Stencilling and Mackintosh have been the great loves of my working life for the past 25 years… I was lucky to be running a stencilling workshop in his very own church in Glasgow during the West end Festival, 25 years after I had run my first workshop there.
The Church is a very special building, It is the headquarters of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and as such it promotes the work of the great architect as well as helping with its conservation. They run events, have members and publish magazines and newsletters. I recently wrote an article for the Journal number 100 on the refurbishment of Ault Wharrie.
The workshop was set in the beautiful church Hall. Beautiful wooden ceiling/roof… very similar to that of the School of Arts. Wooden panel up to 3/4 up the walls, a stage where a display of reproductions chairs of Mackintosh design by Bruce Hamilton the Scottish furniture maker…. and a Baillie Scott piano in a corner. Little did I know we would have a great treat in the middle of the workshop.
Most of my workshops are run locally, most of the time with local participants but this time as this one was promoted as an event from The West End Festival we were lucky to attract some “international” participants from Denmark and Italy… with a French tutor it felt like a completely “European” experience. Great fun.
From time to time I run a social media competition offering a free space to one of my courses and this time a very local lady won the space. How exciting to have an additional participant who knew nothing about stencilling and spent the day meeting new people and discovering a technique she had never even looked at before. I have learned that since then she was taken with how much she could achieve and has decided to join my “Up-Cycling furniture” class this autumn.
The program for the day… discovering stencilling, perfecting the dry brush technique, stencilling Mackintosh roses on dry paper, on painted paper with dry and wet paint and to finish on fabric. Did you know that with the same stencil everyone will have a different result? What you take for granted, someone else will come up with a very different look, colour scheme. I always make sure to use similar designs in my basic courses as I think its really interesting for new participants to see what other participants will produce. “Compare and contrast” is an important part of learning.
So we stencilled, learned to dry our brush to obsession… and then we went for lunch.. the options : A newly refurbished pub around the corner for a posh meal or… the local Italian for fish & chips… Guess which one we chose. Hardly knew each other first thing but by lunchtime we shared a lot of fun and chips… and on the way back it turned out that our young participants from Norway was a piano student (a very good level I may say) and one other participant was a piano tutor from Scotland… They played this great duet on the Bailly Scott. Now that made everyone’s day if learning stencilling was not enough…
A few more go’s, a couple more cups of coffee and some truly Scottish short bread and the day was over having achieved so many tracings of THAT rose… we all parted so happy about our day.
I for one was so happy the day had been so successful…
My participants were pleased about their results…
I am sure Mackintosh was delighted to see his designs being practised in his own church…
And the CRM Society was delighted to have its Hall used for such a “Mackintosh” inspired use.
I will be running a one or two days stencilling workshop in the autumn this time for The House for an Art Lover but all through the summer I am demonstrating Mackintosh stencilling at The Hill House
I hope to see you around sometimes soon… I have to show you that Rose and get you to try it.
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