Workshops with Rachel McGivern

From 18 June to 23 July 2020, artist Rachel McGivern delved into the recycling bags to experiment with Making as Storytelling in our second series of live Instagram workshops. 

All of the workshops in this series are available below, complete with downloadable illustrated guides for you to enjoy at home any time you like. Don’t forget to check out Season 1 with Amy Leung.


Download your illustrated making guide

In this workshop, Rachel shares her techniques for making pocket-sized concertina sketchbooks and albums from scrap paper and recycled card, offering plenty of ideas for using these simple books to tell and capture stories for family and friends.

For this week’s workshop you’ll need:⁠

Tissue Casting

Download your illustrated guide

In this workshop, Rachel introduces a simple and surprising casting technique using only kitchen paper and water. She explores the creative process by making her own ‘embossing plate’ a raised and textured collage sealed with kitchen foil. Rachel also shares more playful ways of taking casts of the objects around us and an easy technique for displaying these artworks at home.

For this week’s workshop you will need:⁠

Optional extras:

Shadow Boxes

Download your illustrated guide for this workshop

In Shadow Boxes, Rachel returns to the recycling bag to show us how to make our own recycled shadow theatre and puppets from scrap materials. She shares ideas of how to articulate our cardboard creatures and demonstrates how different lights and staging can really help to animate a story.

You will need:⁠

Cardboard Constructions

Download your illustrated guide for this workshop

To make cardboard sculptures, you will need:

To make papier-mâché clay, you will need:

Experiments with Colour

Download your illustrated guide for this workshop

In Experiments in Colour, Rachel introduces her own take on a simple paper dyeing technique called orizomagami. Using food colouring and old felt tips, she makes her own water-based dyes. Working with coffee filters, chip shop paper and printer paper, she then demonstrates how to fold and dip to create impressive tie-dye effects. Rachel also shares an easy way to turn these papers into hanging carnival style decorations to brighten up our windows with colour!

You will need:

Poly Pocket Printing

Download your illustrated guide to Poly Pocket Printing

In Poly Pocket Printmaking, artist Rachel McGivern takes us through a simple and effective process to making mono-prints at home. There’s no need for printing inks or a print press for this process, just some felt tip pens, a plastic pouch and a damp sponge.

Rachel shows us how family photos, magazines, packaging and books can all be used to create unique and experimental prints and even shares ideas for developing larger-scale works and using these as storytelling prompts.

You will need: