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 @

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

Give a girl a brush ! The Big Banner Project in the colours of a rainbow !

The Big Banners can be seen in an exhibition @ The Lighthouse (3rd floor) until the 5th November 2017. It is an art project part of The Mackintosh Festival.

Young people are very open to creativity and they have no fear of the brush ! I mean offer any “non arty” adult to have a go at stencilling and they shy away … But offer a brush to a young girl and immediately you get marvelled by the power of creativity !

One of The Big Banner sessions took place in The House for an Art Lover with the class of young girls from Craigholms school for girls in Glasgow. 20 pupils came to discover Mackintosh, they left with a banner after having been taught to stencil in the traditional way and taken it one step further… the step of creativity.

Stencilling is just a decoration technic after all isn’t it ? It is the action of transferring a design using a stubby brush and some acrylic paint through the holes of a template. Wether the stencils are of Mackintosh designs or not… there is nothing to prevent you from using rainbows of colours to imprint the design. I am always surprised on my stencilling courses to see how 10 participants starting with the same stencils and paint end up with very different designs. So no wonder that a group of very creative young girls could come up with such wonderful and colourful designs…

Practise makes perfect ! The idea is to show the original technique then let people practise as much they want and gradually they get the turn of the brush and let go… that is when the most creative come up with wild schemes…. and a bunch of girls surely will feed of one another to borrow any colour under the rainbow and create joy.

It is a fact that we want to teach children theory and techniques but if only we could take the time to learn from them 🙂 letting go and copy their creativity, their fearless attitude…. many adults would gain in much improved design by letting go !

Their banner is displayed at The Lighthouse until the 5th November … You should go see it !

Best wishes.

Betty xx

Back to School ! The Big Banner @ The Scotland Street School Museum

And they came from all over Scotland, to Scotland Street Museum  … some of them early retired with a desire to learn new skill. A quiet small group focused on making the most of the day with me. They wanted to understand the technique, make something beautiful and spend a relaxing day… Making a big banner.

What better place than an old school to learn… and one that Mackintosh built to recreate a banner he designed…

Scotland Street School is a striking red sandstone building that Mackintosh designed for the then Glasgow Corporation as a school. In a busy area of the Southside of Glasgow it was to become a school with a side for girls and a side for boys. Interesting bricks, bright blue stain glasses and loads of iron work its is standing like a Fort ! many years later it is now part of Glasgow Life the organisation which houses the “Museums” of Glasgow. Scotland street is seen as the “Children” museum but it is also right in the “Asian patch” of Glasgow and at the moment houses a most interesting exhibition about the Asian community in Glasgow. I have ran classes in its very large foyer years ago and it was so very fun to come back here for two of the Big Banner workshop this week.

It was the “Wizzard school” this week. A wild event where douzains of wanabe “Harry Potter” and dressed up witches were running through the building from activity to activity. What a great idea was that… I teach stencilling to many children but its not everyday that wizard come to school to learn to stencil a Mackintosh rose…. We all had fun on that day.

But back to my lovely quiet, middle age, retired and no Scottish group what a very relaxing workshop that was. It shows you that stencilling is really a technic for all. In that very location running the same workshop the age range of the participants was between 4 years to 75 years old !!!

So the wizard stencilled many many small motifs and the more mature participants made beautiful tall banners… which both will be hanging at the Lighthouse as from today.

But also yesterday’s group took stencilling to a more personal level and went away with a tote bag they had designed with the roses stencils available and after having practised the technique to perfection. There is a great reward in “hand made” and I am always happy to see how much joy my participants are getting out of realising they can produce something beautiful !!!

Because this project is about learning a new skill, opening your mind to good design and taking part in team work what better way to spend your day off than that…

There will be a final public workshop for The Big Banner on the 28th October at Kelvingrove between 11.30 and 4pm… and I have just heard that poets from the    “Honest Error”  group will be taking part. What a great tribute to Mackintosh will that be…

I hope to see you at Kelvingrove next week for a bit of brush work. Its a drop in event you dont need to book … just turn up.

Have a great creative week.


Honest Error – Glasgow Poets on Charles Rennie Mackintosh

If you would like a copy of this book, you can order it Here If you live in The UK and if you live overseas Here.

A group a Glasgow Poet went into a basement storage a few months back to have a look at the collection of items by Charles Rennie Mackintosh… and the felt inspired ! Would you blame them?

An anthology of poems could be disjointed and rough looking but this one is superbly together … and the reason for that is Gillean was the editor. What a focus in the writing  and what beautiful words… No wonder I felt inspired and jumped up when Gillean asked me to take a very small part in their project and design the cover. What a treat !

‘There is hope in honest error, none in the icy perfection of the mere stylist’ became a personal motto for Mackintosh and is a very iconic motto…. So it was taken on board by the publishers and myself in the process. They wrote I cut the stencils.

So I spent a couple of weeks thinking about what Mackintosh would have wanted the design to be and I chose the simple rose ! its his trade mark afterwards…Everyone knows it… a bunch of stylised roses on a silver background ! I am so very happy with the result great poetry and local roses… Mackintosh would be happy ! I think !

The launch was last night and it seems everyone loved it ! This is their first book and my first cover. I would do this again so interesting…

I hope you get your copy and enjoy it much.



The Glendale Women’s Cafe workshop – #stencillingisforthemany

This morning took me to the South Side of the City, a community cafe by the name of The Glendale Women’s Cafe. I was to meet there ladies who meet once a week in that community led Cafe with a charitable status to catch up and take part in many activities from Arts and Crafts to Massage. Its on Shields Road, Glasgow you know around the corner from the school of the same name !

