At the end of May 2023, Dearbhail attended the first of ten Building Conservation Masterclasses at West Dean College in West Sussex. This was the practical element of the Conservation and Repair of Plasters and Renders module.
In the weeks leading up to the practical sessions Dearbhail had completed the classroom element of the course. These sessions included studying the materials used for historic renders and plasters as well as various techniques of application. Issues relating to deterioration, assessment and repair were also covered. Through a number of Zoom sessions, the group discussed findings of a condition assessment task that was set as homework. All formed the groundwork for the practical sessions.
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is set in the most spectacular surroundings.
A link to the virtual tour of the area can be found here: https://www.westdean.org.uk/virtualtours
Practical sessions were at the ruinette and plastering bays where Dearbhail spent time mixing various mortar mixes and then using these to consolidate the walls of the ruinette and apply plaster and render coatings. Application of plaster to both solid stone backgrounds and timber lath backgrounds were undertaken as well as running a plaster moulding.
A fabulous few days in spectacular surroundings, Dearbhail has enjoyed the continued professional development and opportunity to work alongside other professionals and craftspeople.
The next module will be later this summer – check back in soon to see how it goes.