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GemArts Cultural Threads at Springbank Pavillion

GemArts Cultural Threads at Springbank Pavillion

Day/Time: Thursday, 2PM - 4PM
Dates: Every Thursday beginning 18th April
Venue: Springbank Pavilion, Leazes Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4BJ
Cost: FREE
Boxoffice: Book online or Drop in 

Gem Arts host Cultural Threads - Thursdays 2-4pm free

GemArts have various Cultural Threads artists delivering sessions at Springbank Pavilion in Leazes Park. Come along and join us in exploring collage, print making and textile work.

GemArts Cultural Threads workshops are designed for you to learn some of the craft and get creative in the process. Dive into traditional dyeing techniques from around the world while exploring how you can use them and how they can work for you. Natural dyes are a mix of science and wisdom, so whether you feel creative or analytical there's space for you in the dyers kitchen.

All abilities welcome.

Please note: If you are planning to attend the session with under 16s, please email us in advance to check capacity as there are limited spaces. Please note that there has to be active supervision by the responsible adults at all times.

Cancellation: The sessions are very popular and tickets are limited, so please do let us know if you are not able to attend. This will allow us to offer any unused tickets to people on the waiting list. You can let us know that you are not able to attend by emailing us at

Here's a summary of the session to be held each Thursday between 18 April and 12 September by GemArts at Springbank Pavilion.


Colour and Nature

6 week term beginning 18 April, 2-4pm

Join artist Katie Pollard for a series of workshops exploring how we can incorporate natural colour and pigment into your creative projects. Each workshop will cover a different approach, attend each workshop to develop your practice or dip into a workshop to explore a specific skill.

Suitable for artists and stitchers with no experience or those wanting to refresh their practice. A similar workshop would cost up to £45 per session.


Week 1 Natural dyes on paper, use a range of pigments and washes to prepare textured paper for projects. Take your work home to dry or leave it with us for next week's project.

Week 2 Collage and bundle dying, using our pre-dyed papers we'll make botanical inspired collages based on the stunning landscape of the park. While we work we'll also make our own bundle or eco dyes to test different pigments on cotton.

Week 3 - Natural ink drawings, Learn how to make a natural ink colour wash and experiment with creating your own botanical drawings as we explore the wild and planted landscape around us.

Week 4 - Planting natural dyes, learn the basics of natural dye gardening by planting out your own seedlings and nursery pots to cultivate at home. Find out more about the plants around us in the park can offer dye potential.

Week 5 - Bundle dyes and natural inks- Create your own artwork with pre-made plant-based inks made from grown and gathered materials and learn the method to make your own. We'll also be bundle dying with dry and fresh materials to build on our knowledge.

Week 6 - Group preference- this week's activity will be chosen by participants, let us know what techniques you would like to learn or develop and Katie will put together an inspiring activity to get stuck into.


Illustration and Nature

6 week term beginning 13 June, 2-4pm

Over six weeks artist Benji Spence will explore the landscape of Leazes park and provide tools, techniques and approaches to harness the natural landscape in your illustrative practice. Over six weeks you’ll develop a portfolio of illustration using printing, sketching, collage and more.

Suitable for makers and illustrators at all levels. A similar workshop would cost £30 per session.


Week 1: Fluro Flora- make plant collages using risograph prints

Week 2: Block Flocks- make block prints of local birds

Week 3: Found Fauna- still life sketching of plant life from the park

Week 4: Place Making- create illustrated maps of the park and surrounding area

Week 5: Fantastic Beasts- design and paint a chimera of different local wildlife

Week 6: A Walk in the Park- create a concertina drawing of your experiences walking in the park


Forest craft with Pui

6 week term beginning 8 August, 2-4pm

This adult workshop is perfect for those wanting to spend time outside making this summer. With artist Pui Lee you’ll seek out inspiration from the landscape and respond with unusual natural materials. Each week will see a different technique or material used- drop in for a specific workshop or spend the whole term learning and making.

These relaxed workshops are designed for all levels of experience- take part to relax or to learn. A similar workshop would usually cost £30 per session.

Week 1: Natural Collage- create a layered image using found materials, your own textured imagery and ink to reflect on the local landscape of the park

Week 2: Natural dyes and pigments- add colour to your sketch book with natural pigments, explore different ways of mixing them to create washes, inks and solid colour

Week 3: Mandala- explore ways to make patterns with materials found in the park, create a collaborative mandala and a permanent keepsake

Week 4: Den Building- as adults, we don’t get to make dens and hideaways very often, revisit this favourite activity with artist Pui Lee, sharing skills and techniques for creative comfort in the wild!

Week 5: Forest Bathing and Comfort- Forest Bathing, or Shinrin Yoku in Japanese, is the practice of mindfulness in nature, in this workshop you’ll try your hand at forest bathing and make objects to help relax while observing the natural world.

Week 6: Collaborative workshop- for our final forestry school session Pui will be taking suggestions and providing activities that will help you keep learning, making and exploring the natural world.

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