Nature journal – a springboard for creativity and textiles with Zoe Burt

Ref: SWE32326

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About this course

Connect with nature as you explore a range of techniques using seasonally foraged and dried materials to make inks, brushes, cyanotypes and natural dyes. Observational and sensory techniques will be creatively utilised to deepen your awareness of the environment.

Course Description

Enjoy connecting with others and the elements to create a foundation of creative ideas to spring from. This course will deepen your connection to nature and encourage you to try out exciting methods to develop unique new works. Your Nature Journal book will be a useful resource to work in, alongside further experiments on paper and fabric.

You will be inspired through seasonal creative activities, gain insight into the history, science and folklore of heritage techniques and explore how to journal and connect with your environment.

Learn how to develop unique cyanotype prints from guided experimentation. Discover how to make a beautiful swatch card of colours from heritage and foraged botanicals. You will draw and collage with papers made with plant inks, and mindfully atune to your environment through observational and sensory drawing. Explore methods to free up your mark-making and pattern building.

By the end of the course, you will have gained confidence in creating colours from nature on fabric and paper, learnt how to prepare a light sensitive solution and how to apply it successfully, and deepened your knowledge of process and practice in seasonally connected activities.

First evening 8 – 9pm

The first evening will be an introduction and overview to the course. You will learn how to mix a light sensitive solution and apply it to paper, ready for the following day.

On the first full day, you will explore how to make cyanotypes and try out methods to cultivate imagery. Learn how to brown tone. Using botanical inks, you will do experimental drawing.

On the second day, you will investigate colours from nature using heritage and seasonally foraged botanical matter to make dyes. Playing with simple kitchen chemistry, you will see how to extend the colour palette for a range of harmonious hues. There will be space and time to make field notes in your nature journal and personalise the experience individually and collectively in a supportive and stimulating environment.


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


  • A selection of basic drawing materials, paper and materials to make dyes will be provided, and a copy of the tutor’s Nature Journal book to inspire.

What students need to bring

  • Apron, gloves, pen to write notes
  • Anything small you wish to print with, such as pressed flowers or black and white acetate prints, postcard size, for making cyanotypes
  • Wet weather protection/clothing for foraging in the garden
  • Fabric and paper scissors
  • Pencils, drawing materials, paintbrushes and items listed below, if you have them

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A wide selection of paper and paintbrushes
  • Pencils, fine black pens, black marker pens
  • Cutting knives
  • Some undyed cotton lawn/calico/silk/scrim fabric

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Zoe Burt

Zoë Burt is a tutor with over 20 years experience. She has tailor made workshops for several spaces including RHS and Tate. She trained at Central St. Martins in Textile Design. Art residencies shifted her creative practice via collaboration and research through a lens of sustainability. Nature Journal, co-authored by Marianne Wie sold at V&A.


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.