Being a Textile Artist and an Eco Up-cycler in Scotland

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You tube video here ! Being a textile artist and Eco Upcycler in Scotland 

(credit for this video goes to Gemma Munro Media & Eve Christie)

I am a textile artist based in the West end of Glasgow, and I am an Eco Upcycler… I use local leaves and locally sourced natural dyes like Onion skin, Turmeric, St John’s wort. I recycle bed linen donated by my local bed and breakfast and Ephemera paper from the Oxfam bookshop… I share my knowledge with course participants, the public, school children… I just love my creative life…. If you would be interested to share my creativity via a class, please see the bottom of this blog post for detail on my new classes.

“I start the day with a walk in the park where I pick up my essential supplies (leaves) before returning to my studio where i find the essentials needed to create my art… via my local B & B where I will be given discarded bed linen to up-cycle… I love “remaking” and mixing old with new, gathering the elements of my creations from well loved objects”

 

My artistic practise finds its roots in a conflicts between Ecology and Industrial waste. Through my creations ephemeral botanical beauties gain an eternal lease of life and join forces with discarded objects to become desirable pieces.
My work find its sources in traditional well executed crafts techniques associated with witchcraft. Hot cauldrons, needles and thread and sand paper are side by side on my worktable.

 

In my personal work I am forcing a relationship and a personal narrative between nature and nurture.
My work takes place in the circular local economy, I remake discarded objects drawing on botanical witchery and industrial texture building. For those who want to learn my craft I have endless passion and skills to pass on… Bring me the children I will make them into creative men and women who treat the world in a kinder way and make Eco-recycling a way of Life.Glasgow 2019

 

 

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Eco Printing Week end retreat in Scotland – 25th, 26th May

I am very excited to be running an Eco Printing Week end creative Retreat on 25/26 May at the great Bridgend Farmhouse  in  Edinburgh with the gifted Edinburgh based Book binder Cassandra Barron from   Bookbinding with Cass   not only you will learn all about Eco Printing with  Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw both on cloth and paper (including recycled paper)… but you will also make make numerous prints on paper and cloth on the first day with leaves harvested around the Farmhouse building… but on day two Cassandra will take us through the magic of Informal Book Binding and we will make using some of our prints some journals and some hand stitched books,   f you would like to join Book here

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Eco Printing Week end in Glasgow – 13th, 14th July

I will be running a full week end of Eco Printing in my Glasgow West end based Studio on the 13th, 14th July, we will explore Eco Printing with Scottish leaves on a variety of cloth and paper, we will use natural dyes which can be sourced locally and a bit of Indigo. I usually  only take a small number of participants to allow complete interaction and i offer a home made lunch and fresh made coffee both days. You leave with a lot of prints and a beautifully printed scarf. This is quite a unique workshop… I will teach you how to prepare your material, which equipment to use and how to care for your prints…. If you want to join or more info look look here

I hope to meet you again to share with you my passion…

Have a great week end.

Betty xx

Up-cycle as a way of Life, from boxes to chairs, your loved objects need some TLC and you a new skill !

To book on one of my Up-cycling Furniture workshops see below for link ! I cant wait to meet you there … 

Spring is coming along and with it pink flowers on the Japanese trees and a new urge to declutter.… suddenly the windows are flying opened and dust start showing up in the lovely sun-rays … Do you ever feel you have all too much “stuff” around you and have the urge to take it all to the nearer charity shop… dump ??? Ready for some fresh, clean, crisp new items to replace the old ones….

Well I say stop right there ! … you could be making such a big mistake… how about up-cycling them ? giving objects who have fallen out of your Love… a new lease of life, I believe objects have a soul and they hate being discarded at the first ray of sunshine … they want to be given a chance to shine again, to be loved, to become again your fav box… your fav chair… and you could be doing just this.

