Who we are
Originally both from London, we are Simon and Anna Cooley and together we have been hosting sculpture workshops in Wales since 2005. In 2013 we moved (with daughters and dogs) to a new location in Powys in order to be able to offer a larger, better workshop space and some accommodation for our students.
Simon was apprenticed from the age of 15 to the sculptors Edwin Russell, Lorne McKean and Bernard Saunders and has been teaching sculpture for over 35 years.
After working as a sculptor for 20 years, he completed an Honours Degree in Sculpture at Central St Martin's School of Art and Design.
He works in forged metal, stone and clay. He also draws in pen & ink, and charcoal. You can read more about him and see his work at simoncooley.com.
In his spare time, Simon likes to fly-fish the local rivers and streams, and occasionally brings home our supper.
Anna runs the business and websites, and provides hospitality for our students in the summer. In her previous life, Anna worked in film and television, but always had a yearning to run a business. Anna loves walking and cooking, and filling the house with family and friends. She has recently discovered a love of drawing (anything and everything around her) and her tendency to collect animals is kept in check by Simon.
In any given year, over 60% of our students will have been on a course with us before.
We agree this is testament to the successful partnership that we are!
What we do
We run short intensive sculpture courses in the beautiful Welsh countryside. While students are working with Simon in clay, plaster, metal or stone, Anna is busy creating delicious lunches and baking fresh bread, biscuits and cakes. We all get together for lunch in our large farmhouse kitchen.
Where we live
Our home is a little slice of Radnorshire's history, and is a Grade II listed Gentleman's residence dated 1751, built in typical Georgian style. The barn (the studio), sits at right angles to it, and provides an inspirational workspace, with its original oak timber frame. Situated in the most magnificent landscape of green rolling hills, there are far-reaching views in every direction and unpolluted night skies.
We are 20 minutes equidistant from Builth Wells, Talgarth, and the famous literary town Hay-on-Wye. We can be reached in 4 hours from London, and the nearest train stations are Abergavenny or Hereford (both 30 miles).
Stay with us
We are able to offer a limited choice of lovely accommodation for our students but it's popular, and tends to get booked early - so if you're keen to stay with us, we'd recommend booking as soon as possible. Select the accommodation enquiry on the booking form.
Other things to do
Some of our students have brought their partners or families with them, and the surrounding area offers great walking and mountain-biking - and a host of other activities such as golfing, horse-riding, fly-fishing... or just whiling away the day in the unique town of Hay-on-Wye, which is one great big second-hand bookshop!
We look forward to welcoming you here.
Anna & Simon Cooley