suit your own unique specifications. It is also surprisingly easy to have a go yourself, although developing rhythmic repeats and zinging colour contrasts is where the real skill and artistry comes in.
This is the low-tech approach favoured by artist Hugh Dunford Wood (a one-time apprentice of painter and designer Peggy Angus), who began selling his own distinctive designs from his studio in Lyme Regis a decade ago. He runs weekend courses here on the Jurassic Coast, too, for aspiring makers – and promises that anyone who can draw a map has sufficient ability to create their own wallpaper. Now it’s time to find out…
7pm ONE POTATO…
After knocking at the door to Hugh Dunford Wood’s studio – attached to the rear of his Georgian home, Little Place – it opens to reveal the artist himself, jazz playing on the stereo and four classmates already chatting, seated around two large craft tables. A cracking pace is set immediately when, with little introduction, Hugh announces, ‘We’re going to start with potatoes.’ He explains that this is the most basic form of printing – and an easy way of showing us one or two tricks. ‘You’ll be amazed by what you achieve this evening,’ he adds.
7.15pm KNIVES OUT
Hugh instructs us to cut our potatoes into square blocks (using a wood-carving knife set he’s given each of us) and make different marks on each half of the square. Using either red or black emulsion, we try out different print repeats. By making a half-rotation each time, for example, I produce a pattern that looks surprisingly like encaustic tiles. It is pleasing and compelling to watch this take shape. And, sure enough, when we wrap up at 9pm, there are proud smiles all round as we hang up our work – a bold display of zigzags, dots and diamonds.
10am TAKE A LEAF
It’s a rainy Saturday morning in Lyme Regis, but this does not dampen Hugh’s enthusiasm for taking us out into his sea-facing garden to collect the plant cuttings that will form the basis of our wallpaper designs. ‘There is no better teacher than nature,’ he confirms. Taking only as much as we need, we seek out leaves such as bamboo and ivy, which rise alternately out of the stem. These will work particularly well, as wallpaper patterns tend to lead the eye upwards.
10.30am COMMIT TO PAPER
Back in the studio, with our foliage laid out in front of us, it’s the moment I’ve been dreading: drawing freehand. (I can doodle adequately on a telephone pad, but that’s about it.) After discounting fennel and holm oak, I focus my attention on ivy, owing to its clearly recognisable silhouette. When something vaguely OK arrives on the paper, I’m caught admiring my work – ‘Don’t be self-satisfied with that,’ chides Hugh, good-naturedly. The purpose of this exercise is observation and I’m encouraged to keep on looking.
11.40am GUIDING PRINCIPLES
We break off from our work for a talk given by Hugh on wallpaper design and the technicalities of a half-drop repeat (which involves staggering your prints, like laying a brick wall). To illustrate further, he and wife Candida, an environmentalist also participating in the course, show us around their home to view Hugh’s wallcoverings in situ. There are iridescent silver plumes in the sitting room and swirling botanical patterns in the bedrooms (their home is also a B&B), all of which complement their collection of artworks – many of them by Hugh. We round off our tour with a shared lunch on the veranda.
2pm BOARD GAMES
Now we choose our lino boards – coursemate Mark, a youth worker and canoe instructor from Oxford, selects a large one for his drawings of spiky branches laden with sloes. I opt for something smaller-scale and start translating my sketches into a design to fit. I use ivy as the leading motif but, on Hugh’s advice, give the stem a snake-like curve for interest. I also add a coastal theme, with shells growing magically out of the foliage. The rhythm of creating a pattern is, apparently, something you have to get a feel for. ‘It’s like jazz,’ says Hugh.
3pm DRAWN AND QUARTERED
Hugh photocopies my finished design and cuts it into quarters so we can ensure it marries up every which way when repeat-printed. Then, using carbon paper, I trace and print the pattern onto my board (to my astonishment, it looks quite appealing) and I leave at 5pm with a huge sense of achievement.
10am GOUGE AWAY
This morning, we’re cutting away at our lino boards, following the outline of our designs using a V-shaped gouge. At least twice I make the schoolboy error of cutting towards myself and Hugh has to rush over with a plaster – but they are only superficial scratches and soon heal. While we are all busy hacking, Hugh gives a demonstration of how he works – he prints fast and can complete a roll in 45 minutes, which he drapes on racks hanging from the ceiling to dry.
11.30am DEVIL IN THE DETAIL
Next, I’m picking out details – the grooves in the shells and the veins in the leaves – all with the same gouge. Chocolate biscuits and a radio version of Under Milk Wood keep us powering on. Once my design is fully etched out, Hugh uses tracing paper to check one final time that everything matches up, then we stop for another shared repast on the terrace.
2pm WE HAVE LIFT OFF
Candida is the first to start printing, and the energy in the room lifts as she peels back her lino to reveal a maple-leaf design. It’s beautiful. Hugh marks the back of my lino with an arrow (showing which way is up) and we’re ready to go – I paint my board, place it on the paper and press down hard all over it with a roller. The first print is a bit faint, which is often the case with a dry board, but then the second comes out strong and, well, very wallpaper-like. ‘I think it’s a successful design,’ says Hugh. ‘Your eye is drawn equally to the leaves and the shells and it is not overwhelmed by the architecture of the stem.’ I’m thrilled.
3pm KEEP CRAFTING
More ‘big reveals’ follow: Glastonbury-based stone conservator Lucy’s elegant bamboo pattern is greeted by applause. Then we start experimenting with colour. I slather on a pale-blue emulsion and print on to red-painted lining paper – the result is something I’d be delighted to have in my home. The fact I don’t draw makes it even more precious to me. Hugh urges us not to stop there, as we make off with armfuls of paper: ‘Get out there and fill the world with pattern.’
Little Place, Silver Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset handmadewallpaper.co.uk The next Wallpaper Design Weekend Workshop can be seen near the top of this page, and costs £250 per person.
Originally published in the April 2015 issue of Coast.