Up-cycling, is one of these new buzz word… Remaking is another one. Well you don’t exactly make anything… you just give them a good clean, a fresh coat of paint and some fancy finishes… fancy like stencilling, Decoupage, textured stencilling….  you know just like when you feel you need a change and get your hair cut or coloured… you would not want to change head when you need a change right?  they always say if you don’t feel so well go to the hairdresser and suddenly you feel much better.  Why not apply this rule to your loved objects…. give them a make over and suddenly the shape you always liked but now pink and stencilled will make you happy again.

They say images say 1000 word… just check out those babies…. three boxes “remade” by some of my up-cycling participants this season… three ladies age between 20 and 60 with very different taste… so much diversity and yet same techniques… painting, stencilling, decoupage…

I have a few spaces left on my next blocks of Up-cycling furniture workshops … do you have any objects to up-cycle? We are a match made in heaven… join my class and I will fill you in techniques … you do the hard work and get the reward… and your objects… are so happy to be given another chance…

Another buzz word is “ZERO WASTE” …

So if you want to join in the fun check the two links below… :

My block of 8 weeks of Upcycling Furniture in Glasgow starting on the 30th April Book here

My block of 8 weeks of Upcycling Furniture in Glasgow starting on the 2nd May Book here

I look forward to see you and your old boxes there…

Love

 

Betty xx

 

#2019 CraftsNine challenge – a year full of learning crafts in a challenge !

Would you like to join me on my #2019craftsnine challenge on Instagram to channel my creativity towards a better end result ? I will also post on a Face book page

This is about being creative and pushing your creative boundaries further… in an organised manner .. Through my #2019craftsnine I want to give myself a focus.

It would be nice to claim the credit for this idea but I was inspired by Rochelle from Home Row Fiber who for two years now has been running a sewing challenge in 9 projects. I found her approach refreshing and decided to jump in the band wagon in my own context as sewing is not my thing.

January is always a good time for new resolutions, eat better, work more reasonable hours, take time off, etc… the fact is I would not change my working life as a creative artist… it is perfect and I love every minute of every day. But I could do with a focus when it comes to special projects. This will do nicely.

I have picked 9 areas where I want to work through the next twelve months at improving my work… either learning from scratch, like batik work, like weaving, and in those I will just make a head start. In other like Eco Printing I will be looking at improving my technique in one particular area…. and you can do the same if you have a list long like a piece of string of what you aim to achieve… You have to be realistic through… I have booked myself on some workshops (for example I have booked myself this gorgeous Eco Printing workshop with Irit Dullman next June in Holland… a complete treat and I am sure she will make me work hard), for other projects I just want to focus on using what I have accumulated at home like this little pattern I bought several months ago and never used.

You could decide to spend the year working on your embroidery skills, one stitch at a time? or book yourself on a pottery class and aim at throwing the perfect mug before the end of the year… or using up your stash of recycled paper cutting to make greeting cards for every occasions, one subject a month… the word is your oyster !

So here it is my very own crafts challenge and yours if you would like to join me. Nine projects I will work on during this year, 9 new directions in my creative practise and for each some new artwork, a new class, an exhibition… some kind of result to show the result of my achievement… but really all I am doing is working on my personal development with the help of my Craftsninechallenge plan of action…

I put together my photo by using my phone App Diptic but there are many available… if you struggle send me a message I will make a suggestion…

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My 2019craftsninechallenge action plan:

From top to bottom, from left to right…:

1 – Embroidery: I will learn to use simple embroidery inspired by the South East of Asia Hill Tribe in my textile work. I have brought back from Thailand a simple step by step guide … in Lanna language 🙂 but with sketches…

2 – Batik work: I will add to my Indigo work some simple Batik technique, probably not as skilled as this beautiful work I saw in at the creative market of the Chiangmai design week but in the same direction.

3 – Eco-Dye: I had the great chance to experiment with Eco-dyes in Thailand this winter using local dyes to there and I want to experiment further with this technique using local botanical elements to my home in Scotland.

4 – Adorn: I will make a point of using in my mix media pieces, some of the “treasures” I have gathered when travelling, here beads from my last holidays. It makes projects so much more meaningful, I have in mind a batch of hand stitched bracelets.

