THE METAL Art School was buzzing on its opening day last week, with a wealth of visitors roaming in and out to see what was in store.

Of course the Echo swung by to see what was on the agenda, and was greeted by an eclectic programme of workshops and courses.

From evening courses in creative journal writing, to taking an NVQ in horticulture, from summer schools to Arts Award courses, there is an array of choices for all ages and interests.

You can find out more by visiting, or you can drop in at the premises, in Chalkwell Park, Westcliff.

Some which are coming up soon:

SARA Grundy is running a Millinery Atelier at the Metal Art School.

The professional milliner, who has worked for the likes of John Galliano and for films including Pirates of the Caribbean, is beginning the six week course from Monday May 16.

For beginners and beyond, its promised there will be tailored tuition to suit all levels.

Skills learned will include hat design, pattern making, blocking, wire work, trimming, flower making and veil making, and will work with traditional hat making techniques using felt, straw and other fabric in a range of styles from fascinators to vintage hats.

The course will run for the first six weeks every Monday from 12:15pm until 3:15pm.

Contact Sara on 07754 142361 or for booking and further details.

Course fee: £150

IF you have a desire to create stunning fashion, a fashion skills workshop could be for you.

Lou Cox, who has been teaching in fashion skills for 15 years, is putting out feelers for prospective students to contact her, with a view to starting the course soon.

She said: "I want to take small group sizes, and give an approximate estimate that the course will cost £150 for six or seven weeks."

The course will include fashion illustration, portfolio building, beginners pattern cutting and sewing and advanced pattern cutting and sewing.

For more information contact Lou Cox on 07843 430329 or email her at

A PUPIL enrichment pilot course in tradition life drawing starts on Monday May 16.

Expert and academic tuition will be given to those who want to develop their portfolios.

The course is £100.

Contact Sara Grundy at for further details.

CHALK Collective is an artist community meetup for professionals and amateurs.

It involves critique sessions, talks and tea, and serves as a preparation initiative to apply for Metal's TOMA MA course.

The event will take place on the last Wednesday of every month, starting May 25 at 7.30-9p,.

The fee is £1.

Contact Michelle Cass for booking and further details on 07840144042 or

LITTLE Artists is a creative workshop for the under twos.

Your budding mini Picasso's and Caravaggio's can be let loose to express themselves, and you, as parents can rest assured they are completely safe - even the paint has been home made so it is completely non toxic.

The workshop will be run by Katharine Pond. She explained: "Little Artists is about offering a tactile environment where very young children under two years old with their parent or carer, can explore different materials and mark making. Children of this age learn by putting everything in their mouths so the materials need to be edible.

"I make edible finger paints with a variety of things, jelly crystals, non dairy aerosol cream, cornflour and water coloured with home made natural food colouring using beetroot, spinach, blueberries etc.

"Children are naturally creative and they will be given the materials, time and freedom to develop their creativity at their own pace.

"Metal Art School is the perfect environment to offer these creative workshops in."

It takes place at 10am - 11am or 11:30am - 12:30pm on Friday June 3 and Friday July 1.

Booking is essential with prices at £6 per child.

Contact Katharine on 07941 374587 or for booking and further information