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 @

Have a great Sunday.
Betty xx

Mackintosh and his technicolor dream stencil or 24 #bigroses at The Lighthouse !!!

Sometimes one image says a thousand words !!! 

Here are our words @ The Lighthouse yesterday when I made colours available to the stencillers of #thebigrose !!!

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








24 #Bigroses at The Lighthouse, down the lane and up the tower !

Right in the centre of Glasgow at the bottom of a Mitchell lane off Buchanan street you can find The Lighthouse. And that’s where I was on the 15th October for another #thebigroseday.

If you walk down the lane from the Buchanan street and follow a trail of bright large roses in the style of Mackintosh you get to the front door of this bright, narrow but tall building. I know that because … I stencilled them, one Friday afternoon in October. 

Me, my pot of paint, my knee pads and a large stencil. It was magical fun, it took me longer than I though it would. Not because i was slow at it… just simply because the passers by kept on interrupting… “are you the lady who made the carpet at The Hill House? What are you doing? Could I try? Is this not messy? Are you allowed to do this? and so on…” by the time I reached The Buchanan street the rain was teaming down and I had to stop. But looking back there was a lovely trail of pink bright roses glowing in the rain and the neon lights.


“The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, is a visitor centre, exhibition space and events venue situated in the heart of Glasgow, just off the Style Mile. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a young draughtsman in the architectural practice of Honeyman and Keppie when he designed the Mitchell Street building, which now houses The Lighthouse. The Herald Building was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission.” (The Lighthouse website).

The Lighthouse welcomed #Thebigrose project for a full day demonstration on the 15th of October. Elisabeth, Sula and Lee-Anne arrived with bags full of stencils, brushes, paint pots and masking tape, a few folded sheets of newsprint for the public to practise on and great trepidation. Michael and old friend and great photographer @Ruanaich popped along a little later to say ‘Hi’ for a short while, 5 hours later he was still helping stencilling pink roses on the flagstone and taking great photos which he would later turn into a great video of #thebigrose project.

A table covered with pink pots of paint, a pile of well used stencils, roses, tulips, squares designs in the shapes Mackintosh would have approved off just by the front door at the bottom of the steps. A good number of cushions to give the public a padded experience to kneeling on the floor before stencilling a large rose, everything was planned to the last detail. In previous days we had a timid if steady number of visitors. So we were ready for much the same.

The Lighthouse took us by storm, crowds after crowds walked past us on their way in or out and immediately without having to be coaxed picked up a brush to “have a go” … young, older, man, woman, many many children, visitors to the city, students, travellers, just passers by wanted to have a try at stencilling the rose. After all this building is the design centre by excellence… we had come to the right place.

I wonder why no one has ever discovered if stencilling was as good for the soul as meditating !!! There is something very relaxing in concentrating on applying paint evenly with a brush… gently ! The result is almost always perfect if the brush is dry and when you peel off the stencil plate, the bright rose appears contrasting on the dark flag stone bringing a large smile to the stenciller. Its absolutely magical.

So I had grand plans when planning the events and got the exhibition team to agree to allow me to stencil outside the Mackintosh interpretation centre and on the window of the viewing gallery, pink roses on the glass looking towards “people make Glasgow” pink building but I just could not find the time… to much of a crowd waiting to take part. So I went back this week to do exactly that! it was magical … I even managed to be there at the same time as Alan the volonteer piano player from #pianocity. Alan is a beautiful piano player he dots around playing piano in the most surprising places and his repertoire is stunning. See for yourself ! 

I had  done some testing on the floors and the glass, before the event … I found out it had inspired some instagramer and even  a blogger how great is that ?

All through the day groups and individuals passed by many stopped… I even got an impromptu interview by a journalist from the French newspaper “Le Monde” …

4 o’clock arrived in a flash, my unopened lunch was still seating on the corner of a table. So we packed up, folded the table and went home, I was so very excited by the buzzing atmosphere of the event…

And the good news is … We are back this week on the Saturday 29th all day for more stencilling…

Hoping to see you there.


Best luck with Monday 🙂 I am off cutting stencils for another #thebigrose event… and you?

Betty xx

STENCILLING CLASS !!! 22nd/23rd October – The House for an Art Lover

Pushing paint through the holes of a template to produce a design, could be the most simplistic definition of stencilling but probably the most accurate ! Off course you use a brush !

The best thing about Stencilling is the beautiful result anyone can get without being specifically artistic. I love the way participants all using the same stencil produce so diverse pieces of work and end up with different art work at the end of the session.

