The First Heaton Map Workshop.

I’ve had a busy few days preparing for the workshops…a 30 metre roll of hessian has been delivered to my studio, along with fabric paints, printing ink and Lino.

The first task has been to cut the hessian into metre square sections…hard on the knees and very dusty! (Attischoo!)

I’ve scaled up the map and started the task of drawing it onto the hessian. This involved lots of measuring and converting millimetres to centimetres – anyone who thinks artists don’t need to be numerate – you’re so wrong!

I’ve also prepared some Lino blocks of buildings, vegetables and pavement architect…are you intrigued yet?

With everything prepared it was off to Heaton Manor School this morning to work with eleven year 9 pupils and their teacher. Our aim was to complete four sections of the map in the time available. I brought them the map second that feature their school.

First task, using white fabric paint, to paint in the streets, this immediately gives structure to the map and helps us plan where to put in the details. The paint works best  on the hessian when diluted about 60:40 with water.

Next we started adding in some of the green areas – we are lucky in Heaton to have lots of beautiful parks, Paddy Freeman, Jesmond Dene, Armstrong and Heaton Park all bring nature to our part of the city. The students painted in a bright green for the park areas and then over printed with a traditional wooden block carved with a leaf design. They’ve also added in the Ouseburn river and the Paddy Freeman pond in blue. 

That bright red stripe across the section above is the Coast Road. It cuts through between Heaton and High Heaton linking us to the city and the sea. You can also see where the students have started to print little red houses along the streets. Occasionally you might spot a house that is a different colour – that’s because one of the workshop participants lives there! 

I had to do a bit of rapid Lino cutting to make a tower block to add to the Spinney!


Once the maps were mostly complete, I asked the students to do a couple of other tasks – firstly to write a note for me about something they do in Heaton; one girl goes to dancing classes, another goes to girls’ brigade, one of the boys is a scout, others like to eat chips at the bus stop! These notes will feature in the final map….

I also asked the students to print a Lino block of their choice onto a piece of white fabric – these pieces will become flags to be added to the map on the day of the festival.


So now the four sections of map are hanging out to dry off before they get ironed to fix the paint. (It couldn’t possibly rain on our parade could it?!)

Thanks very much to the students and staff at Heaton Manor, you made me feel very welcome and you all worked really hard to get the job done😄.
Tomorrow I’ll be holding a drop in workshop at Martha and Mary’s Cafe on Chillingham Road, come on in and help us complete the big map project! 

Published by Donna Cheshire Textiles

I am a professional textile artist specializing in Appliqué and Free Motion machine stitching. In order to create a unique colour palette, I hand dye my own fabrics and then use these to create the landscapes and coastal scenes recorded in my sketchbook. I often incorporate recycled or vintage fabrics in my work - they add meaning to the story the work is telling. I love being so close to the Northumbrian coast and countryside and I especially like taking time walk and draw these stunning landscapes

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