5 : Eco Print: I will work on my Eco Printing composition techniques, I have booked myself on a master workshop with the great Irit Dulman for the summer and cant wait to catch Irit’s techniques.

6 : Sewing: I will make this little dress/shirt I bought the pattern for last year. I know it is not an essential part of my practise but it is good to do something different and complete a project you have dreamed about…

7 : Pottery: I will make a point of throwing more pots on the wheel… I had a glorious day in Chiang Mai last december working at the InClay studio and now I cant wait to find a local studio to my Glasgow Home to get the chance to have another go…

8 : Stencilling: In 2018 I focused my stencilling work in using textured stencilling to create books with the book binding Cassandra Barron, I loved stretching the technique and want to go further in using stencils in an out of the box way…

9 : Tool Making: I have wanted for a while using elements around me to create tools to help my creative work. here a brush made out of twigs, I will look further in what I can use to make small tools.

I will post my progress regularly on my Instagram page @bettysbeautifullife and my Face book page.

I would love if you would like to join me in this challenge to improve your creativity in an organised manner .

If you decide to do so, please create your own #2019craftsninechallenge image on Instagram, by using a phone app similar to Diptic. Post your photo not forgetting to add the tag #2019craftsninechallenge and tagging me on instagram @bettysbeautifullife, it would be great if you explained in a few words what you will be covering.

You may struggle to decide the direction to follow. I looked back through my 2018 photos and decided on the 9 which represented my creative needs the most. You might look at your existing projects, your various stash, your half started projects. My practise is quite vast you may decide to only go in one direction… make this a knitting project, or a drawing one. The important thing is to choose a technique which really brings you immense satisfaction.

Dont be too ambitious and you will surprise yourself. Focus on what you can achieve. There is always next year for the rest…

Dont try to achieve too much on your own… I have linked a couple of my aims to workshops I will attend like the glorious Eco Printing and Eco Dyeing workshops with artists who have all to give me. My aim in that case is to grab their knowledge. I may make something out of it… or not. My aim is to learn not to remake the world.

Do connect things together, quite a few of the techniques I am looking at are linked with my textile practise and my travelling in Asia…. Is there something you can connect? Do you live on a farm and have wool you would like to learn to felt, spin, dye?

Aim low and get great satisfaction in your achievements. Think collectively.

But more importantly think creatively, and get great pleasure in what you decide to go for. Crafts is the new meditation and its practise gives great relaxation and pleasure.

If you are insure and would like help with this please email me on bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

Happy New Year and lots of love

 

Betty xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make something out of nothing or why I love Up-cycling Furniture

I will be running my next block of Upcycling Furniture class next January wont you join me ? Information is below… It will be fun ! We will make something out of nothing ! We will remake some of your old beloved pieces, some of your good find from local charity shops and that old chair you found in your attic !

Details here Booking details for upcycling course

There has been a recent craze for Up-cycling, did you notice? When I started Up-cycling furniture it was called paint effects… we also stencilled and had a go at all sorts of techniques like Rag Rolling, Sponging etc… Sometimes I look at the effects I used to create and I can honestly say … some of them were very NAF … I like today’s clear lines and sophisticated techniques… What I have kept from those early days though is the love of a job well done ! No slapping chalkpaint without fully preparing, sanding and priming the piece before. That would be a bit like attaching gold leaf to an old bit of wood without any size… The effect would be there but the first time to knock your item… it would chip.

And what I practise for myself I teach to others… I am an absolute sticker for a good undercoat. All pieces leaving my studio are stunning out of the good taste of my participants but they are also very well done. It does pay up !

I like my up-cycling classes they are how can I say … a club of friends meeting regularly who paint while catching up with the last news… by the log fire with a great smell of coffee around. For me its a real pleasure to see pupils evolving from piece to piece getting more and more technical in their approach. Some of them have never handled a brush when they first came but gradually build up the lovely know how as they up-cycle their tables/chairs and so on.

