Summer of Art

The Macclesfield Silk Museum is housed in the former Macclesfield School of Art, founded in 1877 to teach art and design for industry—as well as weaving, embroidery, cabinet-making, painting and decorating, metalwork—to both full-time and evening class students from 12 years old to adult.

With the Summer of Art we are getting creativity back into these beautiful old rooms with a varied and exciting programme of workshops for all ages.

Why is this for you? Maybe you rediscovered your creative side during long empty days of lockdown. Or maybe the last year or so has been the most stressful of your life. Whatever the case, and however much or little art you’ve done, the Summer of Art is your time to get creative! We passionately believe that everyone can make art and that being creative helps us all to feel more alive.

All workshops will be held at the Silk Museum on Old Park Lane (SK11 6TJ) in Macclesfield town centre, just five minutes’ walk from the train and bus stations.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the Silk Museum and get the place buzzing with makers again. It’s time to get creative!

Scroll down to find the details about workshops in painting, printing, mixed materials, textile craft, paper craft and creative writing! Plus the Edith Buxton Art Club (for adults) on Wednesdays, Family Art Fridays, and two three-day drama workshops, one for ages 5-9, one for ages 10+.

You can click through from each listing to book via ArtTickets.

You’ll see that some workshops have a set price, some are on a give-what-you-can basis. This does not reflect on the quality of the workshop—all artists are paid the same—but is intended to make these creative experiences accessible to more people. Please do give what you can. Every donation makes an important difference in helping our work with the Macclesfield community and preserving our collections. Thank you so much.

All prices include materials and tea/coffee/juice and a biscuit to keep you going. For the all-day workshops please bring a packed lunch or pop out for a sandwich! Homemade cakes are available in the museum café.

If you’ve attended a Summer of Art workshop and could give us some feedback it would really help us to know what we did well and what we could do better. And it lets us report back to our funders, which means that we might be able to to offer more art workshops in the future! Please let us know your thoughts (your answers will be anonymous unless you choose to let us email you). To give feedback please click here.



Saturday 24 July, 3-4.30
in the ‘Art School Garden’ next to Macclesfield Silk Museum, SK11 6TJ
Summer of Art Grand Opening
No need to book, just turn up!
Come and celebrate the Summer of Art! There will be live music, refreshments and jam-jar posies. Hats optional. 

Sunday 25 July 12-2.30pm
at Treacle Market, Market Place, Macclesfield. SK10 1EB
Screenprinting and information
No need to book, just turn up!
Come and screenprint a tote bag, pick up a leaflet and chat to us about art and anything else that comes to mind. 



Saturday 31 July, 3-6pm — for ages 16-adult, £25
Stranger-Than-Life-Drawing: Out of Place with Becca Smith
Click here to book

Participants will paint and draw theatrical, surreal and thought provoking scenes which will include a life model character in a specially-made costume and styling. The museum will provide the setting, using a loom or piece of industrial equipment for the model to interact with for poses.
The sessions will include step by step demonstration, one-to-one assistance and feedback. Participants will take home several pieces of work on paper—a study sheet, a collection of experimental drawings—as well as a final A2- sized drawing/painting/collage.

Saturday 28 August, 10-1 — for ages 16-adult, £25
Fashion Portrait Painting with Hannah Wooll
Click here to book

We will paint with acrylics to convey silk clothing on figures, inspired by portrait artists such as John Singer Sargent, to produce an impressionistic style painting where the silk dress and the figure are portrayed in a loose descriptive style, rather than worrying overly about detail and likeness. The participants will take home their sketches and mark makings, and a finished painting.



Thursday 12 August, 1-4pm for adults, £25
Botanical Printing with Margaret Steeden
We will be printing using no ink, no dye, no paint, just local leaves,. The natural chemicals and dyes in the leaves are encouraged to leave their imprint by subjecting them to moist heat (steam). Participants will print some paper and a Macclesfield silk hankie. They will also be shown what else is possible with this technique and construct a greetings card.



Thursday 5 August, 1-4pm for adults, £25
Abstract brooches with Rachel Butlin
Click here to book
In this workshop you will explore the ideas of abstract art by using colour and shape to create exciting compositions, on a beautiful mixed material brooch. You will explore materials such as wood, Formica, plastics and copper, transforming them using many processes such as stamping and layering to create an exciting, colourful and tactile piece. 

