24 #Bigroses at The Lighthouse, down the lane and up the tower !

Right in the centre of Glasgow at the bottom of a Mitchell lane off Buchanan street you can find The Lighthouse. And that’s where I was on the 15th October for another #thebigroseday.

If you walk down the lane from the Buchanan street and follow a trail of bright large roses in the style of Mackintosh you get to the front door of this bright, narrow but tall building. I know that because … I stencilled them, one Friday afternoon in October. 

Me, my pot of paint, my knee pads and a large stencil. It was magical fun, it took me longer than I though it would. Not because i was slow at it… just simply because the passers by kept on interrupting… “are you the lady who made the carpet at The Hill House? What are you doing? Could I try? Is this not messy? Are you allowed to do this? and so on…” by the time I reached The Buchanan street the rain was teaming down and I had to stop. But looking back there was a lovely trail of pink bright roses glowing in the rain and the neon lights.


“The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, is a visitor centre, exhibition space and events venue situated in the heart of Glasgow, just off the Style Mile. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a young draughtsman in the architectural practice of Honeyman and Keppie when he designed the Mitchell Street building, which now houses The Lighthouse. The Herald Building was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission.” (The Lighthouse website).

The Lighthouse welcomed #Thebigrose project for a full day demonstration on the 15th of October. Elisabeth, Sula and Lee-Anne arrived with bags full of stencils, brushes, paint pots and masking tape, a few folded sheets of newsprint for the public to practise on and great trepidation. Michael and old friend and great photographer @Ruanaich popped along a little later to say ‘Hi’ for a short while, 5 hours later he was still helping stencilling pink roses on the flagstone and taking great photos which he would later turn into a great video of #thebigrose project.

A table covered with pink pots of paint, a pile of well used stencils, roses, tulips, squares designs in the shapes Mackintosh would have approved off just by the front door at the bottom of the steps. A good number of cushions to give the public a padded experience to kneeling on the floor before stencilling a large rose, everything was planned to the last detail. In previous days we had a timid if steady number of visitors. So we were ready for much the same.

The Lighthouse took us by storm, crowds after crowds walked past us on their way in or out and immediately without having to be coaxed picked up a brush to “have a go” … young, older, man, woman, many many children, visitors to the city, students, travellers, just passers by wanted to have a try at stencilling the rose. After all this building is the design centre by excellence… we had come to the right place.

I wonder why no one has ever discovered if stencilling was as good for the soul as meditating !!! There is something very relaxing in concentrating on applying paint evenly with a brush… gently ! The result is almost always perfect if the brush is dry and when you peel off the stencil plate, the bright rose appears contrasting on the dark flag stone bringing a large smile to the stenciller. Its absolutely magical.

So I had grand plans when planning the events and got the exhibition team to agree to allow me to stencil outside the Mackintosh interpretation centre and on the window of the viewing gallery, pink roses on the glass looking towards “people make Glasgow” pink building but I just could not find the time… to much of a crowd waiting to take part. So I went back this week to do exactly that! it was magical … I even managed to be there at the same time as Alan the volonteer piano player from #pianocity. Alan is a beautiful piano player he dots around playing piano in the most surprising places and his repertoire is stunning. See for yourself ! 

I had  done some testing on the floors and the glass, before the event … I found out it had inspired some instagramer and even  a blogger how great is that ?

All through the day groups and individuals passed by many stopped… I even got an impromptu interview by a journalist from the French newspaper “Le Monde” …

4 o’clock arrived in a flash, my unopened lunch was still seating on the corner of a table. So we packed up, folded the table and went home, I was so very excited by the buzzing atmosphere of the event…

And the good news is … We are back this week on the Saturday 29th all day for more stencilling…

Hoping to see you there.


Best luck with Monday 🙂 I am off cutting stencils for another #thebigrose event… and you?

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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