We make discovery together, someone’s mistake results in a new technique being discovered. Like the textured stencilling we now use regularly and the lovely acrylic paint stencilling which stays strong under the distressed chalk paint.

If you dont believe me just check the photos below… those are examples of work done over the past few weeks… these could be yours.

I will be running my next upcycling block of classes from the 10th of January and I have a few couple of spaces… should you want to join… the link is above.

Have a great week end.

Betty x

Upcycling Furniture block of 8 classes

Why I love my Journey as an Eco Artist !

The other morning I checked my art supplies, I though they were a bit low before the next day workshop and so… time to replenish… on my way to … The Kelvingrove Park…. in the West end of Glasgow, walking distance from my studio, it is lovely and a little hub of nature in the centre of the city. I took a lovely morning walk, I had a chat with the dog walkers, found some lovely autumn leaves, horse chestnut, some oak, some dried maples all in my large bag. I even stopped by An Clachan the friendly coffee shop by the children’s play park. They make a wonderful coffee and a great flap jack. After that… I went home and Eco Printed.

How about that for work life balance !

Eco Printing is a wonderful creative technique at every level.  Beginners to my workshops can produce beautiful pieces from early days, and I love how versatile the technique can be wether you are an artist, you love textile, or work with mix media, the prints you make help you mapping your creativity. Different seasons, different colours, different leaves or printing surfaces, different colours… Some call it magical but really it is chemistry !

For myself I love the resist papers I get, the negative prints so to speak… the paper blankets which give me beautiful rusty images. They are unpredictable but always beautiful.

I am an Eco Artist and I love my journey, no online shopping for me, no fighting the motorway traffic to the local Craft shops, no huge bill for specialist paint… My main ingredient… Scottish leaves  ! so when I need some… I just take a walk in the park. How amazing is that !

I will be running my next week end Eco Printing next October in my own Studio in Glasgow details https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/eco-print-your-scottish-leaves-week-end-tickets-63310032010 We will be drinking great coffee and printing Scottish leaves in my Big Aluminium Pot, we will keep cosy by the fire and make amazing and unique prints. If you are a beginner you will be blown away by the result, if you have printed before… join me for more creative fun.

I hope to see you there.

Love

Betty x

Make books for Christmas ! Hand-bind Upcycled wood and Indigo Shibori into unique hand made books !

For details on all my courses please look Here

Do you like cooking from scratch ? you know that feeling of opening the fridge to an old onion and some scraps of cheese but then this beautiful home made quiche comes out of the oven soon after … It is a bit like up-cycling… This is a bit like what I do with Cassandra from Bookbinding with Cass We make things out of nothing, beautiful things out of recycled back of wardrobe, leafs from the park and hands me down bed linen from my local b&b and this autumn we have joined forces to help you learning skills and making books… Hand bound, very beautiful and unique books !

In September we Eco Printed some some lovely paper using local scottish leaves from the Glasgow West end and learned the bottom hole stitch on a piece of recycled leather to create a lovely journal in Glasgow. It was a great day in the wonderful Woodlands workspace.

In November in Edinburgh, we are  Upcycling wood using textured stencilling and binding it with a coptic technique to create an opened back book, unique technique I use for furniture upcycling it is fun to apply on very small areas and creates an amazing look, lovingly distressed shapes and polished with wax the panels are bound using a coptic stitch showing the back pages… this is happening in Edinburgh at Granton Hub on the 11th November (info below)

on the 18th November We will also be learning the beautiful Indigo Shibori on some Cotton cloth, blue and crisp  Japanesed inspired blue patterns made using tying and clamping, a hard Case bound hard back is what you will try your hands at…  and if not enough this day will take place in the amazing Kibble Palace in the Glasgow Botanical garden.  (info below)

If you want to join:

Edinburgh workshop…

Paint, Stencil, Distress … make books for Christmas

Glasgow workshop …

Indigo Shibori workshop in the Glasgow Botanics

3 A6 books, each your unique creation, a perfect present for your loved ones or just for you to keep and cherish ! And all out of recycling… this is a no brainer ! you make the world a better place out of hand creating beautiful things !