Saturday 21 August, 1-4 — for adults, £25
Wire-and-Haberdashery Jewellery with Judith Brown

Click here to book
In this workshop we will transform vintage sewing box treasures into elegant jewellery. Participants will learn how to make a necklace and/or matching earrings using wire, upcycled haberdashery will include press studs, vintage buttons and more, which we will learn how to embellish with my wire stitching technique and glass beads.



Thursday 2 September, 1-4 — for adults, £25
Embroidered Textile Jewellery with Judith Brown
Click here to book
We will use colourful embroidery threads, fabric and glass beads to create a unique accessory: a brooch, earrings or a pendant. We will take colour inspiration from the silks on display in the museum, to encourage participants to be brave with their colour combinations!



Tuesday 24 August, 10-1 & 2-4 (all-day workshop) — for adults, £45
—please bring a packed lunch or pop out to buy a sandwich in town
Paper Bird Boxes with Jennifer Collier
Click here to book
In this papercraft workshop we will create a beautiful bespoke bird box—complete with its own bird on the perch—from recycled papers, stitch and card. You will be shown every step of the process, from constructing your bird box, to using beautiful, vintage papers to decorate it. This will be embellished with a range of hand stitches, including an optional picot stitched trim around the door. You will also be shown other techniques, such as embossing and paper flowers, and will go on to making your own mono-printed bird to sit on the perch.



Saturday 7 August, 1-4pm, for adults, £20 (upstairs gallery)
The Warp and Weft of Writing: Getting Started as a Writer with Jane Smith
Click here to book
In this workshop we will examine the nuts and bolts of writing, putting them into practice with three simple writing exercises inspired by objects from the Museum’s collections. We will also work on the self-belief needed for a writer’s personal journey and share notes and practical ideas around getting started and keeping going!

Saturday 14 August, 10-12, for ages 7-12, £10 (upstairs gallery)
Writing Victorian and Egyptian mysteries with Minique Gutschow
Click here to book
We will talk about what makes a good short story then write a Victorian or Egyptian mystery.


Wednesdays — 4, 11, 18, 25 August
10am – 1pm
For max 12 adults
On a give-what-you-can basis
(Named after Edith Buxton (1908-1996), a silk designer who started her training at evening classes on a free scholarship at Macclesfield Art School—where the Silk Museum now is—at the age of 13, while working at a mill during the day. She went on to be Head Designer at Barracks Printing Co. Some of her designs are in the Museum collections.)

Wednesday 4 August, 10-1
Still-life flower painting with Hannah Wooll
Click here to book

We will be inspired by the beautiful blooms on the Edith Buxton silk dresses and in our pattern book collections, painting with acrylic paint in an impressionistic style, looking at the overall shape and style of the flowers, drawing with the brush to describe the petals, leaves etc. Participants will take home their prep sketches and finished paintings.

Wednesday 11 August, 10-1
Stick Weaving with Pam Martin

Wednesday 18 August, 10-1
Needlefelt with Nicky Brier
Make a beautiful flower brooch using needlefelt and embroidery.

Wednesday 25 August, 10-1
Monoprinting with Patty Callaghan
Participants will make monoprints using acrylic paint mixed with a homemade flour and water paste, inspired by imagery in the pattern books. They will take home a collection of monoprints and the knowledge of how to carry on with the technique at home. 


30 July; 6, 13, 20, 27 August
10am – 12pm
For children aged 5+ with parents/carers
On a give-what-you-can basis

Get creative together! A whole variety of arts and crafts to try out. 

Friday 30 July, 10-12
Rag Rugging with Rachel Mortishire-Smith
Make a colourful miniature rag rug.

Friday 6 August, 10-12
Flower and Still-Life Painting with Hannah Wooll
We will use paint and various printing objects, brushes and cotton buds to create the textures and marks of  flowers and still life objects. You will take home a finished painting for your wall or window.

Friday 13 August, 10-12
Computer bugs with Rachel Mortishire-Smith
Make some strange creatures and beautiful butterflies with chips and pieces…

Friday 20 August, 10-12
Life Drawing with Becca Smith
We will draw a costumed model in one of the museum rooms. There will be guidance for every stage of the workshop. Participants will take home drawings and a final painting and a glow of having tried something new!

Friday 27 August, 10-12
Painted houses with Rachel Mortishire-Smith
Will you make a mill or a millworkers cottage? Or work together with the family and make a whole scene?