The HomeWorks Project: celebrating patterns with Stenhouse Primary School

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.

Just last month, lucky families from Stenhouse Primary School designed and created their very own fabric patterns with artists Katie and Sophie Orton, and we were really looking forward to a pattern showcase at the school. After joining in with some of the repeat pattern workshops, I was interested to see what the group had created. I was blown away by the tea towels in the frames, they just looked so professional. The simple patterns in such bright and bold colours are really effective. I would be happy to have any of them hanging on my wall at home.


Sophie and I displayed all the frames on tables opposite the door so that when everyone arrived, it would be the first thing they saw. We decided to display the group’s repeat pattern wallpaper designs hung continuously.  It looked so impressive and nearly covered a whole classroom wall!


In true community style, all the parents in the group arrived earlier than planned so they could help with setting up and displaying their pieces, and bringing with them a fabulous home-baking spread for all the showcase visitors to enjoy – lucky us!


It was really nice to be able to see everyone’s first reactions to their pieces. To have worked on the design process from start to finish was a wonderful insight into how repeat patterns are formed, and how they are all around us.

It was lovely to get the chance to spend time with everyone and chat about the project. It was clear how much each person in the group had taken from the experience, especially the children who could vividly remember specific patterns that we had looked at in the museum, and how they could look around the classroom and excitedly pick out repeat patterns. One mother commented that at the weekend, she couldn’t help spotting repeat patterns in leaves and flowers in the garden.


The children, and some of the adults, were running around with their family, classmates and teachers proudly pointing out which designs they had made. There was a great turnout from school staff and pupils who all commented on how impressed they were by the work the families had done. We also asked everyone to leave comments about their experience of the project – one family said:

It was great to work on a project with the kids and be hands on during the time.  It made me look at patterns and designs more intensely rather than ‘just looking’, and it made making the designs more enjoyable & interesting.  It was great fun.

The best part for me was near the end when the families were starting to get ready to leave, and Sophie reminded them not to forget to take their work with them. They had no idea that they could do this and this brought a huge smile to their faces. The children were all chatting about where they wanted to hang their frames.

At the end of the showcase, one of the mothers asked if she could have a digital copy of her repeat pattern tile design which we started in the first workshop session. She wanted to get it professionally printed onto fabric to make a blind for her kitchen; she liked her design, and her experience, so much that she would use it to decorate her home. What a fabulous idea! I feel that is the whole point of this project, to really involve people in the process of thinking about the concept of home and connecting this to the museum’s collections, with the end result being something so spectacular that you would happily display it in your home as a reminder of your experience and what you can achieve.

HomeWorks logo

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