In Helensburgh 24 #bigroses lead the way from the station to The Mack Club

This week saw #Thebigroses back in Helensburgh but this time right in the centre of the town when The Mackintosh Club  hosted a masterclass in stencilling in its glorious premises at 40, Sinclair Street, 2 up…

Local ladies arrived at 10am on the dot, two of them were local artists Lesley Carruthers and Mary Batchelor. They had come to support the project and discover The Mack Club a newly opened Art venue in a Mackintosh designed building right in the centre of Helensburgh.
#Thebigroses at The Mackintosh Club is just a very special thing. I met Nicola and Bruce as they had just taken over this building. A dedicated young couple of architects, so very  keen about their project of opening in this Mackintosh designed premises a gallery celebrating the work of the Glasgow Four (that would be Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, her sister and her husband).

Nicola and Bruce Jamieson decided to join The Glasgow Mackintosh Group as The Mackintosh Festival kicked in beginning of October and what a treat it is to be able to work in their gorgeous premises. It was a last minute addition to the program but they put their heart and soul in making this day possible. I am so very grateful to be here.

A great hall, roaring fire, large tables covered with stencils, tubs of paint and brushes and loads of paper, ready to start the day… One of the participants ho ho !!! surprise is Moyra who took part in the first event at The Hill House. Stencilled the first rose on the carpet, probably stencilled the last one on the pavement today. What a great compliment to the project to see someone liking the idea so much as to come back a second time…

I always think its interesting to see how one’s artistic technique can be so different to another one. A fine art painter and an sculptor on top of their game still have to learn the basic steps of stencilling like any other participant… But an artistic mind can take a new technique and turn it on its head and a set design suddenly becomes something else. So we spent two hours stencilling the same roses and tulips again and again until reaching perfection.

Lunch arrived in good time for tired participants. A beautiful bowl of home made soup (what a treat) and rustic bread before fresh brewed coffee and cookies were welcome by the participants and the door bell rang… A local photographer had heard about the party and decided to make his way to take a few snaps… For the local paper… What a treat to read about our day in the local paper the next day… Such a good story to tell…. The Helensburgh Advertiser told the story as it should and  even better featured a good deal of photos. What a fun day !

So we stepped outside as the sun was shinning and passers by were on the lookout for something to see. In an organised row, kneeling on cushions … we stencilled roses all the way from The Mack Club to the train station. Great big cabbage roses ready to show the way  to the Club to any visitors who would have come from town (Glasgow) by train. 21 in total, one after the other, separated by 2 meters… I even believe that Bruce woke up extra early the next day to stencil the 3 missing ones on the road as the traffic was to frenzy that afternoon. So today 24 roses stand proud in their pink glory… ready to be admired.

This was a #thebigrose private party but as soon as we started as it had happened before the public was just there asking “what are you doing” “can i try?” “is that allowed” “how long before they go away”… We had some children kneeling down and having a go… and by some kind of magic Stuart Robertson, director of the Mackintosh Society arrived with two visitors a good time to inspect the work and give an interview.

What a glorious way to spend a Autumn day, At this stage I count a total of 144 roses and you? a whole of 144 participants who have enjoyed creating fake carpets, loved using good design and handling a brush and paint. Something completely low tech, hand made, convivial and so much fun… Gets you to talk to one another…


I believe our roses will have to be washed out within two weeks if they have not faded said the council man… but I have the feeling that the public will like them so much that they might just stay…

Oh!!! Did I say Lorna, the property manager from The Hill House was passing by as we were stencilling and she smiled knowing she already has one of our carpets in her garden… that up the hill at The Hill House. So when you have seen the roses in Sinclair Street why don’t you make your way up there… The carpet will be there until the 31st.

Enjoy your week end.


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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