Tales in papier-mâché, knitting and stitch with Julie Arkell

Ref: S5D13311

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About this course

Explore ways to make creatures and their surroundings with a narrative, or to illustrate a story or poem. Use papier-mâché, fabric, wool, broken toys and found objects to develop quirky characters with a tale to tell.

Course Description

Stories, lists and poems all conjure up images. You will make books, creatures and objects to illustrate your chosen tale or theme, exploring easily accessible materials: papier-mâché, fabric, wool, broken toys and found objects, which can be combined to explore the narrative that we all have to tell.

You will work on an individual project, with guidance from the tutor on a one-to-one basis, as you develop your own narrative ideas. These are realised in three-dimensions, using papier-mâché in combination with a variety of other materials and making skills. These include:

• How to construct boxes, chairs, ladders and houses out of cardboard and then papier-mâché

• Embroidering words and imagery in wools and cotton

• Knitting accessories for creatures

The tutor will show how she makes the creatures, hand puppets, animals, trees, etc. that she is renowned for. These are often constructed from papier-mâché and cardboard, with sewn and knitted accessories. She will explain why she began to work with these materials, how her work has developed and talk about her inspirations. She will also give demonstrations on how she makes various pieces.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • Some additional materials supplied by the tutor for use by the group as a whole.

What students need to bring

  • Bring some narrative ideas or stories, which you would like to base your work on during the course.
  • Please also bring:
  • Papers, including vintage, or any interesting papers you have access to
  • Old newspapers (three is sufficient)
  • Mounting board – scraps
  • Cardboard boxes (also provided at the College, if difficult for you to transport)
  • Knitting wools and knitting needles
  • Fabric in small quantities and off-cuts, etc., and any decorative trimmings you may have
  • Sewing kit and darning needles
  • Scissors – paper and fabric
  • Any found or acquired objects you have and may like to incorporate
  • Old paperback book
  • Glue gun, if you have one (the tutor will also bring hers to share)
  • Drying rack (e.g. type used for cooling cakes)
  • A bradawl if you have one.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Masking tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Paints – gouache, watercolour

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.