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Alchemy of Pigment and Pattern

with Dr David Cranswick and Daniel Docherty

25 - 29 November 2024

        Cost: £425  Time: 9.30 am - 5.00 pm
SAOG Studio, Emerson College, Forest Row, East Sussex, RH18 5JX
'"A great week!'

Learn the alchemy and processes involved in making your own set of watercolour and gouache paints.

The roots, berries and minerals that we will be precipitating, grinding and binding, all

have layered correspondences that link to the planetary archetypes.

Using compasses and straight-edge we will create mandalas that also resonate with the planetary patterns.

The symbolism and character of colour in different traditions will be explored as we apply our paints to patterns to reveal works of dazzling beauty to adorn the home and nourish the soul. 

We'll explore traditional palettes, colour theory and techniques and course participants will be

introduced to the language of colour and their archetypal realities.
Discover how to compose with colour through the use of harmonic triads, and how, through the use of major and minor relationships, one becomes aware of the profound correspondence between

chromatic structure and musical structure ... 

Further course details below ...

(Course details subject to change)

"I learned more in five days than in three years of art at university!"

To secure your place make a 50% course fee deposit today with the remaining course fee balance due no later than course commencementSee Paypal button below; alternatively make a bank transfer (details at top of Bookings page).

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Paint Alchemy
Natural pigment
Natural pigment and paint
Natural Pigment
Alchemy of Paint
Buckthorn Berry Pigment
Alchemy of Pigment and Pattern
Make your own paints
An amazing course ... Felt like Daniel and David were watering parched earth in me ...
November 2016 course participant
Alchemy of Pigment and Pattern
Paint making at SAOG Studios
Winter Rose
Paint making at SAOG Studios
Alchemy of Pigment and Pattern
Grinding lapis lazuli
Buckthorn Berry
Celestial Geometry Blessing
Celestial Geometry Blessing

The earth is the natural apothecary of the arts

The earth is the natural apothecary of the arts, hidden within its depths are all the variety of

pigments as seen in great works of art throughout the world.

During this workshop students will explore the traditional processes by which pure pigments are extracted from their natural sources in the form of earth, rocks, roots and berries, and how these are

then purified and transformed into pure pigments.

Working with the semi precious rocks such as Malachite, Azurite and Chrysocolla, as well as certain plants such as Madder root and Persian berry, students will discover first hand the miraculous processes by which these raw materials can be transformed into pure pigments and made into paint.

In the second part of this workshop students will learn about the traditional mediums and recipes used for making paints - watercolour (gum arabic), egg tempera, encaustic, casein and oil paint.

From this workshop students will gain a knowledge of how to make their own paints directly from nature and the integral connection of creativity to the natural world. (David Cranswick)

"Fantastic amazing course in all ways ... engaging, interesting, fun, friendly ... I learnt an incredible amount. Great depth. I feel inspired to paint and draw after so many years as well as to make more paints."
M. Mayne (Nov. 2016)

"I enjoyed the course so much, it was full of joy, learning, fun, thoughts. The variety of experiences and lessons were just amazing ... your hospitality and kindness was remarkable. I feel like home, the studio is full of positive energy, I didn't feel how time passed by; if I didn't need to go to sleep, I would have spent 24/7 there!!!"
Ghazaleh Khayat (June 2018)

The course was simply amazing! I have tears of gratitude just thinking about all I have learned in only five days: meaning, beauty, open-heartedness, sacred act of creation, connection to all that is. I loved the balance of geometry/pattern and pigment making. Learning from Daniel, Vija, Hana and Adam was incredible. Masters in their fields. They openly share their knowledge and craftsmanship with the group. I learned more in five days than in three years of art at university! It is real, connected, practical, loved, and invokes the spirit of curiosity and fuels inspiration. Magical. Daniel was so kind in letting us use his studio, stay later, which was brilliant.
I'd definitely like to attend more courses at SAOG Studios ...

