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Art at the Eden Project

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What you'll learn

Botanical illustration is all about looking at plants in a traditional but exciting way. Here’s what you’ll be doing…

Introduction to botany: you will be given a half-day introduction to/refresher of the basic botany useful to the botanical illustrator, delivered by a member of the Eden Horticulture Team. 

An introduction to the history of botanical illustration: how the traditional methods of watercolour, pen and ink and graphite have been used for centuries and cannot be replaced by photography alone. 

Accurate drawing techniques: we’ll introduce you to accurate line-drawing and tonal shading to make your subject appear three-dimensional, as well as helping you arrange your subject on the paper. 

In a nutshell, you will have three days to concentrate on drawing and tonal shading, focusing on accuracy – the key to a beautiful illustration. Whilst attention to detail is important, botanical illustration is a very relaxing and enjoyable art form.

'Thank you... for your patient guidance and encouragement... We enjoyed every minute, and surprised ourselves with what we were able to achieve.'

Previous course participant

Who it's for

The course is suitable for both beginners and improvers. There will be a maximum of 10 people in this group.

What’s included:

  • Three days of expert tuition (10am – 4pm)
  • Materials*
  • Lunch and refreshments on each day
  • Entrance to the Eden Project

*We will provide drawing papers, plus tracing paper, 2H and HB pencils of professional quality, and a plastic eraser. We will have dividers and rulers to borrow on the day. A notebook may be useful. 

'Best botanical workshop I’ve been to in terms of proper constructive instructions and criticism. Brilliant plus friendly atmosphere.'

 Previous course participant

How to book your place

Booking for Members

To claim your 10% discount as an Eden Project Member, please log in to your account on our booking site before selecting Botanical Illustration from the ‘Courses’ menu. Alternatively, you can book your discounted place by calling the Membership team on 01726 811932.

About the tutor

Laura Silburn

Laura started botanical painting in 2008 after moving to Cornwall, where she was taught botanical watercolour technique by Mally Francis FLS, at Mally's studio in Heligan Gardens. Laura has been contributing to the Eden Project Florilegium Society archive since 2010 and is now a Fellow of the society and an active member of the society's committee. She has attended workshops, and taken inspiration from, many of the visiting lecturers at Eden including Rosie Sanders and Gillian Barlow. 

Laura has three times received a prestigious RHS Gold Medal for her botanical artwork, firstly at the RHS London Orchid and Botanical Art Show in 2013, then in 2014 at the RHS Shades of Autumn Show for six paintings of Aristolochia species, which also received the Best in Show award, and most recently in 2018 for her series on ferns. Laura now has work in the RHS Lindley Library and the Shirley Sherwood collection, which shows at the gallery in Kew Gardens, and has had work published in the RHS Plantsman, Cornwall Today and Eden Friends magazines.

In 2014 and 2016 Laura was invited to take part in the prestigious Transylvania Florilegium presently being created under the aegis of the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts to record in a permanent way the flora of Transylvania. Laura travelled with a group of artists to Romania to study the flora there and has since submitted seven paintings which have been accepted into the Transylvania Florilegium.

Laura continues to take inspiration from the diverse flora of Eden and considers herself lucky to have such a botanical treasure trove to work from.

Visit Laura's website

Keeping everyone safe

How we've made the course Covid-secure

In line with current regulations we have implemented the following measures for your course. These may change as the situation changes.

  • Venue: Big airy room exclusively for your use avoiding interaction with other visitors.
  • Use of our big screen for you to watch Laura’s demonstrations live, from a safe distance.
  • Socially distanced workstations. Laura will come to your table to offer feedback on your work. The tables are long enough that you can place your work at one end for her to look at before stepping away allowing you to retrieve your work.
  • Face coverings are required in indoor spaces at attractions like ours. Please bring your own and wear indoors. We will provide visors for you to use for the duration of the course if you find these easier to wear than masks. Laura will also be wearing a visor.
  • Any borrowed equipment – see below – will be yours to use for the duration of the course.
  • Enhanced overnight cleaning and additional measures such as pinning doors open to avoid unnecessary touching.

Future courses

We run these courses several times a year. To hear about future opportunities, please join our News and events mailing list.

We are also running a botanical painting course. in May.