Go behind the scenes at The Handmade Festival and meet the makers bringing their passion and skills to you in September

Rachel Shilston will be hosting the Mosaic Mayhem Workshop at the Festival every day, teaching you the basics of creating a beautiful mosaic. You can also visit her stand in the Shopping Village to continue making mosaics at home!

Rachel is the artist and creative facilitator behind Rachel Shilston – Inspiring Creativity, a creative business specialising in mosaic and delivering workshops, school projects, DIY kits and subscription boxes throughout the UK. She is based in her picturesque studio on the edge of the Forest of Dean and Welsh border.

Rachel would admit that her mosaics are not very traditional as she loves adding all sorts of treasures into her designs and, over the years, she has developed her own unique style, combining mosaic with painted details. Rachel has also had her work on seven public art trails to date, including Shaun in the City, where her painted sculpture ‘Baa-bushka’ was placed outside Liberty on Carnaby Street in London.

In December 2018, Rachel was thrilled to be a finalist on Channel 4's TV show 'Kirstie Allsop's Handmade Christmas', which saw her create a stunning mosaic Christmas wreath on national television.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival

Seeing and meeting some of the many talented makers that I follow on social media - it will be so nice to see their work up close.

What has been your best ever project or make?

I think my best ever craft project happened when I was about 5 years old when I entered the 'decorate an egg' competition at school. Using brown wool, I decorated it to look like Dougal from the Magic Roundabout and was awarded first prize. Despite working on some fabulous projects since, none have ever come close to my boiled egg Dougal.

Do you have a favourite material to work with?

Mosaic is my material of choice now, but I like to mix it up by adding unexpected treasures such as broken jewellery and broken vintage plate, with painted details.

What is the biggest disaster you have had?

I remember my very first attempt at grouting a mosaic about 10 years ago.  I had read the instructions wrong, thinking  it was 3 parts water to 1 part grout powder, when actually it was 1 part water to 3 parts grout powder. That really was a very mucky and big disaster, but luckily one I managed to salvage through the skin of my teeth!

What’s your go to snack when you need a break?

I know I should say something healthy like carrot sticks and fresh fruit but my go to snack is always Jammie Dodgers.

Are there any skills you would like to try?

I trained in textiles but have never tried Macramé. I will definitely try to sneak off from my stand and have a go during the festival if I can! 

What would feature in your motivational playlist?

I love a sing-song to a musical, so something like the soundtrack to Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, or my absolute favourite album 'Purple Rain' by Prince.


Find out more about Rachel and follow her on Social Media:


Instagram: /rachelshilston

Facebook: /rachelshilstoninspiringcreativity

Twitter: /rachelshilston

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