Patricia Fitzgerald (June 2018)

'This has been the most amazing week ... magical is not a helpful adjective, but how else can one express the quality of a time that expands and contracts in such a delicate and organic, comfortable and respectful way? A place in which the flow of the day can fit inspiring thoughts and practical learning with such truth and beauty? Were one learns so much from lines, forms and inner alignment? Gratitude and Abundance is what I take with me from these days and I'm sure my learning will follow for many weeks to come. Thank you for such a nurturing and vital experience. I bow to you for you are true masters!' Ana Paula  (Dec. 2017)

'I feel inspired, overwhelmed, excited ... A wonderful therapeutic week, so much knowledge and new stuff and an array of beautiful colours. Thank you Daniel and David.' Molly Mahon (Dec. 2017)

'I feel on the Alchemy of Pigment and Pattern course that I was really entering into a deep organic process that was steeped in tradition and spiritually. I found it tremendously inspiring, nurturing and a deeply powerful experience - amazingly good!'  Dec. 2017 course participant

'I wanted to write to you both following my weeks course with you doing the "Alchemy of Pigment and pattern' ... I wanted to express to you how truly inspiring I thought it was.

Through my work as an artist, a designer, and previously as a teacher of art and artistic therapy, I am very much interested in the processes of alchemy and inner transformation through imagination and artistic work with a connection to nature. However, I have experienced a very long period of disillusionment and creative lostness. Your course has helped me to regain a depth of meaning, enthusiasm and direction. As teachers you both have a combination of talent, modesty and authenticity for which I am most grateful, as well as a relaxed environment in your studio full of books, learning, good conversation and creativity. I felt so at home and have left with a huge book list and bags of inspiration.

I feel that you have helped me to re-connect with all that is important to me and I wanted to express my gratitude to you both for a most excellent week. I hope that in the future I will be able to attend more of your courses.'

Jane  (Dec. 2017)

'Daniel, I really had the most special week. Listening to Hannah speak brought tears to my eyes and I wondered if maybe I had gone there just to hear her speak of art without ego and the enjoyment of discovery, but no, so much more.

-venue- 6/5 

I noticed the (angels) the way in which the space was held, certain anchors or reference points that were consistent in your work and have taken some clarification of that concept with me to use when the right space comes. Can u recommend any other well held schools or spaces that have inspired u that I should visit?  

-course content- 6/5

Rich very rich 


 A huge thank u to you, Vija, Adam and Hana for your time. A great week!'

Nathan (June 2018)

'I found this course to be a very fulfilling. It was very rich. I love the mix of different practices, and the combination with geometry. I also enjoyed the mix of teachers. I always enjoy the mix with philosophy and poetry. I prefer this to some teachers who are primarily technicians and not connected to the soul of this practice ...

There are lots of other SAOG courses that interest me! I'd love to do the one on labyrinths, and more on Moroccan and Persian Pattern.'

Lynn (June 2018)

I have been deeply touched on my journey with you both to discover & create pigments. It has brought into my awareness a forgotten magical, marvellous & sacred process. 

I shall never look at, think & feel the same way again about a work of Art created with Natural Pigments. The depth of the story & journey is immense. 


I feel I’ve been fine tuned & initiated into the sanctity & gifts that Mother Earth & The Cosmos has to offer, available only to those who are willing to take the time to honour this timely & devotional practice of making their own pigments. 


The Creation process of death, rebirth, dark & light, cleansing & purifying, transmutation & transformation has not only happened to my pigments but has happened in me during this process. It’s called for my attention, devotion, mindfulness, peacefulness, meditation, connection & presence while working with these incredible, illuminating substances which in turn has illuminated me! These are perhaps qualities that are in short supply in my hectic modern day life & I feel truly blessed to have had this experience, time with you & the opportunity to make with expert guidance, exceptional knowledge & in reverence my own palette to use. I feel blessed. 


With wholehearted thanks & great respect to you both. 

Sara (Dec. 2019)

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