Stencilling Mackintosh – a craft masterclass !

20 years after stencilling the “Iconic” fireplace in The House of an Art Lover in Glasgow I was back there this week end to run a stencilling masterclass. A group of ladies participants from all background from nursing to social working had booked up to learn to master the techniques of stencilling on wall, fabric, paper etc… some with and some without any previous experience. But beside the technical side of things they were also looking for some “magic” in the form of the venue and I wanted to make sure I would not disappoint them.

You see the world is such a small place, you meet total strangers and when you start talking to them in a friendly way you realise you have connexions with them in way you never imagined… So turns out that one of them had purchased stencils from me probably at the time The House for an Art Lover was built… One had got married at The House and was still under the magic spell, etc etc… when you start with those rapports you could go on and on. We are all related at the end…

So we started by walking in The House straight to the Music Room to have a look at the stencilling I did there many moons ago, and then the Dining Room, such a beautiful room with its blue fire place. That very image which you see again and again probably with a happy couple seating in front of it. I still remember the smell of the fresh paint when I was there stencilling it. We discussed designs, techniques, and gossip. We all think others have a more interesting life and stories to tell…

 But then back to The Art Park we started the long process of learning to dry one’s brush ! that is a two days straight of stencilling the same design on various backgrounds with different paints to get the hang of it. “Pull on your brush, dry your brush, too much paint etc. I always feel that if I say it once more someone will get up and leave in a temper” yet… its the key to success.

My participants left exhausted last night … would they come back today? 

But yes and full of expectations, it seems that a good evening relaxing had done them good because oblivious of their not so successful earlier tests which I had attached to the wall all over the room they were more than determined to succeed… and they did !

So we traced and cut and applied on a freshly emulsioned background wall and the same design came out in a variety of colours and finishes … Some liked the delicate shading and some preferred bold colours some even went the blue way…

But all turned out a beautiful and immensely satisfying result !!!

And they left with their roll of achievement under their arm ready to show it off home.

Stencilling is a great skill to have, so versatile … it opens the door to so many projects. I have no doubts that my participants today are “bushed” having worked so hard but so happy to have proven to themselves they could achieve greatness.
For myself, I am waiting for my next workshop, It’s a great feeling to bring someone by the hand all the way to this kind of achievement. Next I will be running a day workshop in the beautiful Mackintosh Queens Cross church on the Thursday 16th of June. If you want to come and learn… email me @

Betty xx



Published by bettysbeautifullife

I am a Christie's trained artist born in France but living in Glasgow. I work with Eco Techniques like Natural dyes, Eco Printing and Indigo dyeing using recycled material. I learn, teach and share my techniques, I work with communities and travel to Asia

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