#mackintosh150 – THE BIG MACK PROJECT


For those interested to discover Mackintosh stencilling that is see some original stencilling as well as practise your brushstrokes why don’t you book yourself on one of my Stencilling Mackintosh Discovery days? I am running them once a month between May and October on the last friday of the month… If you are a small group of up to 4 people I can set up a day for you … Just email me @bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

For details on the events and bookings : Stencilling Mackintosh discovery days


After some serious snow this past week end Glasgow is waking up to the fact that this year 2018 is the 150th anniversary of one of his most cherished child… Charles Rennie Mackintosh ! #MACKINTOSH150 is the Mackintosh year… a celebration of all things designed, made, dreamed by the man and is wife, sponsored by his patrons and friends here is Scotland and elsewhere in the world. And we are going to celebrate…. in the pure “GLASGOW STYLE”.

For me 2018 will see a new community art project, after #THE BIG ROSE and last year #THE BIG BANNER I though it was time participants dropped their brush and seized their piping bag… we shall make Gesso… many pieces of art work actually 150 of them to celebrate all those years … and many hands will squeeze and draw small and big lines, dots and circles… to make a HUGE installation ALL TOGETHER next October … a celebration of all things Mackintosh !

Keep your eyes posted on this page for the details coming out soonish on this project…. there is will loads of events and it will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Helensburgh, Kirkcaldy, and hopefully in Dundee but anywhere else where I find keen people… if you want to register your interest to take part… drop me a mail @  bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com you can volunteer services or just come and take part in one of the events.

For now ….

Speak to you soon….

Betty xx

Use PULP ! Make paper !

Every year I take a couple of days off to learn a new technique, something fun which I have not done before and I might just be able to incorporate in my own work ! I came across PULP the paper making workshop in Glasgow through Cassandra from Bookbinding with Cass an Edinburgh book binding with whom I run collaborative workshops. Paper making sounded fun and I hope I might be able to produce some great paper to Eco print with Alison.

Alison Newman the artist who runs PULP IS an ex GSA graduate (a printer in fact) and post graduate … she is very generous with her time. Its a wonderful studio located in the East End WASP facilities. Its big, clean, with loads of really exciting equipment and loads of fibres I can not identify… Kozo, Gampi, Mitsumata… and bog standard … Cotton but mixed in a pulp form they all make the most beautiful hand made paper !

Alison runs numerous workshops, assists artists who want to use the facilities, produces snow white hand made paper etc.. and is the most generous artist around… I had booked really quite early but because of the very bad snow storm that week end in Glasgow the workshop almost got cancelled as participants could not make it there… people from Orkney, London etc… Paper making draws crowds… but Alisan realising how keen I was agreed to run the workshop just for me and my daughter…

Upon arrival we were introduced to the different kind of fibres, how to treat them, to clean them, to blend them etc… and gave us a go at at least 6 different of paper… We then added “bits” that is torn pages of books, glitter, cut up pieces of silver, dried leaves from the Glasgow Botanics last autumn, etc… to make our very own textured paper with dried “stuff” just lovely paper I can not wait to get once it has spent time under the press…

All along I was so impressed about all the very professional equipment available for the running of the workshop… off course you can make paper at home using old newspapers and a blender… but this is top professional paper making using traditional technique, material and ingredients you don’t get to do everyday… The Huge Hollander that is necessary to transform your old clothing into the most beautiful paper… Alison runs workshops with therapists to groups wanting a way to overcome grief. What a great way to join creativity and overcoming difficult life moments.

Homework that night was to prepare a watermark, something representing you and hand cut, Its a design that prevents the fibre to be to opaque in the shape of the design you have made.  We casted a few leaves of paper… and then:

We went all creative, adding small pieces of the collages, some inprint, some cuts out pieces of artwork made earlier… we stencilled via plastic stencils, and other shapes, using coloured slip… all togher a great creative moment…


Making paper is just a really nice technique, it allows you to free your brain:) the time you need to wait for the draining would help anyone recycling,,,

I am to collect my papers later this week.. get ready to be marvelled.

If you want to know about Alison ‘workshops please look HERE.

I hope you enjoy the visuals…

Best wishes.


Earthy ! using organic dye to give earthy tones to Eco-prints

Eco printing is my very favorite technique of all ! Creating beautiful marks on Upcycled paper and fabric with some leaves discarded by nature ! What better way is there to recycling while being creative ?

I am so eager to teach anyone who wants to hear me about it and I run a number of classes in Scotland to give “wannabe eco printers a head start !” All details on my post about Dyeing, Printing and Eco Printing ! or my FULL COURSE LIST But read below how I went even further in my quest for Upcycling nature this week by foraging in my composting bin to add colour to my prints 🙂 it’s a lovely past time and … you save the Earth !

You definitively should give this a try …

Recycling paper last week I noticed my box of onion peels was overflowing… Do you have this annoying habit of collecting onion peels when you are visiting the green grocer? I have been for weeks now collecting both yellow and red onions peels and this week was the right moment to for using them.

But then what to do with them? I decided to add them to my eco printing experiments and it turned out a wonderful pile of earthy coloured prints in shades of warm yellow, browns and cream mix of art board and simply glorified lining paper…

Each little pile of skins was transferred to a sauce pan and covered with hot water, I then steamed them for one hour before poring them through a colander to get rid of the discoloured skins. The coloured liquid transferred to a Tupperware type container. But I shared the yellow liquid in a second container and added a small quantity of ferrous sulphate to turn it into a deep brown colour.

I then diped small cuts of both watercolour paper and some glorified lining paper into each liquid for up to 30 mns to dye them. They were left to dry to be used the second day to eco print.

Using some autumn leaves rehydrated in lukewarm water I bundled them onto the paper before rolling the lot onto a bit of piping insulation and steaming them in my boiler for one hour.

And the result is amazing, the ferrous sulfate I used for mordanting the paper has modified the original died paper into lovely deep colours and in most cases transferred on the resist paper together with part of the leaf print…

I just have to decide to do with my lovely collection now. I think some of them would be lovely to just frame as a work of art… all very natural !

I am looking forward now to try on larger size paper… I will make a try this week using Soya milk for mordanting… Its a safer option I have heard about to keep the process safe to use with children.


Betty x

2018 is the year of the Blues and the Greens !

My studio is based in Glasgow – Scotland, and anyone there reading the title above would think I have been stung by the Football bug ! Blue and Green are the well known colours of the Celtic and Rangers football clubs tops… Very close to the hearts of most Glaswegian… but for me those colours represent the creative techniques I love most… Indigo dyeing, Shibori, Tie Dye, Cyanotype printing for blues and off course Eco printing, Eco dyeing for greens…

From there I run workshops on Indigo, Dyeing and Eco Printing please READ BELOW for details or click here for my FULL COURSE LIST

From time to time you just have to concentrate the way you work and research to really understand the full potential of your loved technique but I just cant settle on one single technique, who can ? The prints below were all made by eco printing on Indigo dyeed paper and fabric, and thats what made them complete in my heart ! I cant decide what I like most, experimenting or fixing mistakes I made while experimenting…. So I will do both and I hope many will sign up to do that journey with me.

But if you want to read about when I first discovered about Eco Printing then click Here

I do love a bit of collaboration and Cassandra Barron from Bookbinding with Cass and I have already ran a few joint workshops… Cass is an accomplished book binder and with her skills I can make use of my marks and prints… together we have embarked on a number of workshops where participants get the chance to try their hands at eco printing, indigo dyeing, stencilling and so on… and bind the result in a unique book to take home. Travel diaries, note books of all sorts, hand made and featuring hand decorated papers, two techniques learned in a day, those workshops have a great deal of content and they are being very popular already. A few of them are very special indeed… we ran one in  The beautiful Kibble Palace of The Glasgow Botanic Gardens, on the 25th of March. We will run this one again but in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden in June and in The Secret Garden in July. For info please look here for info on the Edinburgh Botanic gardens workshop and Here for the workshop at the lovely Herb Gardens

Eco Printing is a natural technique, you take a leaf and steam its colour away onto paper or fabric … its a great magical trick ! the result is always wonderful but you cant quite predict what the outcome will be. 

Identifying the right leaves and the right support, using the right technique to transfer its pigments through  steaming, deciding how to best use the result to create, prints, mixed media boards, scarves … are some of the subjects I will teach during my workshops.

I will be running a one day Eco Printing on fabric to create a scarf in the West end of Glasgow on the 8th of June. On that day we will learn the basic of Eco printing on paper and fabric and print a scarf on mixed linen/cotton. For information and booking click the link on Eco Print Scottish Leaves on your Scarf


Indigo is a natural dye which has captured the heart of many artists and textile specialists. From its humble origins as a small plant in India to its transformation into the beautiful true blue once seen it is never forgotten and used all over the world from Denim Jeans to unique hand dyed fabrics in Asia. Many use it for the beautiful Tie Dye called Shibori which takes its origins in Japan.

