“Making Mackintosh” a great week end of creativity at 78, Derngate …learning about the stencilled heritage

I will be running a one day workshop in stencilling at 78, Derngate on the 29th of April, if you want detail and booking details look here.

78, Derngate is having a celebration this year… 100 years of enjoying the great designs that Charles Rennie Mackintosh created for the property while it was in the hands of the industrialist Basset Lowkes. Exhibition, tours, but also heritage talks on the making of this property and workshops on stencilling for would be stenciller apprentices.
I was at 78, Derngate this week end to deliver two workshops and a heritage talk on the stencilled schemes recreated for the exhibition. It was a great week end with endless creativity and a very enthusiastic number of participants.

Friday night was dedicated to a talk about the challenges of recreating heritage stencilled schemes. From identifying the right colours to accessing archives about the design detail, a stencilling artist involved in recreation faces many questions and challenges. I discussed previous commissions… The House for an Art Lover, George Walton’s Ault Wharrie, but also the two recreations I have done for the centenary of 78, Derngate that is the 1920 Hall Lounge scheme and the Candida Cottage seating room stencils here is a  copy of my presentation

Saturday we ran a great full day stencilling workshop, from stencilling Mackintosh based ready made stencils to designing, cutting and applying their own simple stencil the participants left on a high, so excited about their new skills. Most of them with no experience, nor art training were very excited about having achieved so much during the day. They left with a lovely starter pack offered by 78, Derngate of cutting mat, stencilling brushes, knife and pencil all ready to do more using their new skill.

One participant said “Fantastic Mackintosh stencil workshop, thoroughly recommend. Elizabeth was a great teacher, we achieved amazing results. Thank you to all who organised this amazing event” another, “enjoyable and rewarding day in lovely surrounding” .

We are running a second workshop on the 29th April, there are a few spaces left, if you want to book or find out about it check here

Sunday we ran a great “Teach the teacher” class for teachers and carers, it was all about inspiring, learning the techniques and suggesting projects to a team of participants who deal with specific groups in schools, hospices, community centres, housing associations etc… In a short period of time they learned to pick up a concept, design a simple stencil and apply it. The emphasis was on small rewarding projects you could run with a non artistically trained public as well as in the context of Art therapy.

One participant said : “Excellent course, very well explained and a finished product to go home with” and another one said “great to have equipment to take home with you so you can try on your own”.

I like sharing the skill of stencilling with the public, its an immensely rewarding technique for anyone to pick up at basic level and every class always finishes on a high with participants amazed at their achievements.

I will be back at 78, Derngate for more workshop at the end of April and I am very much looking forward to it.

Hope you like the photos here, they are the participants achievements….

Betty xx

Stencils for grab @ 78, Derngate

78, Derngate is having a celebration, this year sees the centenary celebration of their refurbishment by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Its a great event with an exhibition running until the 29th April, some heritage talks with a programme here , some workshops which I will run on the 29th of April. A number of iconic pieces came from all over and have been put together in a great display of the work of Mackintosh.

My stencils are available for sale during that period in their shop at 82, Derngate Northampton, a range of traditional Mackintosh stencils, roses and square but also two special designs edited for the occasion under the label of The 78, Derngate stencil.

If you are around Northampton make your way to Derngate, its a great venue with a great temporary exhibition to view and a lovely tea room attached to it.

And you could get yourself a great heritage stencil there.

But if you cant make it then check my my Etsy shop and you will find them there too.

Best wishes.

Betty xx


Making Mackintosh… 78, Derngate centenary events – stencilling workshop and heritage talk !

In 1917, Charles Rennie Mackintosh refurbished to the highest possible standard of both design and realisation a house at 78, Derngate – Northampton England for Mr Basset Lowkes a local industrialist. A very stylish property for the Art Lover that Basset Lowkes was.

In 2017  78, Derngate is celebrating a very important anniversary … 100 years old thats a serious landmark. Some celebrations are underway. I will be taking part this week end.

I will be giving a heritage talk on Friday night the 24th of February at 7pm about the “Making of Mackintosh” schemes, the challenges of recreating heritage stencil schemes from The House for an Art Lover to the 78, Derngate scheme, I have been working on Mackintosh recreations for the past 25 years. If you would like to come and listen details are here

Saturday the 25th of February and again on the 29th of April we are offering a full day workshop in stencilling with details here . This will be an opportunity to practise your stencilling skills on some of Mackintosh’s traditional rose designs as well as on some more recent schemes full of yellow triangles.


