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 @

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 @  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 @

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