Something different – hand painted signs for Birch Fest


JMB Stage, signwriter’s enamel paint on gloss – 2 metres x 60 cm

A month or so back a really nice guy called Johnny Boreham came to lay a new carpet in our house. Over a cup of coffee he told me all  about his steam punk band Metropolis and how people in the steam punk movement often perform in bowler hats and suits and like to pay homage to all things traditional.


Hempo Stage – 2 metres x 60 cm

So I showed him the sign I had painted on the traditional signwriting workshop with Wayne Tanswell and before I knew what had happened I had volunteered to hand paint the signs for Birch Fest, a wonderful music festival in Risby  on 2 July in memory of his dear friend John Birch and raising funds for St Nicholas Hospice and the Teenage Cancer Trust.


Minty’s Bar 170 x 60 cm

I had to put the project on the back burner while we moved house and I finished my final assignment for POP 1. I made a start at the beginning of June and I confess I was a bit anxious about what I had let myself in for and worried  I had overstated my skills! However real projects are the very best practice you can have and now that I have three out of four signs complete I’m feeling pleased that I took this on and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.


Birch Fest sign – 200 x 60 cm – this was the most difficult to paint because of the straight lines. It took considerably longer than the others.


These are amateur efforts and  I’m sure professional signwriters  would be deeply unimpressed  but I’ve enjoyed painting them and they will definitely add a splash of colour to Birch Fest. I have to say that without OCA I would not have had the confidence to believe  I could draw and paint these. More than anything it is the skills of observation that we develop that have helped.

In November I’m going on a five day intensive signwriting course with Carter’s Steam Fair. In the winter months they take all the equipment back to their yard in Maidenhead for refurbishment and repainting and that’s where the course will be. Joby Carter’s 5-day intensive course covers the basics of fairground art, signwriting, lining, blending, perspective, scrollwork, colour relativity and much more.

I can’t wait, I’m really excited even though I expect I will have to undo everything I’ve taught myself! I’m loving signwriting and will seek ways to weave it into my art as well as continuing to paint signs as and when opportunities arise.




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