Wild Twins: a live online expedition

Wild Twins is a course unique to the Wyrd School. Taught by novelist and poet Paul Kingsnorth, and wild materials artist Caroline Ross, it is based on a course we have run twice before, in the wilds of the west of Ireland. This covid-era version combines live online lessons, recorded films, and experiential exercises which will take you out into your local landscape. But Wild Twins ventures further than a bog-standard writing or art course. We are seeking magic, with the help of some unique tools …

The course

Over three weeks, this course will bring together adventurers from all over the world. You will be partnered with another writer or artist, working with them as well as on your own and with the wider group. Before the course begins, you will be sent a personal package of foraged and natural art materials – hand-made paper, fibres for cordage, goose feathers to make pens, natural pigments to make ink and paints – which you will use to make your own at and writing materials with which to respond to the wild world.

A colourful programme of online and live events will teach you how to: write or paint from the perspective of the non-human world; make ink from oak galls and brushes from feathers and sticks; understand imagery in storytelling; write with all your senses engaged; understand the essence and spirit of a place, and more. We’ll tell you old folk stories and ask you to respond to them in words or images. We’ll teach you about alchemy, how wild things move, how landscapes see, and how your art can vault beyond the human into the great otherness beyond.

Wild Twins is designed to help you to uncivilise your writing and art, listen to what the winds, the waves and the hedgerows have to say to you and rediscover the wild fire that lies beneath your practice. Whether you are an experienced writer or artist or a beginner, this course aims to help you step out of your comfort zone, into a place where wilder spirits roam. What will you find there – and what will you come back with?

The teachers

Paul Kingsnorth is an award-winning novelist, poet and essayist. He has published ten books, taking in fiction, non-fiction and poetry, with a wide array of publishers. He has won, or been nominated for, ten different prizes for his fiction, poetry and essays, ranging from the Man Booker Prize to the Wenlock Prize for Poetry. He has taught on writing courses, mentored writers and lectured on writing for – amongst others – the Arvon Foundation, the Faber Academy, the Professional Writing Academy, Schumacher College, the Westcountry School of Myth and Story, and Falmouth University, and has run writing and story courses in places as varied as the wilds of Dartmoor and the heart of New York City. From 2009 until 2017 he was co-founder and co-director of the Dark Mountain Project, a global network of writers and artists in search of new stories for an age of collapse. He is founder and director of the Wyrd School.

Caroline Ross trained at Bournemouth College of Art and Design, Kingston University and finally Chelsea School of Art for her MA. Abandoning the urban art scene of which she was part, from 1997-2015 she concentrated on drawing, making, learning earth skills, and researching ancient techniques and traditional art materials, particularly pre-Norman inks, tools and pigments. During this time and since then she has taught life drawing, painting, materials and crafts widely to people of all ages. In 2017 she collaborated with Paul on an illustrated version of his novel The Wake. Eschewing modern plastics and disposable tools, she now makes all her materials by hand from raw materials which she forages and collects in the wild, whenever possible. Her work is found in many issues of Dark Mountain, in Earth Island JournalFire Season Book and in many private collections in the USA and Europe. She is a member of The Wilderness Art Collective

How it works

Wild Twins takes place over three weeks, starting on Friday 25th April 2021, and ending on Sunday 15th May. The course consists of:

  • Four live sessions, via Zoom, with the teachers and your fellow students, including talks, practical teaching sessions on making materials, stortyelling and discussions.*
  • Eight pre-recorded films, to be viewed in your own time, in which Paul and Caroline will teach and set exercises.
  • Opportunities to work, in your own time, with a partner – another student on the course – to produce a final piece of work for presentation to the group.

* The dates of these four calls will be: Sunday 25th April; Wednesday 5th May; Saturday 8th May; and Saturday 15th May. The calls will take place at approximately 7.30pm GMT.

Cost and booking

Wild Twins is open to writers, artists and anyone in-between, whether experienced at their craft or just starting out. There are eighteen places available.

The cost of the three week course is €565 (approx £495, or US$675).

We are also offering three bursary places, for those who are unable to stretch to the full price. Each bursary costs €317 (approx £275, or US$375). To apply for a bursary place, please email us, explaining why you think you should be eligible. APOLOGIES: our bursary places for this course are now taken. If you’d like to be put on a waiting list for the next time we run this course, please email us.

To book a place please click here to send us an email.

Cancellation policy

To secure a place on the course, we ask for payment upfront, via Paypal or bank transfer. Our cancellation policy is as follows:

  • If you cancel your place before 10th March, we will refund you in full. 
  • If you cancel between 10th March and 10th April, we will refund your fee less €150 (this is to cover the cost of materials which will have already been prepared for you.)
  • If you cancel after 10th April, there will be no refund.

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