Category Archives: Creative Catalyst

Masks of the World

Take a look at Masks from all over the World. Sketch and design your mask and then make a small model- is it Friend or Foe? Horns, teeth, scars, scales or fur? This mixed media art workshop utilises paper sculpture, some paper mache, cutting, assembling.

Most masks have exaggerated features which can make them quite scary to look at. Huge eyes, mouths and teeth. What features do you want to create to bring your mask to life?

Masks of the World
Sri Lankan Demon Mask

Masks are a way to create impossible creatures with both animal and human characteristics, and different cultures believe these masks give the wearer special abilities like the ability to talk to spirits or animals. There are famous traditions from around the world like the Chinese Dragon Dance which has a special dragon head mask to usher in the New Year.

Chinese New Year Dragon

These large puppets need more than one person inside to perform all the dancing, eye rolling, ear waggling and mouth snapping.

Dreaming Mask from Papua New Guinea
Dreaming Mask from Papua New Guinea

Masks have been inspiring artists forever. The mask examples above have been part of tradition for hundreds (or thousands!) of years. We don’t usually get to make or wear masks except for dress-ups or a party. Instead of going to a shop in the mall in the 21st century and buying a lame, cheap plastic mask to be Batman or Catwoman reach back into the past and channel the original mask makers!

Dinner on a Plate

Don’t play with your food! Unless you make it yourself…What do you want to make for dinner? Spag bol? Brussel Sprouts and chips? Chicken curry and rice? Build and fire your own clay creations onto ceramic plates to make a delicious permanent dinner.

We are going to use texture, shape and colour to recreate our favourite foods out of clay. 


Celtic Labyrinth Drawing

Create a virtual world full of myth and mystery within a timeless Celtic knot or labyrinth drawing. Explore the intricacies of Celtic symbolism and incorporate some legendary creatures or sacred script into your own unique masterwork.

The classic Celtic labyrinth has one path that winds around to a central point then back outward. Dating back 4000 years it has been used as a meditative tool designed to help it’s travellers release burdens on the way to the centre and then accept what they most need on the way out .

Lizards by MC Escher

Students can draw inspiration from modern artists such as Escher as well as computer generated fractal images which also share intricate, continuous pattern work.  

Passion by 12GO

Catalyst students will weave their own path in ink, graphite or pastel incorporating many design elements along the way. Trace a journey through pattern, line and form following the ancient druids to a centre full of iconic imagery highlighted with some gilding.

Mega Collage (Palimpsest)

Palimpsest – ‘a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed. Something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form’

Palimpsest Richard Pousette-Dart 1944 Abstract Expressionism

This is a Mega Collage involving drawing, rubbing, transferring, cutting, painting and assembling. It investigates the differences between and possible combinations of abstract and representational art, using a mix of mediums and visual elements.

ANFITRITE by Henri Matisse gouache on paper cut and pasted 1947

Over a series of exercises colour, shape, balance and context will be explored. Cutting and reassembling images from glossy magazines can also be used to add to each student’s diverse collection of textures, details and surfaces which will be brought together to build large compositions, both individually and collectively, over a full day of creative and experimental art making.

A portrait by Picasso made with collage


Avian Animalia

Avian Animalia
Egyptian Falcon God Horus

A celebration of our magnificent feathered friends this ceramics workshop explores the many forms birdlife can take – from small, sweet songbirds to fast, fierce and fabulous falcons. Inspired by the beauty of birds students will learn techniques to build their forms and express their grace.

Avian Animalia
‘Bird in Space’ 1928 Constantin Brancusi

We will look at examples of bird sculptures across cultures and time and be inspired by the beautifully detailed work of ornithological illustrators. Participants will then choose an ave to focus on and begin sculpting it in white,  earthenware clay.

Avian Animalia
John James Audubon – Carolina Parrot

Starting with little models to work out scale, shape and possible textures for surface treatment the class will then learn larger, hand building construction techniques to build their chosen bird/s. These figures will be glazed minimally to highlight major features and then be fired in a kiln.

Spring Alcoves

Alcove, niche or shrine. These concepts are the inspiration for a handbuilding ceramic workshop that incorporates modelling, installation and structure building. Shrines are found in many of the world’s religions- Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto as well as secular settings like War Memorials, places of natural beauty and even Pooh Corner on the Clyde!

