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In the latest installment of our Building Skill in Craft Programme column, Louie Callaghan, Dulux Trade apprentice, talks about the factory visits and workshop activities he’s been involved in ahead of his work placement.

Pre-placement training: Another flock on the wall

As well as building the wooden shelter on the Dumfries House Estate, we’ve also been doing various short courses and factory visits over the last few months. This additional training is designed to build on the knowledge we’ve gained so far and prepare us for our work placements and beyond. Our first visit was to two high-end wallpaper

factories, where we were given a tour and shown the workings of the production lines. We even got to have a go at making wallpaper ourselves and try out the different machines. It was fascinating to see the manufacturing process as it’s not something you give much thought to when you are decorating a room. We also had a couple of sessions with Tom Little

from the Scottish Association of Painting Craft Teachers. During the live build, he came along for a day to give a short course in how to paint special effects using techniques such as sign writing and gold leafing. Once the build was over, we attended a short

course in Lanarkshire where Tom regularly teaches. The course built on what we’d learnt during our visits to the wallpaper factories, and went into

more detail about the manufacturing and handling of traditonal wall coverings. Unlike the regular wallpapers that you can buy at your local DIY store, these are much more delicate and almost fabric- like in their texture. We also learnt about flock wallpaper, where small

fibres are deposited onto the surface to give a more velvety coating and create interesting tactile and visual effects. This kind of paper is particularly fragile and shouldn’t come into contact with moisture. It looks fantastic, however, and I’m hoping that I’ll have the chance to use it in the future. Being taught by such an experienced teacher and

learning about these more sophisticated decorating methods was a real privilege and a lot of fun. We’ve since begun our placements, which have

been going really well. I’ve been working for a specialist decorators which does a lot of ecclesiastical work in traditional buildings. I’ve put some of what I’ve learnt on the programme so far to use, and am also gaining valuable new knowledge along the way.

In next issue, apprentice Matt Evans talks work placements and his hopes for the future beyond the course.

 Louie Callaghan, apprentice on the Prince’s Foundation Building Skill in Craft Programme

30 decorator

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