2016 saw #thebigroseproject ! For celebrating the 20th anniversary of The House for an Art Lover I outreached to “people” anyone from everywhere to stencil a bright pink Mackintosh outdoors. It was much fun and so accelerating to see tens of participants take to the ground with a large stencil and a brush…
This year will be as exciting with my Big Banner project ! It is based on a linen banner I found in the archives of the Glasgow based Hunterian Art Galleries, It was designed by Mackintosh, its over a 100 years old and it is stunning, a tall elegant lady head in a bunch of roses on a silver background… designed for The Willow Tea rooms which off course is in full refurbishment this year having been rescued by The Willow Tea Rooms Trust and in the hands of a Trust and a team of experts to be reopened next year for the big 2018 celebration to everything #Mackintosh.
I have enlisted a good number of Glasgow Mackintosh venues in Glasgow and elsewhere to take part and together we will outreach to the public once again to recreate banners. Many banners… using stencilling, recycling, mixed media and others…
SO KEEP IN TOUCH IF YOU ARE INTERESTED… send me an email if you would like to take part… or volunteer for it @ email@example.com The project will take place in October 2017 for the Mackintosh Festival but before hand much work has to be done and there are ways to get involved….
But before that… read all about how I connected with this beautiful objet…
In 1903 Glasgow, a lady entrepreneur Miss Kate Cranston commissioned a young promising architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh with the refurbishment of her new tea room in Sauchiehall Street… The Willow Tea Rooms. He was to refurbish it to a hight standard with themed rooms. It was a success… The ground floor back room was called “The Back Saloon”. For it, Mackintosh designed sets of stencilled “banners” … They were linen inserts in the wooden paneling. On each panel, a tall elongated lady on a silver background, her head in large bushy roses. In each panels ladies were facing one another.
Four of those panels together with some black and while photographs are in the archives of The Hunterian Art Gallery I have been researching them over a long period of time. Their history, their making, the technique used, the design, material… They are of great beauty, delicate features of the faces, soft shades of the roses.
I have had the great privilege to work on the recreation of one of those panels recently for display at the Centenary exhibition of 78, Derngate the property Charles Rennie Mackintosh refurbished in 1917 in Northampton, showing the process of recreation to the public I made two panels showing different stages in the process. I used for the test panels linen fabric and hand stencilling as the original shows. I worked to the highest standard of recreation. I researched extensively before deciding on which method and which paint to use. I used period painting and decorating manuals which would have been available when Mackintosh created this piece. Those are the photos of my very first sample. Hand cut stencil of oiled manilla card… a mix of paint but mainly acrylic (instead of the oil used at the turn of the century), beautiful full quality of Linen fabric. completely done by hand including the stencil cutting.
To recreate the stencil, I used a tracing of the original on tracing paper before transferring on oiled manilla card and hand cutting it.
I tried a good number of paints on linen to check on technique and aspect… will the paint cover the fibres of the fabric? is the colour matching the original? Will it be colour fast? Does the colour run? Is it flat or shady.
A small video shows how I used natural pigments mixed with an acrylic medium to recreate the rose petals. Photographs of the original banners are not of a high quality enough to show the original colour and shading but give an indication. Out of the 4 original panels in the archives of the Hunterian each of the 8 figures shows different shades of pink. A decision will have to be made before the panels are recreated for the Willow Tea-rooms.
The result is a cluster of roses with delicate shades of pink and a lovely shading creating by the pigment mixing with the medium. Painters manuals from the period shows this medium being used for stencilling on fabric.
Time to unveil the result and by peeling up the stencil you access the beautiful cluster of roses for that willow tea room banner
Only a delicate face is missing for the lady to be complete but this is another project, the drawing of the faces will only appear once I am completely happy with the rest of the banner. But this will be for another day.
These samples of the banner are displayed at 78, Derngate within the Centenary exhibition until the 29th April 2017.
(all photos in this article are copyright The Lansdowne House of Stencils 2017)