I will be running a stencilling class at The House for an Art Lover on the 22/23rd October. Places are available for either of the days. For detail or booking check here

On the first day we will tackle stencilling from ready cut stencil plates, at the end of that day the participants will be able to tackle standard schemes. Wanting more, on the second day  you will learn to design your own stencil.

The photos of our April week end will surely inspire you.

I hope to see you there.


Betty x

24 #Big roses at The Mackintosh Church A Pure Dead Brilliant experience !

Queens Cross Church in the Maryhill Area of Glasgow is the only church that Mackintosh fully built. Thats may be why locally we call it The Mackintosh Church. It’s located at the cross road of Maryhill and Garcube roads next door to Partick Thistle football grounds in a really popular area of Glasgow. Locals remember going to the services there and for them its a popular buildings.

So strange… as for the rest of the world this is the headquarters of The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society… and for me … my very first job when arriving in Glasgow almost 30 years ago !

And there is a small triangle of land in the middle of it. Thats where #thebigrose project was happening this Sunday. With visitors to the city, Mackintosh Society members and many local children from the Queens’ Cross Area My volunteers and I spent the Sunday stencilling large roses on the ground.  The weather was gorgeous as it often is in October a bit like it feels guilty for all the rain its been throwing at us all through the summer and it needs to make peace before the cold winter arrives…

It was only right that this project had a day there… After all this is where everything Mackintosh wise starts as The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has its head-quarters in the church building. A Squarish looking red sand stone building with a turret and a beautiful stain glass quite modern in the shape of a heart but so blue !

So we arrived first thing and planted our table in the middle of the triangle and traced a rectangle carpet 3.5 m x 6 x on the ground… getting ready for participants to turn up and fill it up with roses.

And they came, from China, Japan, Balloch, the South Side and … on the other side of the road. We had young and old on their knees, applied with their large brush and enormous stencil making sure the brush stayed dried to avoid mess. Many small children with their mums crossed the road from Springbank street to try their hand at stencilling on paper first then on the ground, in pairs sometimes three of them around a rose made sure to cover every area in pink paint.

A friend from an up-cycling class came along to have a go, a volunteer who was not on that day brought her daughter to have a try. A mature couple came along to try, both of them held the brush and left so satisfied to have had a go. An older lady who was sorry about having bad arthritis did not try but came to have a chat about the good old days in that neighborhood.

Had I missed something there. So busy thinking about the Mackintosh fans I had forgotten to speak to the locals. And they were so very keen to take part. Shame on me, I will need to address the local Housing Association at Queens Cross. I hear they are always very opened to new experiences and I bet the local children would love to have another go.

Thats the thing about Art projects as those. They are for the people not for the purists. They are for the little people like me and you to try their hands and be so happy to have tried. Those projects are not for the galleries and the posh openings.

#thebigrose project is all about exchanging and being nice to one another. They are for sharing and taking part. And they did share their roses when then were stencilling. Will you do this in pair? off course we will…. and there you are… two individuals who did not know one another are seating on the pavement stencilling a flower on the ground…


What can I say, its Glasgow and its pure dead brilliant !

 cant wait to bring #thebigrose to The Lighthouse this week end. Another day, another rose…


I hope to see you there.


Betty xx

24 #bigroses at The Hill House

This morning, 24 beautiful ordered large cabbage roses are adorning the lawn in front of  The Hill House in Helensburgh, that Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed for the publisher Blackie in the early 1900’s, a pure Scottish Art Nouveau Gem !

They are the result of the first day of  #thebigroseproject , an art project I am running this October in connection with the  #MackintoshFestival  this year.

We have 5 #Bigroseproject day and 1 Stencilling Masterclass during the month of October.

The idea is to welcome the public to the Mackintosh venues this autumn during the festival with a carpet made of roses designed by the great master over 100 years ago. The rose we used here comes from #thewillowtearooms but was used for the stencilling of the fire place of the 1990’s creation of   #thehouseforanartlover in Glasgow.

Its a grand project, a year in the making, and many people involved in the preparation but today is a special day as for the first time the beautiful rose gets stencilled again and this time by the visitors themselves. To help me making sure they enjoy this #theGlasgowrosegirls my wee volunteers  Rachel and Sula are giving them a full stencilling practise making sure they get the grip of their stencilling brush before they are given a cushion and down on the ground they get to stencilled their large cabbage rose.