Love

Betty xx

Print, fold and stitch come and make some books with Cassandra and Betty… !

2 Venues – 3 Workshops – 3 Creative Techniques – 3 Hand made books – perfect for Christmas present…. Are you ready for a bit of creativity ?

9 September – Glasgow – Woodlands workspace – Eco Printing – Info and booking here

7th October – Glasgow – Woodlands workspace – Shabby Chick wood cover – Info and booking here

18 November – Glasgow – Botanic Gardens – Indigo/Shibori Info and booking here

The summer is almost over in Scotland, the children have gone back to school and I just cant believe that September is just around the corner. Many are back from holidays and my regular creative autumn classes have started again. As if creativity is a great way to compensate for having to follow the routine again. Happy memories of some time off in the sun and some travelling local and far away, some time spent resting and exploring are being told by my pupils while sanding furniture, or preparing their Eco printing bundles.

I met my friend Cassandra the bookbinder a while ago to plan our collaborative workshops… We both are passionate about making things… and recycling… together we will print, fold and stitch 3 books this autumn. Would you like to join us ?

Those would be great as presents for friends or simply just a treat for you…

Together we will be Eco Printing, Indigo Shibori dyeing and Upcycling wood and… transforming the result in lovely unique books … You could join one or all workshops if you want to benefit from our wee discount of 15%.

We are back in the glorious Botanic gardens in Glasgow for some Indigo Shibori, but we will also run some gigs in the new “Woodlands Workspace” in the West end… A lovely artist studio within a community garden where we will be Eco Printing…

And because we want to give a treat to the participants, if you book for the three workshops we will give you 15 % of the booking price. So dont delay make sure you reserve your spaces on our workshops… you know we only work with small groups ! So we can give you loads of personal attention. To book for the three events and get a 15% discount look here

 

See you soon …

Betty xx

Eco printing is it a print or a stain ? Don’t delay ! Play with paper !

My next Eco Printing workshop is Glasgow is on the 9th September details are … Here we will make little books like those below …

This is a strange process and it produces a unique result … it’s not a watercolour although it looks like one ! It’s more like a print although a unique one that can not be duplicate ! You create it although don’t define the lines of the drawing.

It’s been called “contact print” and indeed it’s only by making sure that the contact is good between the Botanical material and the paper or cloth that you get a crisp print … but then do you want a crisp print ? Some of the great eco printers are more focused on the process than the result and it is the experimentation and the experience that is of interest to them … take India Flint for example … the prophet of the bloom, she initiated Eco Printing in its current format and so focused on being kind to the environment and using local ressources … her workshops are very much an experience in itself … she uses terms like alchemy not science … so are you prepared to be marvelled ? Or have you got a great chemistry knowledge so you can work it all out taking the magic out of it ?

It is all about transferring the Eco dye of a Botanical material onto cloth or paper … many do cloth with many of them silk … a few work with paper and that is my first love ! Recycled paper, art paper, ordinary paper, lining paper … all of it gives me an experience all of it gives me a different result ! But more importantly I can make all of it work ! Because I understand the process … it is all about the process is it not ???

You have to coax the delicate pigment/tannin out of its shell and imprint it on the support you want … you can use a steamer or a dye bath … and you can modify its aspect by adding some modifying agents … iron … copper … Alum … that is what I call science and others call alchemy ! If you have a good contact you will get crisps shapes and if you don’t you will get … something more experimental. But that can be the point … may be you want to have your big pot in the garden and experiment wearing a long stained apron … but whatever you do you must have a go because it is the best technique of all.