I will be running a week end of  Indigo Shibori dyeing in Glasgow for beginners at the House for an Art Lover in May, we make Indigo from scratch and will fold and print some beautiful Shibori fabric for info and booking look at Fold and Print, Cold Indigo Dyeing

indigo bookbinding

In June I will join forces with Cassandra Barron from Bookbinding with Cass to run a one day workshop in Glasgow on Indigo Shibori and bookbinding. It will be a great creative way to approach two lovely techniques to create a great finished book on that day after having discovered the folding techniques of Japanese Shibori Booking and info here

Blue and Green Eco Printing : 

Under the right conditions, the prolonged contact of a leaf onto cloth or paper can make a beautiful print. In this two-day course, you will learn the basics of Eco printing. Using local botanical material and working with heat and light you will transfer the shapes or pigments of the leaves onto paper or fabric. Learning the secrets of mordants, and tannin and iron bath, the resulting prints can be used to produce scarves/artwork or greeting cards. Cyanotype and Eco Printing will allow you to in-print the beautiful shapes of the Fresh leaves you have picked up in the great walled Garden of the House for an Art Lover. For info and booking look here Green and Blue Eco Printing


Up-cycling has been my passion for a few years, but up-cycling Nature will be my focus in 2018, won’t you join me for one of the classes above?

Hope to see you there.

Betty x

A freshly baked scone, a cup of tea and a stubby brush ! Stencilling Mackintosh @ The Willow Tea Rooms

I will be running some stencilling workshops with The Willow Tea Rooms in Buchanan Street – Glasgow if you would like to book look here


Much of my stencilling life is spent up a ladder or a scaffolding recreating the historic designs and it is immensely  rewarding. But I also love sharing my skills with the public, adults and children who don’t have the training and don’t think they could ever “manage it”. Over the years many hundreds have learned to stencil with me and Mackintosh’s rose !

Off course we all have a specialty, something we do well and that makes people happy and Anne Mulhern has been baking scones for over thirty years but not in any odd place… In the Willow Tea Rooms. She opened her first Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street in the very building Mackintosh designed for Miss Cranston. The Willow Tea Rooms was born out of Anne’s passion for delivering a beautiful tea experience to her customers… in style just like Miss Cranston had done before… just like Charles Rennie Mackintosh had too.

This is what Anne and I have in common, a passion for the job well done, a great service for the customer, a lovely experience, a beautiful memory for the future ! That is why I will have great pleasure to run Stencilling workshops in the lovely blue Chinese Room of her Tea Rooms at 97 Buchanan Street. What better experience than learning to stencil Mackintosh’s design seating in a chair after his own design and eating one of Anne’s Scones?

I will be running a number of Stencilling workshops in the lovely blue chinese room  of the Willow Tea Rooms through the Spring. Participants get a chance to try their hand at stencilling and perfect their technique using some Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s inspired stencils. After a delightful Fresh baked scone and a cup of tea you will have the time to stencil yourself a unique tote bag to take home. This is a perfect workshop for beginners, and it would be also great treat to offer it as a present for a special occasion.

You will learn a great skill but also have great fun and off course the setting of The Chinese room is quite spectacular let alone the Fresh baked scone !

If you would like to read more about this event or book look here 

I hope to see you there sometimes…


Betty xx

Better together : “Honest Error”, written words and stencilled roses together celebrate the life and work of Mackintosh and Margaret

Tuesday’s are funny days… not the drab Monday that everyone hates and not the well awaited Friday… yet not the middle of the week either. Just a bit of a boring day apart from the lunchtime talk at the Hunterian ! 10 mns of bliss of talk by an expert, just enough to keep you interested, not so much it takes your day… Today Gillean McDougall was talking about “Honest Error” at 1pm precisely.

“Honest Error” is a wonderful book curated by Gillean as part of a creative part of her Mlitt at UofG in 2017. An anthology of poems by a group of writers from the Mlitt about the life and work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret after the group had spent some time looking at some archival pieces in the collection of the Hunterian art gallery. A beautiful collection of 34 poems all very different about different aspects of Mackintosh’s work and life but all very meaningful. And off course a cover full of Glasgow roses. The cover is my work… my contribution to that very meaninfull project.

I happen to meet Gillean @ my stencilling workshop organised by Queens Cross Church in June 2017 which she had joined hoping to get her stencilling skills up to a confident level to work on the cover herself. After we met the idea of me coming up with a design was quickly up and discussed and we exchanged for several weeks before I came up with those roses. So many criterias in this kind of project… copyright regulations, background material, size of the roses, timing for the making, need for it to be photographed… but it happened and in September the book came out. What a lovely little thing. Everyone I know loves it and half my family has received a copy for Christmas.

