The HomeWorks Project: engaging communities with our new Art and Design galleries

The HomeWorks project explores the theme of the home and how objects within it are designed, created and loved. Inspired by the new Art and Design galleries opening at the National Museum of Scotland in 2016, children, family groups and adults will investigate what ‘home’ means to them, design something beautiful for their home and learn new creative skills.

Each workshop will have a different focus: some groups will look at the imagery on ceramic plates, others will create their own lamps or design wallpaper and fabric prints. The project will run over a year, concluding with a display or installation of the different artworks and designs. The Community Engagement team here at National Museums Scotland have just finished working with our first group of families, so we thought we’d share our HomeWorks diary of the experience – and a few pictures too!


HomeWorks session 1: 19 February 2015

It has taken a lot of planning, but our HomeWorks workshops are finally underway! Things were officially kick-started with a group visit to the National Museum of Scotland by families from Newcraighall School, as part of the Save the Children FAST (Families and Schools Together) project. The families have decided they want to make their own ceramics, using ideas from, and memories of, their own homes and lives to create a narrative or design to transfer onto a ceramic plate. Everyone came together to enjoy a guided tour at the Museum by artists Katie and Sophie Orton. Parents and children admired the many ceramic plates in the collections – those on display and those soon to be featured in the new Art and Design galleries – to draw inspiration from the different designs and ways of decorating ceramics.


It was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know the Museum better and see some of the objects and activities that it has to offer. After the tour, families visited the Balcony Café to talk more with the artists. Next week, we start making the plates!

HomeWorks session 2: 26 February 2015

After last week’s group visit to the Museum, the families have begun creating designs for their plates. The task for this first week was to create a background decoration or pattern that could be transferred onto a plate. Using pieces of different types of paper, cut-outs from home shopping catalogues and paint, everyone had a unique approach to creating their designs. Katie and Sophie have suggested that people take pictures of things in their own home to add to their designs to give them a personal touch.


Due to everyone’s busy schedules, people were constantly coming and going from the workshop, making for a very busy day. The kids had a great time (even if they did end up covered in paint and full of biscuits!) and their parents were able to relax and be creative.  It was a great start to what will definitely be a very rewarding project!

HomeWorks session 3: 5 March 2015

Over the course of the last week, everyone has been posting photos of their favourite things from their homes to our HomeWorks Facebook group. It was really interesting seeing what everyone has chosen. All of the images are very different, ranging from pictures of their children to a pair of favourite heels to a pet tortoise.

While some people chose to make new designs for their plates, most people spent the day incorporating images of their own objects into what they had already made. It was exciting to see the plates transformed into objects that have personal meaning. At the end of the session, Sophie and Katie displayed some of the children’s plates along the wall, which made them all really excited!


HomeWorks session 4: 12 March 2015

Today the first group of families from Newcraighall Primary School met for their last session with Sophie and Katie to finish their plates. Since everyone had made so many different designs, they let the group choose their favourites to be transferred onto a ceramic plate.

While working on the final touches of their designs, Sophie asked everybody to name their plate, describe what it depicted and what inspired their creation. She also asked the children if they would use the plate to eat off, or would they display it on the wall.


For a final activity before everyone left, families were encouraged to work together to create patterns and designs on a long piece of paper for some additional oval-shaped plates. This was a great extra activity which allowed families, and even the entire group, to create objects together that they will be able bring back home.

Although this session marks the end of this group’s HomeWorks workshop, Sophie and Katie are planning a joint event that will take place after the second group from the school completes their plates. This way everyone will be able to see what the others have made and meet up with the artists again.

Watch this space for more blog posts from the HomeWorks project!

HomeWorks logo

- Posted

Add your comments


Related posts