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Insular Manuscript Illumination Course.

I found the Celtic Illuminations Course very rewarding and I would be very interested in any further courses in this area. The tutor for the course, Thomas Keyes was extremely knowledgeable in this field and I particularly enjoyed his emphasis on the original artistic background in terms of the materials and dyes used in that era, as well as his synopsis of the research into the geometry underpinning the designs typical of this era.  I was very happy with my own development of an illumination.  I would enjoy the opportunity to study this in more detail.

Chris Bailey



Dear Thomas sorry to be a bit slow getting back to you.

Yes both your courses were extremely interesting and enlightening and enjoyable.

The Cromarty course was a revelation.  I had always thought the illuminators had had to get their co!ours by extremely expensive means but you were able to demonstrate that their pigments are in fact available to us all in the local environment and what is more, we can make almost all of them for ourselves (Health and Safety might prefer us not to mess about with the arsenic concoction though, which we didn't do)

I much appreciated your clear and knowledgeable demonstrations of both vellum making and the making of the pigments.  It was an enlightening and interesting and enjoyable course and I hope to-do others in the future.  Good luck .  Benita Miller


Dear Thomas, thank you for the email.  I am delighted you are giving another course.  I thoroughly enjoyed the  original one and am avid to do more!!  Also delighted to give you feedback.  (see below....)  Please keep me posted on any information regarding  your courses.   Regards, Elizabeth.

The Thomas Keyes 'Illumination' course was immensely enjoyable.  We were introduced, not only to the history and symbolism of Celtic illumination, but to the fascinating world of natural dyes and their various sources. All this and the practical experience of actually creating a piece of illumination for ourselves, using all the genuine materials, thoroughly researched and produced by Thomas himself, made for an exciting and inspiring weekend.  Elizabeth Waters

Demonstrations and events

Black Isle Dementia Café

“Thank you so much for coming along to our Black Isle café, the attendees all hugely enjoyed your presentation and hearing about your work. They were still all talking about it the following fortnight!” –Joanna Sykes, Activites Co-ordinator 

An Lanntair

“Illuminated was an accessible and relevant visual arts activity which engaged participants of all ages during the Hebridean Celtic Festival.  Thomas Keyes brought invaluable knowledge and skills to the project and we were delighted to have the opportunity to work with him”-Moira MacDonald. Educational Outreach Officer.

Dougald Hine, Dark Mountain Project

This work is grounded in place and history but also in the present. It offers us a mirror of the past in which we become aware of the assumptions of our own culture and so, perhaps, the possibility of living by other assumptions. I look forward to continuing to follow Thomas’s work and finding further opportunities to collaborate and support his development. I warmly commend him as an artist.

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