Today was a celebration day. The reading of some of the poems by some of the poets, a great expose about the making by Gillean and a show off of my art work… but also the joy to know the book is now stocked in some venues around Glasgow as well as online

You will be able to find “Honest Errors” in the The Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow, in the shop of The Hunterian at The UofG many to follow.

Do not hesitate to walk miles to get yourself a copy of this beautiful little book it is well worth it.

Love Betty x

It’s better together ; Erasmus’s Nuremberg students collaboration & #thebigbanner into Europe

“Dear Betty … we are German textile students and we would like to help…”

The email I received started that way… a group of students from Nuremberg on an exchange with Erasmus grants were visiting Glasgow in October and they wanted to take part … they were in Glasgow to research a future fashion show based on Mackintosh for the Mackintosh150 in 2018 and were offering to volunteer for the Open day at Kelvingrove museum. So … they did !

After an exchange of communications it was decided they would meet me at Kelvingrove on the day and mix with the volunteers for the day, they would quick train and would be involved in both dealing with the public … and we saw around 300 visitors on that day and focus on the making of that day banner.

5 very bright and dedicated German textile students and their tutor, one architecture student from GSA, one practising textile artist, one Chinese business student, one retired lady and myself master managing them, that is quite a team ! But 300 participants with a great proportion of children that is also quite a large group to manage and thank goodness for our German volunteers who were such an asset on the day.

After a quick introduction and stencilling tuition we all get busy in getting the space ready and indeed many parents with their young children had already been around asking when we started ???

At 11am on the dot we lifted the stencilling brush and it all started … to not stop until well after the planned 4pm…

Douzains of children of all ages came by that day but also retired people visiting the galleries on a cold day. Families having a day out during the October break, students walking by during their lunch break… but also Art lovers having read about the project on social media and who wanted to take part in the making of the banner…

We split the group and David our textile artist started leading the banner making helped by some of the Nuremberg girls in turn some members of the public helped on some of the process. The rest helped the public who wanted to grasp the basic stencilling technics with many roses stencilled on paper that day…

Our result was a stunning banner at the end of the day and a very satisfied group of German students… the banner hang in our Lighthouse exhibition for several weeks before making its way to Nuremberg where it’s hanging proudly in the College.

Erasmus is a European funding promoting exchanges and mobility in Europe and I am grateful that it initiated the trip of our German group here in Glasgow. Their cooperation with Glasgow and North Kelvinside college is ongoing and our Lord Provost was visiting their establishment recently. The college will be back in Glasgow in May 2018 to run their fashion show at Kelvingrove. I can’t wait to see their beautiful result … I will welcome them into a Gesso class this time how exciting to see skills being passed around !

#the bigbanner is about heritage skills and outreach ! This group has made my dream of this project going into Europe true … I don’t mean political Europe I mean continental Europe closer geographically to where Mackintosh and his wife liked to travel and share their art with like minded artists.

I just wonder how far I can make this project going !


Betty x

Better together – Collaborative workshops with Bookbinding with Cass

“Cass and Elisabeth are just so nice and kind to be around, They create a nice atmosphere !”

“I loved unrolling the bundles…”

“The skills are enthousiastically shared” 





2018 is the year of collaboration because “we work better together” and Cassandra Barron and me will be running a number of workshops “Printing – Folding and Stitching”. Those workshops will be a celebration of creativity during which we will Eco print, Stencil, Print before hand stitching some wonderful unique books… I hope you will join us in this wonderful Festival of cooperation and come to spend some quality time to create beautiful things…

Our next workshops will be :

27 January 2018 – “Print, Fold and Stitch” a collaborative workshop @ The Granton Hub SOLD OUT

16th February 2018 – “Print, Fold and Stitch” a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in Eco-Printing and Bookbinding.  SOLD OUT

23rd March – “Stencil, Fold and Stitch” a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in stencilling Mackintosh designs, stitch them and make a book  booking

25th May – “Bookbinding at the Botanics” in Glasgow a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in Eco Printing designs, stitch them and make a book booking


We ran a first “Print, Fold and Stitch” workshop at the Granton Hub in Edinburgh in January 2018, some very inspired crafters spent a day creating some coptic stitched books after Eco printing up-cycled papers. It was a glorious day.

We learned all about Eco-printing using fresh leaves and rehydrated leaves from last autumn using Iron water and steam. Different recycled papers (Music sheets, old greek manuals and hand made paper) as well as watercolour card and felted wool were printed to the great joy of the participants. Eco-printing is a magical process forever repeated with different results. Opening the steamed bundles always create a lot of oh! and ahs ! Acer tree leaves and Cotoneaster with their deep aubergine colours and Eucalyptus with deep drab greens created much satisfaction. Cassandra then showed us the ropes of putting the pages together with some most interesting hard covers in a Coptic book. A challenge using circular needles and waxed thread and a new skill gained. A wonderfully unique result was completed before everyone left happy at the end of the day. Hand-bound books are very popular with crafters, they can be a great present to make for loved ones and each of them is completely unique. I feel really enthusiastic about my collaboration with Cassandra. Both our techniques are amazingly rewarding but put together by participants creates real work of art.