Spring Alcoves
Iranian Silk Rug

Investigate different motifs, shapes and symbols and produce a little shrine of your own. Get ready for the change in seasons by focussing on natural features like plants, stones, water and animals.

Spring Alcoves
Madonna and Child Medieval Europe

Learn and hone clay building techniques using coils, slabs and carving, then decorate your structure using stamp work, fine coil relief and figure sculpting. Finish your alcove with painted underglazes and some gold glaze highlights.


Wearable Art

Have a go at badge making, belt buckle creation, macrame and more. No need to leave your art at home ever again!

Scarf/Bandana fabric painting

Art jewellery and costuming has been an essential part of all cultures, communicating both meaning and value. Since pre-history, the more intricate, ornate or specific the design and the rarer, richer or more prized the material, the greater a person’s status or role has been. From head dresses and crowns, to richly embroidered, beaded and painted cloaks. From elaborate tattoos, to priceless jewels, humans have always appreciated a bit of ‘Bling’.

Shrinky Brooch

Art you can wear is both decorative and expressive and can tell us something of the person doing the wearing! From a detailed art badge, hand crafted ‘shrinky’ brooch and macramed stone pendants, to a beautifully painted cotton bandana/scarf, this workshop offers many forms through which your art can shine.

Macrame Pendant

Drawing inspiration from the decorative traditions of jewellery making and fashion design, students will plan their wearable art pieces of choice, learning new skills such as macrame weaving and fabric painting, whilst refining others such as detailed drawing, to create a variety of decorative art pieces.

Shrinky Brooch



Xray Drawings


Double Exposure photograph, Liam York

From the creative origins of animation and photographic superimposition through to modern anatomical illustrations and state of the art design techniques this workshop explores the creative possibilities of working with layered transparent drawings to build an image full of both depth and variety.

Black & White Photography Superimpostion, Wanda Wulz 1932

Ever wished you could look inside someone’s head? Can we peel back the leaves, skin or cover to unmask the true form of a plant, creature or object? Building from the ‘bones’ of your basic prototype what features might you add to your living or inanimate creation?

‘Red Tree’ Ardan Ozmenoglu, prints on glass

Using a range of pencils, pen, ink and markers we will work onto separate overlapping sheets of tracing paper to build up our finished image. With texture, tone, line and colour we will bring to life our unique multi-layered design.

Drawn portraits on tracing paper layers.

Scrimshaw Tales

An art form for over 13,000 years, Scrimshaw is the relatively modern name given by whalers, in the 1750’s, to the practise of carving images into the bone, tooth, tusk and baleen of whales and other mammals. In this workshop, students will enjoy etching their designs into recycled, PVC ‘ivory’.

Scrimshaw Whale’s Tooth & Tusk pieces 19th Century

A pastime of sailors, scrimshaw themes would often be of love and longing, or nautical in nature, with images of lasses, anchors, compasses and ships often featured. The Inuits have their own traditional themes, used to engrave their tools and sculptures, with hunting scenes and fauna frequently featured.

Inuit carved whale ivory

Using our etching tools, students will carve into warmed/softened recycled white plastics (from yogurt and other containers), to create intricate images of their own design. A whale or shark’s tooth? A bone bookmark? Or a token in the form of a heart, eye or circle?

Love token 1807

Once cut, engraved and sanded, we will apply a black ink to highlight our line work, followed by a polishing with a stained wax to emulate the effect of ivory, and give a time worn finish to their art piece.

Spring ‘Junk’ Sculpture

This workshop invites students to rethink familiar materials and capture a little of spring’s exuberance in a dynamic mobile sculpture. Drawing inspiration from the work of Glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, and recycled materials sculptor Aurora Robson, students will create a hanging garden, from upcycled and new materials. Flowers, fruits, foliage and seeds can all feature here. Add birds, bees and some of the buzz and movement of the season.

Aurora Robson plastic sculpture

Cut and heat shape old P.E.T bottles, then paint to form fabulous foliage, birds or beasts which can be strung, to fall through space and move with the breeze.

Dale Chihuly glass art

A bit of abstraction won’t go astray, with whirls of wind, rays of light and rainbows all possible elements, in this sculptural celebration of the season of renewal.

Plastic Bottle Sculpture