Apprenticeships, Artist’s Residencies and Short Courses in 2024

We believe the best way to train liturgical artists is in the context of a thriving workshop. We offer practical training in a variety of media in this context. Training includes taught courses and short apprenticeships lasting from a week to several months.

If you have an interest in the techniques of traditional Christian iconography and want to broaden your practical experience, then these training opportunities are for you.

Both longer-term and short-term apprenticeships are a mixture of one-to-one tuition, practical studies and, where projects allow, paid work. There is currently funding available via a charitable trust to cover tuition and material costs.

The workshop is currently in the village of South Harting in the South Downs National Park, UK. South Harting is a 10 mins drive from Petersfield which is around an hour from London Waterloo by train. By the end of 2025 our aim is to have constructed a new workshop within the Chichester Cathedral Quarter.

For training at the Chichester Workshop please click here to submit no more than 500 words and 4 images of your work. For short courses off site please apply directly to the institutions where they are being held.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

10 to 20 weeks
From April 2024

An apprenticeship for anyone who has an initial grounding in liturgical art and who wants to develop their skills in a Workshop setting. 

The content of the apprenticeship is flexible according to what skills and experience the apprentice brings, and on what larger commissions may be on the go in the Workshop. Skills on offer for tuition include panel making, gesso, gilding, tempera painting, carving and mosaic which an apprentice may want to practice alongside commissions they may have. Tuition will be provided by resident artists Jim Blackstone and Martin Earle.

The cost of tuition has been covered by a charitable trust.

Click here for details of how to apply.
Deadline for applications: 26th November 2023

2 to 4 weeks

If you are an established liturgical artist and would like to join us in a residency lasting for a period of between two and four weeks, we would love to hear from you. All relevant skills are welcome, whether in painting, encaustic, sculpture in wood and stone, embroidery, architectural design – or other.

This is offered as an opportunity mutually to share skills and experience in a unique setting. It is anticipated that the residency artist would be working on their own commissioned or other work while in the Chichester Workshop; and there could be teaching options. The timing of the residency is flexible.

There may be some funding to support the residency which we can discuss through the application process.

Click here for details of how to apply.
Deadline for applications: 26th November 2023

3 weeks
Starting mid-January 2024 (flexible depending on your availability)

The short apprenticeship will be based around Martin’s commission to create a 150 x 60cm altarpiece depicting eight Cumbrian martyrs and Our Lady Star of the Sea. The apprenticeship will cover all the steps in constructing and preparing a large traditional timber panel for egg tempera including initial wood work, carving, gessoing and water-gilding. Around 35 hours of this apprenticeship will be paid work at £15/hr.

The cost of tuition has been covered by a charitable trust.

Click here for details of how to apply.
Deadline for applications: 17th November 2023

Up to 3 weeks
April 2024

Working alongside Jim as he works within a series of 6 commissioned 60 x 40cm icons. This short apprenticeship would especially suit someone with experience in painting wanting to explore liturgical art.

Skills covered include icon design and with egg tempera. The duration of this opportunity is up to 3 weeks, depending on the requirements and availability of the apprentice. After initial practice, the apprentice might design and paint a half figure in egg tempera on gesso (or more, according to experience).

The cost of tuition has been covered by a charitable trust.

Click here for details of how to apply.
Deadline for applications: 10th January 2023

2 weeks
May 2024

Work alongside Martin as he carves and polychromes a relief in oak of the Archangel Raphael for St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds.

This short apprenticeship is suitable for someone with previous experience in either icon painting or basic wood carving and would take place in May. The exact date is flexible depending on when you are available.

Skill covered may include tool sharpening, carving a face in oak and polychromy and water-gilding.

The cost of tuition has been covered by a charitable trust.

Click here for details of how to apply.
Deadline for applications: 10th January 2024.

2 weeks

Work alongside Jim as he makes a commissioned c.600x400mm mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Christ child. Suitable for beginners who ideally have experience in other liturgical arts.

Skills covered include mosaic design, selection of materials, cutting tesserae and the ‘Ravenna’ or ‘double direct’ method. After initial practice, the apprentice will make a study of a face using given works as creative reference.

The cost of tuition has been covered by a charitable trust.

Please click and register your interest to find out when the dates for this short apprenticeship are confirmed.

5 days
12 -16 February 2024 and
29 July – 2 August 2024

These five-day workshops will be taught by Martin at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London and provide an introduction to all aspects of traditional mosaic. By making two small mosaics, students will learn the principles with which Byzantine mosaics were designed and the techniques employed to realise them.

Students will use traditional materials, including glass tesserae from Murano in Venice and hand tools that have been in use since Roman times.

Full price: £385 (concessions available)

To book and for more info please visit the PFSTA website.

5 days
20-24 May and
16-20 September

In 2024 Aidan Hart will be running two five-day icon painting workshops at Walcot Hall in Lydbury North, Shropshire ( In the May workshop students will concentrate on the face by painting a head or a bust, and in September will paint a full figure with an emphasis on proportion and drapery. There will be a talk with slides at the beginning of each workshop. 

The course caters both for the inexperienced and the more experienced, on a first-come-first serve basis.

Price of tuition plus lunches: £550
Optional cost of on-site accommodation: £325

For more info and to apply please visit Aidan’s website.

3 days
4 – 6 October 2024

Jim is offering a ‘Painting Icons Workshop Retreat’ at Sarum College, Salisbury.

If you have ever wanted to learn the art of painting icons, this workshop retreat will offer a hands-on opportunity to get an introduction to the concepts and practice through a guided exercise in creating your own monochrome version by the end of the third day.

For more info please visit the Sarum College website.

PAST APPRENTICES Since February 2023 we have welcomed five apprentices to the Chichester Workshop. Mini-apprenticeships, lasting about a month, have been based around current commissions. Each apprentice has brought with them a different professional experience that they have sought to build on while learning how to apply their skills to liturgical work.

Our apprentices to date have included an illuminated manuscript artist who came to study the techniques of Byzantine mosaic; a cabinet maker who undertook three solid weeks of gessoing; a classically trained sculptor who wanted to learn more about egg tempera by assisting in the painting of a life-size crucifix; and a professional gilder seeking ways to broaden her practice. We have learnt as much from them as they have from us.

Training opportunities are flexible, so if you think you might benefit from a time in the Chichester Workshop please get in touch through the email address below.



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