Volunteers are a great thing, I was once told by Creative Scotland that one should not expect to “exploit” people with the mere promise of an entry on one’s CV. I am not sure he understood the process… When looking at the interaction I have with my volunteers on this project I think he might have failed to understand the whole “exchange” concept of volunteering. In this project I get 6 very keen “arty” young girls who want to involve themselves in an art project without  having to drive it. They are gifted, enthusiastic, full of energy and ready to engage for the day. They have real skills they are prepared to share but they also want to learn in the process and meet other likeminded folks. And that I can offer them… in return they make sure I don’t turn into a nervous reck that all the visitors feel important and looked after. They tried their hand at stencilling, they even stencilled a few roses themselves. They drank tea, stood in the beautiful sunny garden for the day and met a good number of great visitors and gave me advice. We exchanged, we were this short lived team. It was a beautiful exchange. They were so joyful, they made a huge difference to the success of the project.

The internet is is wonderful took when it comes to rally people for such a project. I have been posting on Instagram, Face book, Linkedin etc… photos and brief of this project, many organisations have been so supportive, Glasgow Mackintosh were very involved as this is part of their festival, but many reposted, tweeted and son on and … People turned up in a magical way ! Out of the blue ! from everywhere and no where!…

And then after much preparation I made my way to The Hill House. In the stunning garden we ran the first day of #thebigrose project.

We arrived with a car full of stencils, brushes and paint, two volunteers and myself, that would be us “The Glasgow Rose Girls” and we set up a large piece of tarpaulin in the garden path. On it we would stencil during the day a good number of Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed roses. The Plan… make a carpet. Get the public to stencil those roses onto the Tarpaulin, getting them to remember the feel of hand-made Arts and Crafts. Getting them to look at some really good Mackintosh design and switch off for a few minutes from normal life to become an artist even for a few minutes.
We were greeted by Property manager Lorna and gardener, Gavin. They were both on their sunday off and on their way to do another walk another garden, I cant imagine their reaction when coming back to The House they saw the carpet at night, its very large…

Karen the retail manager at the property had a good go at it, she is an artist herself and produces those wonderful silk painted scarves. She came down from her office, and … stencilled a rose.

The best stencillers by far were the children, completely fearless they were arriving with their mums and dad (and sometimes powerless little brothers or sisters in the pram) and got to work, no fear about making a mess like any adult would think… just down to business eager to hold the brush and make an early start.

We had a very early starter, a local lady member of the local Art Club… she had just booked herself on my stencilling workshop later this month in Helensburgh but she wanted to try her hand at the technique. We had visitors to the house who found us by accident, we had young family rallied by a friendly Facebook post who came to amuse their young ones. We had international travellers…

We even had…. The Local Cat !

The result is stunning and after a second quick visit this week to check the paint and add the leaves I expect it will be there until the end of October a moving carpet which will tour around the garden to avoid yellowing the grass… Gavin the gardener offered to move it around for me. Thats a new job for a gardener… Moving the roses around without getting his hands dirty !

I am looking forward to next Sunday, We will be at Queens Cross Church stencilling on the pavement this time on the 9th of October. I hope to see you there!

Have a great week !

Betty xx



#thebigrose update ! One week to go !!!!

This week marks the beginning of the Autumn season and the last week before the Mackintosh festival kicks in !

The leaves have started coming down on my garden path and #thebigrose I stencilled a while ago are fading gracefully … They remind me that in a week tomorrow I will be packing up stencils and brushes, paint and knee pads for our first day of the project at The Hill House in Helensburgh on the 2nd of October.

There, in the garden path we will be stencilling a beautiful carpet of Mackintosh roses and if you come on the day we will let you stencil your own rose … 

My excitement is high this week … the local press has now caught up with my project and The Glasgow Herald and Visit Scotland have talked about it in the paper and online. 

Visit Scotland have mentioned #thebigrose one of the 7must do of the festival. This is so exciting. 

I have now a wee group of volunteers very excited about taking part … Glasgow rose girls 4 of them from very different background but all excited by the project and in Love with Mackintosh and his rose… We will all meet on Thursday to finalise the team, do a practice run check out everyone’s abilities and make up a rota.

I have been testing some of the surfaces I will be stencilling on (see below ! I might have gone wild at The Lighthouse).

I will be preparing the tarpaulin for Sunday by quoting them with a primer Ho Ho ! How exciting … Ready to take the paint !!!

Some stencils are still needed cut ! 

​And I will charge my camera to make sure I have hours of battery for all the photo taking ! 

For your diary ! An entry : A day to remember. 2nd of October 2016 ! Between 11am and 3pm Stencilling roses at The Hillhouse. 

Have a great holiday week end if you are in Scotland.
Betty X 

Doors open days !!!

