Leeanne Macleod took the photos of the workshop … thanking her !
In a small place of Fife just on the edge of Kirkaldy called Dysart there is a very special church ! Dysart St Clair Church which Charles Rennie Mackintosh decorated with beautiful murals in the beginning of the 1900’s.
In a very Continental Art Nouveau Style the stunning and huge stencilled murals surround the circular church and show clearly Mackintosh’s connexion with his Viennese turn of the century artist friends. When looking at the black and white photo of the finished scheme one would think you are looking at an Otto Wagner frieze. The murals were overpainted at some point by the community who found them a bit much. Discovered by accident about 10 years ago and restored at great expense by the community with the help of a Lottery Grant. They are known only by the most extreme Mackintosh lovers (of which I am) they are yet to be discovered by the public. I had the great chance to get in contact with one of the elders a good year ago when researching on Mackintosh’s stencilling techniques and was blessed with being allowed to view them.
Fife folks have a great sense of hospitality and in return for their kindness I decided to offer them a workshop day of The Big Banner project this year… little did I know I would get so much joy in return… hospitality, enthusiasm, a great crowd and beautiful lunch food came my way … All I could give back was some guiding in making a banner… I feel so in their debt again:)
So my volunteers Lee Anne an old friend, and Xue Xia and Wenying two chinese girls students at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University were driven by John my husband yesterday morning to set up a couple of working tables in the church hall.
But not so fast… In Fife you are not allowed to start working before you have been offered a mad and delicious lunch, home made soup, sandwiches and beautiful home made cakes… Fife hospitality is plentiful.
We did get going at the end and when keen wannabe stencillers started pooring in (after reading the local press, the leaflets in the local library and the posters around) and tried their hand at the small stencils we had laid down on a table. The whole idea is that
STENCILLING IS FOR THE MANY NOT FOR THE FEWS !
The purpose of The Big Banner Project is to share the basic skill of stencilling with anyone who would like to have a go. All events are entirely free and are family friendly.
The keenner participants also come over to The Big Banner table and share the making of a large banner once designed by Mackintosh for The Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street (A building currently refurbishes by The Willow Tea Room Trust under the name of Mackintosh At The Willow).
And we had a good bunch of very keen people. So we made a great banner. This should be hanging quite soon at The LightHouse in Glasgow later this week alongside the banner we made at The Mackintosh Club with Hermitage academy last week.
6 hours of banner making could be seen by any Art Lover as being long but it went like a shot… we drank more coffee and about 30 of us glued, silvered, stencilled roses and various other elements and suddenly the tall lady was there lying on the table drying. There was a great deal of hair drying going on for the very many layers to be applied without any waiting time. The whole project was smooth helped a great deal by my now experienced volunteer Lee Anne. And the ladies stencilled many roses guided by Xue Xia and Wennying two Chinese students from Strathclyde University who were enjoying giving their time for the day and learning about the local Fife culture.
It is all about sharing is it not? I write a project off course but its the sharing of all that makes it a great adventure, the volunteers who give their time, the sponsors who give fabric, paint, printing…. the venues that open their doors, the participants that lend their hands. I could have just sat down at my workbench and made a one off banner dry and beautifully isolated. I chose to make many using dozens of hands of so many people coming from so many different avenues and not all Scottish. I am sure Mackintosh is loving the attention of all those people discovering his technique and his designs.
Will you join us at The Lighthouse next week to make another banner ? This will be Saturday the 7th between the hours of 11am and 4pm we will make another banner and we would love to borrow your hand for it…
Enjoy the photos but POP ALONG !!! THE BIG BANNER IS AWAITING YOU !!!