It allows you to map your summer and keep creative notes for winter times delight ! It allows you to create art work when you were not much of an artist … it allows you to be part of a growing community of artist and hobbyists who look back to nature for inspiration like the Art Nouveau movement at the turn of last century …

So take the plonge and have a go it’s ever so much fun … and decide for yourself if you are creating unique Art or just having fun !

If you want my guidance … look here for my next courses … I will run some Eco Printing classes near you soon …

best luck with your results …

Betty xx

A day under The Big Tree ! Eco-printing in The Glasgow Botanics …

My next Eco Printing workshops will be:

  • In Glasgow in my West end Studio during the week end of the 11-12 August : Info here
  • In Edinburgh at The Remakery on the 25th August  Info here
  • In Strathaven with Creative Strathaven on the 30th September Info here
  • In Edinburgh at The Remakery on the 10th November Info here

Glasgow has been going through a hot weather spell and every morning blue sky and bird singings feels like the South of England.

I had chosen last Saturday for my last Eco-printing your Scottish Leaves workshop in the beautiful Kibble Palace @ The Glasgow Botanical gardens. It was to take place in the beautiful Victorian greenhouse in the middle of the West end of Glasgow…. The hot House ! So I decided change of plan and asked permission to move in the garden… under The Big Tree… I have memories of The Big Tree… spending many moments under it when my daughter was little. The perfect Hide and Seek place.

 

So I set up tables and chairs, bundles, piles of leaves and a big pot… 10 participants from as far as Edinburgh, many ladies, one young American girl and her father, and even a cheeky squirrel joined me on that day. And it was a magical day !

We took a stroll around the garden admiring some of the plants/trees we would be using on the day and made our way under the tree for some experimenting. We talked about, scouring, mordants, leaves, paper and cloth and off course… iron water, rust, marks before starting on our first bundle, a mix of papers and resist bundled around a tile. It all went into the huge pot for one hour before we could admire some great prints.

 

Our second bundle around a pipe was a mix of recycled papers together with woollen cloth and a piece of cotton pre-dyed with onion skin that would give us an excellent by print. And the result was amazing. All started with the same bundle and at the end a great variety of designs. some stronger than others, different leaves, different amount of Iron water and different results. But all around a lot of amazement for how well the process had gone. A silent, some laughter, some joy at the success of the venture.

It was such a great day, warm, joyful, creative with great company… what a lovely summer’s day spent in good company doing… Botanical Art !

We did take short breaks, some running to get a coffee, some ice cream cones arriving, but very short breaks… everyone was so focused on getting the perfect print. One participant said “It  was brilliant fun, I just loved switching off 100% and the only care in the world I had was placing a leaf perfectly over piano music sheet, perfect day”.

Soon it was time to roll up the last bundle, a cotton muslin to be made in a scarf. This time the large leaves could be used, one single piece, of a cream background. And it all went in the big pot again !

By that time everyone was so tired. So much information to receive in the one day,  a wonderful new technique… and some great prints… we sat waiting for the steam to be done and 10 minutes before the end of the workshop we unrolled the bundles and the wonderful scarves came alive. Beautiful clear prints of summer leaves on the cream background… Madison our your American girl had made a point of writing Scotland in leaf type face a great tribute to how children have no inhibition in their creativity.

And the day was over so quickly,  all left with their treasured art works, prints, scarfs so happy about their new skills…

The birds were singing in the big tree and a small cheeky squirrel had climbed onto my chair… looking for food.

I packed up and went home…. what a great day.

Betty xx

Going South ! Eco Printing with Creative Strathaven

Its good to have a base but I say its good to take the road too… I have been asked recently to run a day Eco Printing with Creative Strathaven

And I said Yes !

This is a lovely Group South of Glasgow of mega creative people who spend evening and week ends dabbing in various crafts. A lovely area in Scotland I am sure completely full of leaves we will make a point of getting the greatest marks out of.

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As well as recycling old books we will print on cloth some great Autumn leaves…

If you would like to find out about Creative Strathaven please follow the link above…. but if you would like info or to book on that workshop look Here  It will be fab and I can’t wait.

Love Betty x