Paint and draw like a Pict!

Here’s a visual record of the Pictish art workshop I ran at the Centre for Stewardship, Falkland on Saturday 30th May. I’m absolutely sure that Liz, Marek, Ali, Sophie and Sarah would be accepted as scribes and banner-makers by any self-respecting Pictish tribe…

We used illustrations of Pictish stone carvings for reference and made notebooks for storing tracings and drawings

Everyone created their own designs and tranferred them onto calico to make banners – some larger than others!

Natural mineral pigments (ochres) from the Fife coast provided rich colour for the banner designs

The beautiful finished banners (Ali has taken pigments home to finish the colourwork on his). The Pictish carved stones found the length of eastern Scotland may have been this colourful. Who knows? 

There’s a glimpse of East Lomond hill behind Sarah in this photo. Dr. Oliver O’Grady supervised a successful community dig on the east side of this hill in 2014 for the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership and he thinks it was a very significant place during Pictish times. More about that on the Living Lomonds website:

Illustrator Bob Marshall has created an amazing reconstruction of the hill fort in collaboration with Oliver. Spot the banners outside the ‘great hall’ at the top of the hill:

And if you’d like to see (and buy) contemporary interpretations of Pictish art:

The last word goes to Sophie’s Pictish archer.


This workshop was funded by the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership and hosted by the Centre for Stewardship, Falkland:

Spring baskets

First warm weekend of Spring, first basket workshop taught outdoors (well, with doors open anyway) and first time working in the new Craft Hub at the Centre for Stewardship, Falkland. It was a good day with a lovely bunch of people.

We used twigs I’d collected from the roadside and path edges in Falkland Estate, a selection of birch, willow, larch, alder, hawthorn (thorns removed), lime, an accidental piece of honeysuckle and a few pussy willows.


We opened the glass doors and worked half-in, half-out of the room. Very pleasant.




This workshop was supported by the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership. 


I’m running more creative events at the Centre for Stewardship, Falkland during the spring and summer.

The Craft Hub will be open over the Fife Open Studios weekend (7,8,9th May), drop in and say hello if you are in the area. I’ll be working away on baskets, rag-rug projects and demonstrating drop-spindle spinning.

There are plenty more full-day creative workshops in the programme. I’m running:

Paint and Draw like a Pict (Sat 28th May), a chance to learn more about Pictish art and try painting with natural ochre pigments collected in Fife.

Summer Baskets (Sun 10th July). We’ll be using grasses, rushes and other seasonal local materials for this one.

All materials provided, no experience needed, free, bookable through Eventbrite. See the events page on the Living Lomonds website for more details:

Benarty families skillshare

I don’t have many action photos of my workshops, we’re usually too busy! However, Diane caught some good ones today:





We were experimenting with bendy twigs, making hearts and wreaths and Valentine’s Day gifts. All with the intention of sharing ideas for using local materials in creative activities for families.

This series of workshops is funded by the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership.


Fife Craft Collaboration legacy

I worked with a great bunch of people on Wednesday at the Centre for  Stewardship Falkland, running a one-day Stitched Basket workshop for the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership.

It is a year since the Fife Craft Collaboration took place in this same venue and I was very pleased to be sharing some of what I’d learned during that inspiring week last October. I showed the group how I’ve been using traditional North American basket-making techniques and local materials to make baskets/nests/pods, each with its own story. Thanks once again Joan Carrigan for the introduction to waxed thread!

(See Joan’s work at and find out more about Fife Craft Collaboration 2014 at


LLLP baskets

Silver birch, dogwood, willow, broom, soft rush, sycamore stalks, reedmace, lavender, old rope, red campion pods, common reed, sea grasses, Crocosmia leaves, varied threads, lots of beeswax and imagination.

“Apple of My Eye”

Amanda3Amanda1    JuteJudy's    imageLorraine's cone basket

Hope to work with you all again! And thanks to Emily, Lisa and Kelly at the Centre for Stewardship for looking after us.