The Cowley’s experience

For those who don’t know, William Cowley’s is the last remaining vellum maker in the UK and the only one in the world to hand-finish the skins. They make  use of the skins left over from our meat consumption, so that almost none of the animal is wasted. That is an important fact; no animal is slaughtered for the production of vellum. It is a waste product that would otherwise go to land-fill.

Today, four botanical artists and a self-proclaimed bag-man visited Cowley’s. We were looked after royally. I think in fact that they will need a day to recover from our visit!

Welcome at Cowley's
Welcome at Cowley’s
Gaynor, starting the preparation.
Gaynor, starting the preparation.
Dianne Sutherland making her own vellum
Dianne Sutherland shaving her own vellum
Sarah Morrish thinking about her bugs and beasties for her vellum.
Sarah Morrish thinking about her bugs and beasties for her vellum.
Robin, no longer bag-man, but preparer of vellum.
Robin, no longer bag-man, but preparer of vellum.
What happens if this goes through the skin?
What happens if this goes through the skin?
Shevaun Doherty found this Ooooh worthy!
Shevaun Doherty found this Ooooh worthy!
Paul, catering to all our needs!
Paul, catering to all our needs!
Four happy botanical artists.
Four very happy botanical artists.
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5 thoughts on “The Cowley’s experience

    1. Hei Rebecca, Sorry I didn’t see your message before. I agree that vellum is expensive, but it isn’t expensive in relation to all the effort that goes into producing it in a manner for us to paint on. Also, it can potentially last for thousands of years – which paper won’t do, and if your picture isn’t going as intended you can erase what you have done and start all,over again. Particularly when you are learning how to get the most out of it, it’s a useful thing to be able to do. But of course as it is easy to erase I TIM ally, one has to be very careful when painting on it. The paint lies on the surface, that’s why the colour looks so luminous. Anyway, I hope you get to try it out before to long. Gaynor

  1. Lucky girls (and Robin), had a try on vellum with Sarah M and it was lovely even with my very limited water colour skills!

    1. You can buy it directly from Cowley’s Tone. They have a website:http://www.williamcowley.co.uk. But, it is best with watercolour used as dry as possible. I have tried coloured pencil on it and although it sits, you can’t get fine detail or really dark mixes with it. But this may be something one can look into and it may need a slightly different technique.

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