Gray’s unveils new creative development programme for the North East

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Image shows textile designer, Helen Ruth, leading a creative workshop as part of Gray's textile design workshop
Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University (RGU), is launching a new creative development programme called ‘Engage’ with weekend workshops, portfolio building courses and a new Young Art School, for 11–15-year-olds in the North East.

‘Engage’ is a vibrant programme open to anyone who wants to build up their skills in art and design and includes a rolling series of Art Weekenders led by local creative practitioners and alumni from Gray’s School of Art.

The workshops are curated by Gray’s Look Again team and will bring local, independent designers and makers from the ‘HAAN’ Makers Lounge, Deemouth Artist Studios and Aberdeen Ceramic Studios, together to lead workshops in ceramics, jewellery, textile, screen printing and illustration.

The first Art Weekender will take place in Gray’s School of Art’s purpose-built studios on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 February from 9.30am to 4.30pm. 

Aberdeenshire jewellery and accessory designer, Anne Marquiss, (alumni of Gray’s) will show participants how to design and make a copper pendant or bangle, by learning the act of hammer texturing and acid etching.

Ceramicist, Mags Gray (alumni of Gray’s) from Deemouth Artist Studios, will demonstrate how to hand build using clay and bisque fire using Gray’s specialist ceramic kiln whilst Gray’s alumni and illustrator, Gabrielle Reith, will explore the magical world of storytelling as she creates prototype broches.

Gray’s alumni and luxury accessories designer, Helen Ruth from Helen Ruth Scarves, will lead another workshop and inspire participants with her botanical designs to create their own textile designs for screen printing.

Aberdeen based Helen Ruth, said: “Having graduated from Gray’s in 2008, it’s an absolute pleasure to return to the art school to inspire others. I’m looking forward to meeting the other designers and artists and can’t wait to show participants how to screen print.

“Gray’s new Engage programme is so important for the creative sector in the North East. It brings together like-minded creatives and offers a hub to share skills and network with others in the sector. I’d really encourage everyone to get involved and to come and learn a new skill.”

Dean for Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis said; “I am delighted to launch Gray’s new creative programme, Engage.  As an art school, we are committed to enhancing culture and supporting the creative sector in the North East and Scotland.

“Our rich creative development programme, has been designed in direct response to feedback from members of the public and is open to beginners and more experienced practitioners, who want to build up their skills in art and design.  We want to attract as wide and diverse a group of people as possible to ensure that everyone has access to high quality artistic practice.”

A second Art Weekender will take place on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 February, with artists and designers from Torry based Deemouth Artist Studios, leading workshops with support from Gray’s creative unit, Look Again. A third Art Weekender will follow led by Aberdeen Ceramic Studios.

Engage also includes an online and physical portfolio building course, designed to help anyone preparing for an undergraduate course and the programme will roll out a new Art School for children aged 11 – 15, to be led by lecturers from Gray’s School of Art, in the Easter holidays.

The Art Weekenders are suitable for anyone aged 16 and over. To find out more visit:

Image shows Gray’s alumni and luxury accessories designer, Helen Ruth. 

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