Last week was Glasgow dod  (Glasgow Door open days) a week long festival part of a huge international movement which consist in opening doors of historic buildings who are normally not open to the public. It’s a huge thing in Glasgow, a week long festival with  heritage talks, opened buildings, guided tours, and douzains of people walking around the last week end head down in their pink little book ticking all the venues they have done. Ahhh ! #ilovedod

This year was a bit different though. I decided to take part, this time not a spectator eager to learn but as one of the #intheknowhow one of the knowledgeable speakers of an other time an other place and by God it was so much fun… I have met so many interesting people and at the end of the week I was so tired…

Glasgow doors open days 2016 program

The House for an Art Lover’s is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and I though it was time to give back to the venue that has been so good to me over the years in providing me with great work. I offered the venue to give two “heritage talks” about the making of the stencilled scheme in 1996 and I went to dig out my 20 years old stencils, drawings and old photos. I took around the Mackintosh rooms two groups of visitors, from Glasgow but also from Japan and China, explaining the sources for this design, the technique used and finally demonstrated stencilling as it would have been done in Mackintosh’s days. How difficult is it to recreate something that has never existed… where do you get sources for this… what technique do you use… does everyone like your result? Talking about the process made me remember so many good images of past times when up a huge ladder I was stencilling The House. The dust of the joiners finishing last bits of woodwork, hard hat and hard boots. The smell of paint and the satisfaction of the job well done… until… the new tenant decided to paint over one of my friezes but that is a different story … it was interesting to discuss with complete strangers how you come to terms with the loss of a design you have just worked on for several months. The Mystery frieze had a lot of success.


The Glasgow Guild opened their doors this week to a number of artists/artisans “jacks of all trades” and was holding talks and demonstrations. I was one of them…


Karen Beauchamp talked about recreating “historic walpapers” and highlighted the importance for businesses to keep well organised archives. Her 200 + photographs were stunning scenes of pattern books and past designs, vintage views and new recreations for sophisticated French compagnies such as Isodore Leroy for whom she has re-edited a collection of wall papers from their archives at Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Rue de Rivoli in Paris. How very stunning. Karen has spent a lifelong working on wall papers and fabric re-editions and I worked along her during my last project…. At the Ault Wharrie house in Dunblane she re-created a wall paper from some old scraps found in a forgotten back room. A complete stunning piece of work. Karen is an artist and leaves in the North of Scotland where she runs workshops and lovely painting holidays…


Helen McCook is a stunning embroiderer a graduate from the Royal School of Needlework, I have seen some of the work she did for The Glasgow Guild Mackintosh cabinet, delicate poetry with a needle and a silk thread. Her talk about the myth of the embroiderer was fun and full of deep comments about the traditional task of a modern day embroiderer. Her work is stunning and varied. In a few sentences she modified the impression I had of the task of an embroiderer. Modern, focused, creative but traditional and so very serious its a great craft… or should I say Art Form ? Helen has embroidered for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and Kate Moss party dress … does it get any better? will all left to go home and look for that tumble .

But the best of the celebration was the week end when I got to share that very special space that the Glasgow guild have in Renfrew street only a small step away from the Glasgow School of Arts… Wilma MacKenzie  the glass engraver (the very last of the kind) and I were to spend two days marvelling visitors with tales of past jobs, hands on demonstrations and talks about theories on job well done. As for me  My talks were about “colours and shapes in recreation of historical stencilling” and I would then get the public to try their hands at stencilling a George Walton border and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh Rose. It was so much fun. Wilma seating at the wheel was demonstrating how the little diamond was engraving the Crystal glass with delightful shapes. Lucky members of the public were allowed to have a go.

The tables were bursting with old stencils, large brushes, bottles of pigments, metallic objects unknown to the common passer’s by.

Sunday arrived so fast but we were so tired, so full of the excitement of sharing forbidden knowledge with visitors eager to hear secret tales of a life they dream about… the creative one.

My head full of the excitement of the past week I packed my treasures in the boot of my car Sunday night promising to take part next year again… I missed every single talk I wanted to attend to and I have not discovered a single new building this year… But giving is so much more enjoyable than receiving…

I need to email Rachel tomorrow morning to offer to take part next year. That was so much fun…

Here are the photos and the films I took during the week… enjoy… make sure you book to come and see us next year.

In the meantime, us the artists and the Glasgow guild we are putting together a program of very specialised classes for 2017… if you want to be kept in the loop email your details to … we will keep you posted.



Photography competition – Glasgow DOD Win Glasgow Style Stencils

Between the 12 and the 18th September I am taking part in the #glasgowdod and I will give talks about stencilling Mackintosh but also about Historic stencilling . Glasgow DOD is a great celebration of Glasgow architecture and Scottish Style.

The Lansdowne House of Stencils will be offering the prize of 3 stencils in the Glasgow Style to one of the winners of the Photo competition organised that week by Glasgow DOD.

So dont waste time, get your phones and cameras out and get photographing between the 12 and the 18th of September… and see details of the competition here

Love  Betty xx