Sunday morning I will run a full session for teachers and tutors with details here in a long morning session, I will teach the basic anyone needs to run a stencilling project for children or and adults.

As well as learning to stencil this week end is an opportunity to visit 78, Derngate and the terrific exhibition which has specifically been put up for the Centenary events.

I hope to see you all there at some point.


Best wishes.

Betty xx

New Art Deco Stencil inspired by Mackintosh #78100

In my Etsy shop This month there is a new addition, its a new stencil inspired by the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This time though no roses, no stylised Art Nouveau foliage, this is later work, very much Art Deco.

I had the chance to recreate the 1920 border for the Centenary exhibition at 78, Derngate this month. This border was inspired by the scheme. Its very contemporary yet very Art Deco. Its striking yet has a heritage feel. All over its a great design. You can purchase it directly on my Etsy shop and recreate for yourself a great scheme.

Hope you like it.

Betty x


An Up-Cycling Furniture workshop Revamping your Kitchen How to make a lot out of nothing !

Up-cycling has been very popular for a good number of years and I have found memories of the paint effects classes I used to run a few years ago… Nowadays its called upcycling and although the idea is to make up something old and tired looking into something very trendy again over the past few years the aim of Up-cycling seems to have changed.

When I up-cycled in the early 1990’s the aim was to achieve a lot with little. The fun was into making the crackling varnish work even if using a hair dryer was the key to the challenge…

Nowadays you have to up-cycle using some big name specialised paint and before you know it, the little cupboard you bought from the Shelter shop for £5 cost you over £50 in specialised paint and brushes … surely that is wrong this is not what up-cycling is about.

My up-cycling is about finding out how things work… the difference between oil and waterbased paints and what they both do… what cheap brush you can get from the garage and cut the end of to make a huge waxing brush etc… I want the material cost of your project to be as low as possible and I want to show you how to achieve a enormous load… with very little. A bit like when you make this wonderful quiche out of the scraps of food from the fridge… Same idea !

So I will be running this one day class in my very own workshop on the 14th of May to teach you how to up-cycle/revamp/transform or whatever you want to call it your kitchen cupboards/furniture etc… with not very much.

It will be great fun and you will leave so full of new techniques…

We will start the day with one my well loved home made scones and break at lunch time for a cup of home made soup. You will work during the day on flat boards size of a kitchen cupboard door. You will go home with your achievement and loads of notes on what you like in the day.

I only run those with small groups so you can grab my attention but also feed from one another. Only 6 spaces available. Early bookings get a special price… So if you want to book or more details about the day… click below.

See you there I hope…

Betty xx

For details and bookings look here

78 Derngate a centenary celebration – The 1920’s Hall Lounge recreation

At number 78 Derngate in Northampton there is a small house which is celebrating this year the 100th anniversary of its refurbishment by a very famous architect. Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

I had the great privilege to work with the exhibition team and my role was to recreate two of the heritage stencilled scheme… Not seen for many years they are bright and bold again welcoming the exhibition visitor adorning the original furniture …

I have created a stencil available on My Etsy shop from this border. Its a simplified yet striking border, very much an Art Deco border. Its stunning.


I will be running one day stencilling workshops in Northampton during the  Centenary exhibition on the 29th of April. If you would like to take part please contact 78, Derngate to book see here .

In 1917 its owner Mr Bassett Lowkes commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh a young promising architect to refurbish his newly bought house before moving in with his young bride. The scheme was daring and exciting…. Today 78, Derngate is ran as a charity and opened to the public. The original scheme was refurbished in the early 2000 and an exhibition of Bassett Lowkes’s entrepreneurial life is there to inform the public about local life.

Centenary celebration is on between 1st February till the end of April 2017. An exhibition about Mackintosh’s work, Talks about the refurbishment of the house, stencilling workshop, talks about stencilling recreation.

I had the great pleasure to be involved in the making of the celebrations. Recreating two of the original schemes was a great pleasure and I am looking forward to see the scheme in situ next week. I hope you will have the chance to visit the exhibition while it is on. But in case you don’t here are some images of the work I did there.

In 1917 the house was fitted with a very striking scheme of bright triangles and squares on a black background very ahead of its time. Story tells that Bassett Lowkes was colour blind and Mackintosh in an experimental phase.

However only a few years later, a new design slightly calmed down replaced it. Very geometrical still but on a  pale grey background it was designed again by Mackintosh. With the recreation of the  1920 Hall Lounge  the centenary exhibition will give visitors the unique opportunity to see what Mackintosh designed in the 1920’s for Basset Lowkes.

Key to a good recreation is the quality of the archival elements available. In the case of the 1920 scheme there was a plethora of sketches by Mackintosh’s hand available in the archives of the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow, in the RIBA in London as well as being fully documented with black and white photographs, an period article as well as being fully documented in Roger Billcliffe’s “The Complete Furniture, furniture drawing and interior design”.

A copy of the original stencil plates were available to view in the RIBA, and finally photos of the scheme on the wall discovered about 15 years ago gave a good clue about colours.

After 6 months of research, and 50 hours of work to prepare the stencils I travelled to Northampton on the 10th of January to stencil it again on panels in 78 Derngate using household paint. Each panel takes 9 stencil plates, careful lining of each plate takes time and careful planing.

The stencilled panels are being used to display original furniture from 78, Derngate. I hope you get to see the exhibition.

Best wishes.


The Big Banner project, an art project #crmackintoshbanner2017

2017 #Thebigbanner

If you need further information about the #thebigbannerproject email me @   bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

If you want to read the diary I keep during the run up to the project click here

Here you can view the program of the Mackintosh Festival 2017

During the Mackintosh Festival in Glasgow, I will be running a number of Free drop in “Banner making” events , you dont need bookings for those… just turn up ! There you will be able to have a go at stencilling while make a small contribution to the making of a communal banner

26th September – private event @ The Mack Club Helensburgh with the pupils from Hermitage Academy

1st October 12.30 to 4.30 @Dysart St Clair Church in Fife (suitable for families) read about it here

7th October 11 to 4pm @ The Lighthouse in Glasgow

17th October 12 to 4pm @ Scotland Street School Museums

18th October 11.30 to 4pm @ Kelvingrove Museum

19th October 12.00 to 4pm @ The Hunterian in Kelvinhall

28th October 11.30 to 4pm @ Kelvingrove Museum

I will be running two paid workshops where you will learn out to design a stencil and stencil it to a tote bag. (Cost £25.00 for day with tea and coffee).

14th October 12 to 4pm @ Kelvingrove-Museum (Book here)

22nd October 12 to 4pm @ Scotland Street school Museum (Book Here)

2016 #thebigrose

2016 saw  #thebigroseproject ! For celebrating the 20th anniversary of  The House for an Art Lover I outreached to “people” anyone from anywhere 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…

The Big Rose it all started here

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, together we will outreach to the public once again to recreate banners. Many banners… using stencilling, recycling, mixed media and others… I will run workshops like the one for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum but also some drops in days… Free events where you can just have a go during the month of October 2017.

SO KEEP IN TOUCH IF YOU ARE INTERESTED… send me an email if you would like to take part… or volunteer for it @ bettysbeautifullife@gmail.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 were displayed at 78, Derngate within the Centenary exhibition until the 29th April 2017.

Best wishes…

Betty xx

(all photos in this article are copyright The Lansdowne House of Stencils 2017)


Mackintosh ‘s 78 derngate … watch this place for great things are happening !!!

Did you know that Mackintosh designed a house in England ? In Northampton and it’s opened to the public ? At 78 Derngate its the most jazzy interior I have seen… despite being a Mackintosh building … not a rose in site … triangles and bright colours as in the stencilled scheme … dark scheme reminiscent of the 20´s another side of Mackintosh to be discovered.

Well i hear there might be celebrations ahead as the house will be a whole 100 years old next year and I might just be taking part !!! How exciting.

So plop yourself on their website Here tomorrow morning to discover the program …

And come back here if you want to hear my version.

Good day to you.

Betty xx

New Stencilling class at the glasgow city heritage trust 

Learning a new skill is a good way to … pass the time during cold winter weekends but also make friends and giving yourself the tools to tackle home improvement !

I will be running a one day stencilling workshop at The Glasgow City Heritage Trust on the 19th of November.

During that day we will look at stencilling recreation and your own project if you live in a period property and want to renovate or recreate a design that might have been on your walls. It will be a fun but very informative day with a lot of hands on moment and you will cut your own design and learn to apply it.

For information and bookings look Here but if you have any questions come back to me @ bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

Have a great Sunday.
Betty xx