It is all very inspiring and I hope to see you at one of them.


Betty x

Our next workshops will be :

27 January 2018 – “Print, Fold and Stitch” a collaborative workshop @ The Granton Hub SOLD OUT

16th February 2018 – “Print, Fold and Stitch” a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in Eco-Printing and Bookbinding.  SOLD OUT

23rd March – “Stencil, Fold and Stitch” a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in stencilling Mackintosh designs, stitch them and make a book  booking

25th May – “Bookbinding at the Botanics” in Glasgow a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in Eco Printing designs, stitch them and make a book booking

3 rd June – “Bookbinding at the Botanics” in Edinburgh a collaborative workshop with Bookbinding with Cass in Eco Printing designs, stitch them and make a book booking to be advise

Fake it ! Or get into Upcycling Furniture …

I will be running an Upcycling Furniture class of 10 weeks in the West End of Glasgow starting mid January details and bookings



I will be running an Upcycling Furniture Week End in the West End of Glasgow on the 20th and 21st of January for details and bookings look Here

Most of us have in the distant past picked up a small object from a charity shop with some grand plan in mind… the old battered table in faded shade of red paint and stains … or the box that would look super done up as a jewellery box but somehow !!! You never get there.

Not that it takes too long to upcycle or cost too much but you just can’t figure out how to start or don’t have a “messy” space you can work in … that is exactly why I started my upcycling class several years ago ! I love working with people who are ready to take on a project but need this extra push. May be an extra idea or some know how or some company while working or a messy space where they can come in for a while to try some of those techniques they always wanted to but just could not find the right moment.

Because at the end of the day you do have the creativity in you !!!

Look here some of the

Projects from my apprentice upcyclers from This years class … very gifted crowd coming up with their very own ideas on their very own piece ! Along the 10 weeks course they take on board some of the technic I through at them and pick up the Ones they like to apply on their own pieces!

I have two classes starting in January in the West End of Glasgow … how about joining ? One block of 10 weeks or one full week of End ! Your own furniture my guidance and great coffee !

For any questions email me @ bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

See you there ?

Betty xx

(Ps) look at the gallery below … amazing results from this year’s pupils !

Upcycled frame with Eco-printed paper

Better together ! Sponsorship ! Successful projects rely on local partnership…

October is over and The Big Banner has been put to rest… almost a year in the planning, several months in the preparing, 5 weeks of running, several hundreds participants and 11 banners hanging in The Lighthouse for another week. I have to admit the result of a small idea went beyond all expectations. It was a great project to run.

Inspiration can be found many places and a great idea can emerge out of research or previous work but it is all about partnership. Partnership with local individuals and local businesses who will help you with sponsorship in goods and services as well as with support through the networks.

By accepting to support you and your project they give your project a bigger dimension, more visibility, a more serious basis, a better support to lean on. They are the first ones telling you “this is worth working on…”

For the Big Banner Project with early planning I found I had time to approach a few companies… and get their more than welcome support. They were generous with their time and their “cash” ! They made my project better, more inclusif, more worth while… and for that I have to thank them…

Mandors the fabric store has been on the Glasgow scene for many decades ! supplying all the dress makers, students, interior designers lovely fabrics and more… buttons, threads, cushions… It is a family business and the staff even sounds like they are part of the family. They provide The Big Banner with some of their lovely Linen.

Hobs Reprographics Glasgow is the local branch of the business by the same name… that branch has enlarged many of my stencils and the staff are always very curious to see what creative thing I achieve with some enlarged design… So very different work than their other clients. I would have to thank them for the large banners they have enlarged for me and the beautiful colour plastic hangings.

Cassart Glasgow a large art material supplier was taken with The Big Rose project in 2016 and they jumped on the band wagon when I described to their The Big Banner. And for us … what joy than working with great quality acrylic paints and proper brushes. Thanks to them… over 700 people have used their paint to learn to stencil. But at the end of the day large company or not it was the local manager who agreed to the sponsorship.

I have to thank business and individuals for their great support and for making The Big Banner much bigger and better adventure.

Make sure you use their businesses when you have a need…. by thriving locally they will make sure to continue sponsor good projects in the future…

Very best wishes.

Betty xx