Visual Connections Australia

New Brush and Leaf Workshop Coming to Brisbane

27-Jun-2018 Liane Barker (Australia) and Anne McDonald (New Zealand) team up to deliver an introduction to traditional brush and gold leaf techniques.
This winter Better Letters is launching a new three-day workshop in Brisbane which will teach participants the related skills of signwritten lettering and gilding. The techniques will be introduced through the development of two hands-on projects, one being a pre-designed glass piece, and the other a custom wooden panel. Working in this way will ensure that the skills learned are directly applicable to future sign, lettering and decorative work.

The workshop will be led by Liane Barker and Anne McDonald, both very experienced professionals in the field. Their support will ensure that every participant is given plenty of personal attention and guidance, allowing them to develop at the pace and level that best suits them. The workshop is therefore suitable for both newcomers to the trade, and those with prior experience.

Creating the glass piece will support the development of a variety of skills including water gilding, screen printing, creating matt centres, and using variegated leaf and abalone shell to create a variety of effects. Each day will see the project develop a little further, while the wooden panel is being worked on in parallel.

The custom wooden panel will begin with setting out and painting block letters, building both letter construction skills and signwriting techniques. As the workshop progresses the design will be transferred to a wooden panel which will then be embellished with (surface) gold leaf gilding and effects created with paint to give a three-dimensional appearance to the final piece.

Key Facts

• Date: 20-22 July 2018
• Times: 09:00-17:00 Each Day
• Location: The Mustard Seed, 861 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba, Brisbane 4102
• Fee: $895, which includes all the essential materials required to complete the projects, and basic refreshments across each day.
• Bookings: Online via
• Queries: Sam at Better Letters (info@betterletters) and Liane at Brush & Pen Design Studio ( and +61 439 451 960)
• Photos: A collection of images can be downloaded via

About Liane Barker
Liane was one of the few female signwriting apprentices when she started out in 1980, eventually working her way up through the ranks at her father’s business Barker Signs. Throughout her 38-year career she has kept abreast of developments in technology, while retaining the traditional craft skills that were most used when she was starting out.
Liane’s signwritten work has featured in recent international exhibitions, including the Pre-Vinylette Show in Chicago, and the forthcoming Grand Exhibition of the Pre-Vinylite Society in London. She has also been active in passing on her traditional skills through formal tuition, hosted workshops, and longer mentoring programmes.
Instagram: @brushandpenstudio

About Anne McDonald
Anne is a trade qualified screen printer and sign writer and has been in the industry for 26 years. 14 years ago she chose to specialise in gilding on glass and surfaces. Largely self taught she has been mentored and trained by some of the world's best, including Jon Jordan and Dave Smith. She's passionate about seeing others learn the skills and keep the trade alive which is why she now offers training workshops in her home studio and internationally through Better Letters.
Instagram: @anne.mcdonald.407

About Better Letters
Better Letters is a London-based lettering agency and signwriting contractor, carrying out projects in the UK and further afield. Founded in 2014 the business also offers a variety of workshops and events to support the development of traditional signwriting, lettering and gilding skills. Previous events in Australia have included workshops and talks with Mike Meyer (USA) and David Kynaston (North Wales, UK). Mike Meyer will be returning in September 2019.
Instagram: @betterletters

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