Doors open days !!!

Last week was Glasgow dod  (Glasgow Door open days) a week long festival part of a huge international movement which consist in opening doors of historic buildings who are normally not open to the public. It’s a huge thing in Glasgow, a week long festival with  heritage talks, opened buildings, guided tours, and douzains of people walking around the last week end head down in their pink little book ticking all the venues they have done. Ahhh ! #ilovedod

This year was a bit different though. I decided to take part, this time not a spectator eager to learn but as one of the #intheknowhow one of the knowledgeable speakers of an other time an other place and by God it was so much fun… I have met so many interesting people and at the end of the week I was so tired…

Glasgow doors open days 2016 program

The House for an Art Lover’s is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and I though it was time to give back to the venue that has been so good to me over the years in providing me with great work. I offered the venue to give two “heritage talks” about the making of the stencilled scheme in 1996 and I went to dig out my 20 years old stencils, drawings and old photos. I took around the Mackintosh rooms two groups of visitors, from Glasgow but also from Japan and China, explaining the sources for this design, the technique used and finally demonstrated stencilling as it would have been done in Mackintosh’s days. How difficult is it to recreate something that has never existed… where do you get sources for this… what technique do you use… does everyone like your result? Talking about the process made me remember so many good images of past times when up a huge ladder I was stencilling The House. The dust of the joiners finishing last bits of woodwork, hard hat and hard boots. The smell of paint and the satisfaction of the job well done… until… the new tenant decided to paint over one of my friezes but that is a different story … it was interesting to discuss with complete strangers how you come to terms with the loss of a design you have just worked on for several months. The Mystery frieze had a lot of success.


The Glasgow Guild opened their doors this week to a number of artists/artisans “jacks of all trades” and was holding talks and demonstrations. I was one of them…


Karen Beauchamp talked about recreating “historic walpapers” and highlighted the importance for businesses to keep well organised archives. Her 200 + photographs were stunning scenes of pattern books and past designs, vintage views and new recreations for sophisticated French compagnies such as Isodore Leroy for whom she has re-edited a collection of wall papers from their archives at Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Rue de Rivoli in Paris. How very stunning. Karen has spent a lifelong working on wall papers and fabric re-editions and I worked along her during my last project…. At the Ault Wharrie house in Dunblane she re-created a wall paper from some old scraps found in a forgotten back room. A complete stunning piece of work. Karen is an artist and leaves in the North of Scotland where she runs workshops and lovely painting holidays…


Helen McCook is a stunning embroiderer a graduate from the Royal School of Needlework, I have seen some of the work she did for The Glasgow Guild Mackintosh cabinet, delicate poetry with a needle and a silk thread. Her talk about the myth of the embroiderer was fun and full of deep comments about the traditional task of a modern day embroiderer. Her work is stunning and varied. In a few sentences she modified the impression I had of the task of an embroiderer. Modern, focused, creative but traditional and so very serious its a great craft… or should I say Art Form ? Helen has embroidered for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and Kate Moss party dress … does it get any better? will all left to go home and look for that tumble .

But the best of the celebration was the week end when I got to share that very special space that the Glasgow guild have in Renfrew street only a small step away from the Glasgow School of Arts… Wilma MacKenzie  the glass engraver (the very last of the kind) and I were to spend two days marvelling visitors with tales of past jobs, hands on demonstrations and talks about theories on job well done. As for me  My talks were about “colours and shapes in recreation of historical stencilling” and I would then get the public to try their hands at stencilling a George Walton border and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh Rose. It was so much fun. Wilma seating at the wheel was demonstrating how the little diamond was engraving the Crystal glass with delightful shapes. Lucky members of the public were allowed to have a go.

The tables were bursting with old stencils, large brushes, bottles of pigments, metallic objects unknown to the common passer’s by.

Sunday arrived so fast but we were so tired, so full of the excitement of sharing forbidden knowledge with visitors eager to hear secret tales of a life they dream about… the creative one.

My head full of the excitement of the past week I packed my treasures in the boot of my car Sunday night promising to take part next year again… I missed every single talk I wanted to attend to and I have not discovered a single new building this year… But giving is so much more enjoyable than receiving…

I need to email Rachel tomorrow morning to offer to take part next year. That was so much fun…

Here are the photos and the films I took during the week… enjoy… make sure you book to come and see us next year.

In the meantime, us the artists and the Glasgow guild we are putting together a program of very specialised classes for 2017… if you want to be kept in the loop email your details to … we will keep you posted.



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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