Workshop in a Box – Patchwood Tenements

A gorgeous box of goodies that will arrive through the post!

Aimed at stitchers who have a love of making.

I’m really delighted to be offering these gorgeous Patchwood Tenements as a Workshop in a Box – everything you need to make this wee ‘Tenement Close’.

I first designed them for a workshop that was being held at Edinburgh City Art Centre a few years ago. The brief was ‘iconic Edinburgh’ so I decided to create these rather lovely little rows of tenements. It was rather perfect as we looked out the windows of our workshop right over the roofs of Edinburgh Auld Toun.

Everything you need to make a wee ‘Tenement Close’ made from hand stitched wooden patches

My aim for these boxes is for them to fall somewhere between an inspiration pack (where materials are provided with no guidance for using them) and a kit (where there are step-by-step instructions and everyone makes the same). Because of the nature of this one – it definitely falls nearer the ‘kit’ form but you will find that I have included suggestions for how you can change things around a bit and make it your own. Not least you will start off personalising it by choosing your own colours.

Please note that PAINT IS NOT INCLUDED in the box.

I thought you would want to choose your own paint to co-ordinate with your own colour schemes. I use matt emulsion ‘Match Pots’ from the DIY store, available very cheaply in every colour imaginable! You can also use acrylic craft paint.

A delicious collection of vintage ephemera

The Materials

In my own art practice I love using old, collected, washed & worn. I’m in love with vintage materials and papers, wondering about the lives they lived before coming to me. I’ve had great fun collecting together this little collection of papers & ephemera for you to use in this project.

I’ve included some vintage newspaper & book cuttings for you to cut out letters for your ‘Ransom Note’ words. I’ve cut numbers from magazine & book pages, maps and a gorgeous 1930s ledger book.

Papers include old music papers bought from flea markets, maps old & not so old that I can’t quite resist but seldom personally use. I’ve included an old knitting pattern (these somehow just find their way to me), a dictionary page  and an old recipe and other bits & pieces. These can be used for windows, doors & roofs.

I’ve rummaged around and included a scrap of old tape measure, an old bus ticket –oh how these bring back memories, not only of shopping trips to Dundee but of playing bus conductors, ½ a postcard (sorry I didn’t have enough for a whole one)  and other bits for you to use as doors and roofs. The snap fastener card is a copy I’m afraid – but it’s so gorgeous for roofs that I wanted to include. The snap fasteners are vintage though from an old brown cardboard box full of them.

The floral fabric is 1940s – French or German and the tweed is from my mother in law’s stash. Cutting that up actually brought a wee tear to my eye, not in the cutting but in the memories. She had A LOT of tweed and now it’s mine and I’m happy to share!

Windows made from maps, numbers from an old ledger

I have prepared everything in the box myself, as I would for a workshop and I’m really excited at the thought of people rummaging through it! I had such wonderful feedback on the presentation of previous Workshops in a Box, this is SO important to me. My aim is to delight & inspire, to keep packaging simple and re-usable…. but also gorgeously beautiful!

A vintage bus ticket door & lolly stick roof

You’ll receive four wooden ‘patches’, Making Notes and all the materials & tools required to make your  Patchwood Tenements with the exception of paint. The stitching holes are pre-drilled, ready for you to start assembling.

Now there’s a story behind the drilling – my husband took early retirement this summer and as he’s a bit blimmin brilliant he’s made me a drilling machine. So for the first time the holes will be drilled, not by me, but by my wonderful little machine. That’s what’s made this Workshop in a Box possible actually – I’d never have attempted to drill these by hand. It’s still not fast mind you, each wee ‘Tenement Close’ takes an hour to drill!

Before you can stitch through the wooden patches, tiny holes must be drilled.

There is, of course, a story behind why I wanted to stitch wood in the first place, a bit long to tell here, but it’s to do with mixing up some of the stereotypical domestic roles – taking a traditionally ‘female’ role of sewing and working it in a traditionally ‘male’ material. My workshops are always developments from my own personal art practice – read more about my series of Patchwood Samplers.

And of course there’s a washing line strung between temenents


Stands on a shelf or can hang on the wall

To Order

There are a limited number of 20 Patchwood Tenement boxes available before Christmas and most of these have been pre-ordered but there are a very few still available if you are quick off the mark! Don’t despair though I will be offering more of these at the end of Jan 2021. The cost of the box is £55 plus UK postage of £3.00.

You can order a box now by contacting me by email. As always, it’s on a first come first served basis and payment will be by by Paypal or Bank transfer. I hope to have these posted out by 2nd December so plenty of time if you are thinking of Christmas pressies! The finished ‘Tenement Close’ measures 28 x 20cm.

So sorry but I’m not sending these overseas!

I hope you love it and I can’t wait to see the results!