So one French lady (that would be me) spent the morning teaching stencilling by the Scottish architect Mackintosh to a bunch of Pakistanis ladies how random can you get … We just had so much fun… They did so well… we ate cake, drank tea and stencilled roses and squares to start with…

But the aim was to learn to stencil on fabric so that they could stencil the name of their cafe on a bag for life from the stencil I hand cut for them.

What a creative bunch… They will spend the next four or five weeks decorating the rest of the bag with embroideries, sequins and various other goodies.

Now that’s my kind of girls, a real local community with kids at the school around the corner, sharing life stories and laughter while making art.

I was there for a couple of hours running my workshop but really I could not leave… It felt like a big family home… Oh and I did get Hugs from everyone.

I cant wait to go back and see their result…. I did promise I would be back to say Hi !


Betty xx

Fife creativity – A big banner was made in Dysart for the #Mackfest2017

Leeanne Macleod took the photos of the workshop … thanking her !

FullSizeRender-13In 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.

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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



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 !!!


Betty xx

Spy and Try … Mackintosh at the Willow

There is a Spy and Try stencilling station in a tent @ 215 Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow… in front of the building of Mackintosh’s willow Tea Rooms which we now call “Mackintosh at the Willow” why don’t you come and try your hand at Stencilling? I was there last week end, for the door open days but also training volunteers who going forward will welcome you and show you how to stencil… Would you like to come?

Would you like to volunteer to help with it? if yes email the trust office

A good hundred years ago, 115 to be precise, a Glasgow Business Woman Kate Cranston commissioned a local architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh to refurbish a building in the fashionable Sauchiehall Street to be opened as a fashionable Tea Rooms … and did he just do that… Having worked with the very well known Miss Cranston over the years on other buildings … The Willow Tea Rooms would be his cherry on the cake. Kate Cranston asked from Mackintosh nothing but the 100% design. From facade to the back, inside and out, all elements including waitresses uniform and cutlery Mackintosh set out to complete his task in a short period and the finished Tea Rooms opened to the public both local and International Art Specialists with great trepidation.

Sauchiehall is a very special place, one of the most important shopping avenue at the time, today its one of the very important piedestran street in Glasgow. Its also “down the hill” from the famous Glasgow School of Arts one of Mackintosh’s very praised commission which is currently being rebuilt after the terrible recent fire. Could we be in the “Mackintosh Mile” …  It takes its name from the old Scottish language which people have forgotten about… “the avenue of the willow trees”  this is the tea room that Mackintosh designed for this delightful avenue of the willow trees… how poetic is that.

Over the years the building went up and down and in my time in Glasgow it has been host to a very good albeith Mockintosh “themed” tearoom run by a local family…. Great scone though and a decent cup of tea too … but not the elegant interior that Mackintosh had once designed and certainly the building could do with a huge uplift.

All is not lost. A couple of years ago a local business woman and Mackintosh lover decided to do Glasgow a good dead and with her very own pennies purchased the Tea Rooms buildings from the Council with the enormous task to refurbish to a superb standard this A listed unique work of art. A charitable trust was formed with in it a good deal of specialists in the field, professor in Mackintosh studies, owner of other Mackintosh buildings… and  for The Willow Tea Room Trust a lottery grant was gained. The work is underway and should be completed by the birthday of the great man in June 2018… The Big Mackintosh year. This should be a very joyful occasion.

Off course there is the name issue… The Willow Tea Rooms was registered as a trading name a good 20 years ago by the lady entrepreneur and it is being used still today for another Tea Rooms further down in Sauchiehall Street. How confusing for visitors because off course although its a very good tea rooms its not really The Willow Tea Rooms, or is it? Oh so difficult when you mix history and business… What would Mackintosh think? There is so much symbolism in his work I am not sure he would want his “Willow Tea Rooms” to be in Buchanan street … but then what do you do when you have built a business over 20 years… and given a lot of customers a great service. I am not sure I have an answer. The important is to be transparent… call a cat a cat I say !

So It will be “Mackintosh at the Willow” and what a better name and more poetic for such a beautiful project. A huge crowd of Mackintosh lovers and specialists all embarked in the adventure to complete the work in time….

There is the small matter of the couple of £ million missing… could you donate? There is a fund raising campaign you can access Here  how being part of this great adventure.

But in the meantime we will be welcoming the public regularly in the Spy and Try tent opposite the Tea Rooms at 215 Sauchiehall Street, check the Trust’s website for the dates. There we will give you news and show you how to stencil… Every month a new design, grab our passport when you come first and get it stamped when you come. A small gift will reward all completed passport when the Tea Rooms reopen next June.

A few visitors had a go last week end for doors open day. It was very good fun. If you volunteer I will certainly train you.

So see you there?

Betty x

Mackintosh is calling all beginners !

During his own Festival and in his own church Mackintosh is calling all stencilling beginners for a one day class this October !!!

If you want to book or see details click here

Queen’s cross church is a beautiful church designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the Maryhill community in the past times. As well as a stunning church building it has a stunning church hall perfect venue for a stencilling class. A great light glass ceiling allows beautiful light in while the wooden surrounding makes you feel cosy… Stylish furniture to welcome you…

I will be running a full day beginners stencilling class there on the 25th October during the Mackintosh Festival. We will work with stencils made after his design and numerous types of paint. We will stencil fabric as well as different type of paper and in the afternoon you will get the chance to design you own Mackintosh stencil.

This is a full day workshop which runs between 10 and 4pm, we get plenty of lovely coffee breaks during which you can go visit the church and the very well appointed shop. We also take a lunch break, you can bring your own lunch or you can visit the very well known local Italian Jacconelly for their traditional Fish and Chips !!!

This class only takes 10 participants so you get plenty of attention and if you have any personal project there is time to talk about it.


I cant wait to see you there….


Betty xx