Bristol Folk House - Learning for pleasure
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Abstract Paintings by Wendy Dowding

I am often asked, How do you begin? It may be a small section of a sketch which I generally select using a small frame. Occasionally I take photographs of part of a decaying wall, movement in water or draw negative shapes within a room. I usually keep to a limited colour palette, just as I do in my garden because I enjoy the harmony. Adding a new colour can change a painting totally. Making choices is the demanding part of abstract painting, but is also the fun of it. I sometimes paint over old paintings and make use of what is below. That can be intriguing and satisfying.

Come and take a look at Wendys painting in our cafe bar between the 17th September and 21st October.

17th September - 21st October -



Autumn Term 2016

Enrol on our Autumn term courses and workshops now.

Please pick up a programme from reception or visit the website. You can enrol in person, on the phone or by post. Thank you for your continued support of the Folk House.




The Big Draw at the Bristol Folk House

The Big Draw 2016 Festival theme is STEAM, bringing together Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. The Folk House will be opening its doors for an opportunity to re-enact Aristotle and Canaletto in drawing the world through a camera obscura and experience 2400 years of technology.

11am-3pm Tuesday 25th October 2016 - Folk House Hall



Harmonica Festival 2016

The annual Bristol UK International Harmonica Festival brings global Star performers and international visitors every year. Come and enjoy a packed weekend of workshops, demonstrations, contests, trade stands, jam sessions, and the international Star Concert. We celebrate every kind of harmonica playing, and every style of music- something for all music lovers at our friendly fun weekend.

This year we will welcome old and new friends from UK, Ireland, France, Denmark, Holland, Germany and so on. Plus other leading harmonica players like Jens Bunge (Germany), Lee Sankey (UK), Eddie Ong (UK) and Bristol's own Jon and Yuki Vaughn. Where else could you find such expertise? Come and see how the humble mouth organ can be a sensational musical instrument!

Organised by the National Harmonica League. Please see the website for more details about the line up and more information

So come and learn more, improve your playing, be inspired; and above all just join in the fun at the wonderful Folk House, in lovely Bristol.

Friday 28th - Sunday 30th October 2016 -



Bristol Folk House Darkroom

The Bristol Folk House has a brand new, purpose built wet-based photography facility, which is available for use now. The darkroom offers a programme of brand new exciting traditional photography courses and workshops throughout the year.

Darkroom Facilities include, 7 black and white enlargers 35mm/ medium/large format, Black and white film development facilities, print finishing facilities, technical support and chemistry.

Becoming a member gives you greater flexibility and the benefits of, 6 days per week availability, which include evenings and Saturdays, exclusively for members and discounted session rates.

For more information, to become a member, book an induction or join the mailing list please email ...




Opening Times

As of the 8th August we will not be in our term time. Our opening hours will be Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm and Friday - Saturday 9am - 4pm. And the Cafe will be open 9am-4pm Monday -Saturday

Please note our building will be closed for renovation from the 4pm on the 13th August and re-open on Tuesday 30th August.

We will still be in the office during this time but the building and the cafe will be closed, you can still contact us by telephone or email

Our Autumn Term starts on Saturday 10th September when we will return to normal opening times.




Postcards now 50p

Got a favourite cover from over the years? Folk House postcards are now available from reception, only 50p or 4 for £1.50. Collect all 8.




Drop in & Draw - Friday

Our popular Drop in & Draw sessions run each Friday during term time. There is no tuition in these sessions but the model is provided so just come along with your drawing materials and get drawing!

Every Friday during term time 10:00 - 13:00

£10 for one session.

Sessions for the Autumn Term will be held on the following dates:

16th September, 23rd September, 30th September

7th October, 14th October, 21st October

4th November, 11th November, 18th November, 25th November

2nd December, 9th December

Please note that spaces are allocated on a first come, first served basis in person only, on the day (you cannot pay for someone who is due to arrive later). We recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early to give yourself the best chance of getting a place. You must arrive before 10 am as we have a strict policy that no one is allowed to enter the classroom after this time. This is due to the disruption of the class and the privacy of the model.




Join the Folk House Co-op today!

As we are a self-funding organisation, The Bristol Folk House relies heavily on the support of our co-op members to continue running this huge range of courses and workshops.

For just £12 per year you can become a member of the co-op and take advantage of these lovely incentives:

The Folk House prospectus straight to your door. We will post the prospectus out to you before it goes online.

Exclusive enrolment day. We open enrolments to co-op members one day before everyone else.

Quick enrolment. Just give us your co-op number and away you go!*

Local Shop Discounts. You will receive discounts in lots of friendly shops local to Park Street.

Newsletter. Keep in the loop with everything that's been happening by receiving our annual newsletter.

AGM. An invitation to the Folk House Annual General Meeting.

Inner Happiness. Get a lovely warm glow inside knowing that you are supporting the Folk House and everything we do!

*remember to tell us if you move house or change your number though!

If you'd like to join you can either fill in the enrolment form at the back of the prospectus or ring us on 0117 926 2987. Thanks!

Please note there is a £1 charge for a replacement card so make sure you keep it safe!




Latest News

Abstract Paintings by Wendy Dowding

in the cafe/bar...  more

Autumn Term 2016

We are taking bookings for Autumn term September- December courses and workshops now!...  more

The Big Draw at the Bristol Folk House

FREE EVENT in the Folk House hall for all ages! 11am-3pm Tuesday 25th October 2016 ...  more

Harmonica Festival 2016

Harmonica festival ...  more

Bristol Folk House Darkroom

Membership now open...  more

Join our facebook group here



You can download the prospectus for our Autumn courses 2016
Download the PDF

BFH Prospectus pdf


Programme design and illustration

Website design & build: Daniel Penfold

Contact Information

Telephone: 0117 926 2987   Email:   

40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG   Find Us - Googlemaps