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Shepherds Hut

Journal 2 March 2021

Students on the Building Arts Programme complete construction of a traditional-style Shepherd’s Hut

Students of The Prince’s Foundation’s Building Arts Programme have completed construction of a traditional-style Shepherd’s Hut at Dumfries House, which showcases the diverse skillset and high quality of work in the creation of stained-glass windows, timberframing, naturally-dyed wool, and encaustic tiles.

The mobile structure will be used as a prototype to exhibit the range of skills learned and honed by students of the programme, which is delivered at Dumfries House estate in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust – QEST and with support from Ecclesiastical.

“The Shepherds Hut, gains all its beauty, grace and elegance from all the small and big elements that were lovingly made by all of us,” said one student, Saman Moein, an architect from Iran. “It would not have the same quality if it was made with mass-produced modules and products.”

Sarah Diver-Lang from County Antrim worked for a Glasgow design company before enrolling on the programme to broaden her experience and expand her repertoire. She settled on a role within the eight-strong student team that involved spinning, dying and weaving wool sourced from freshly shorn sheep on Dumfries House estate.

“We looked at the skills within the group and what was needed for the construction,” she explained. “The estate is such a rich source of plantlife that can produce beautiful dyes. I cleaned and processed the sheep’s wool and dyed it using lichen from the estate’s trees, onion skins, beetroot and blackberries from the walled garden, amaranthus that gives a yellow colour, and fermented oak bark. I then carded the wool and felted it. Having thick strips of fabric allowed me to cover large walls within the stud frame of the Shepherd’s Hut to act as insulation, heating and cooling it and using craft to produce functional processes.”

“Our students are given a chance to not just hone their own skills but, through engaging with other trades, get a better understanding of how they fit into the wider built environment. By providing a chance for knowledge exchange, we not just widen horizons but create a fostering environment that can lead to innovation and positive change.” Simon Sadinsky, executive director (education) of The Prince’s Foundation.