AN interior designer has been supporting other local creatives through a series of workshops.

Diane Marsland, owner of Wark-based English Decoratives, delivered informal and sociable demonstrations to budding designers across Northumberland.

The interactive classes, which cater to all artistic abilities, introduced popular styles of interior design, including chinoiserie, a style of art which is the European interpretation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions,

Using old-school training methods, Diane guided students in producing hand-painted silk panels, which could be mounted on to a board and framed, as well as painting on to a silk cushion, adapting a pre-prepared template.

Despite having more than 40 years of experience in the industry, workshops remained relatively new territory for Diane, a winner at the Northern Designer Awards 2018.

She said: “I have started off relatively small, I am just learning as I go. It has been a case of listening to feedback and responding to demand.

“In 2019, I was asked by design company Kandola to host a live demonstration at London Design Week at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, which is actually where I got the inspiration from to host workshops in silk painting techniques.”

She continued: “Everyone seems to really love chinoiserie and it certainly isn’t showing any signs of dying out anytime soon.

“So I was quite keen to offer a studio-led experience, using the knowledge and principles I have gained in the industry.

“I begin each class with a brief introduction, offering students an insight into my background, which is actually in flower painting. I then encourage students to approach subjects in the same way any designer would - firstly through study and secondly, by interpretation of its main features, whether they be stylised decoratives from the Orient or other interesting murals.

“I really just operate using my guiding principle - the best way to teach is to show, the best way to learn is to look, emulate and then practise and the best way to create is to combine ideas, skills and experiences.

“Perhaps most importantly though is that the best way to be original and unique is to be yourself and not anyone else,” Diane added.

“I have tried to create an environment that is not only enjoyable, but also educational. It is important that people leave feeling as though they have actually achieved something.

“I have received great feedback and have a had a lot of returners.

“I hope to be able to offer more tailor-made sessions on a one-to-one basis. I would also be interested in launching a series of block workshops in the rural Northumberland countryside, which could last a few days.”

Diane, who makes hand-made wallpaper, murals and furnishings, began her artistic career aged 15, studying fashion design at college.

She worked at Fenwick’s in Newcastle, and Dickinsons in Hexham, before establishing her own brand in 2017.