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Decorative Scrolls

Scrolls are a decorative technique that can be traced back to the Greeks and the Romans. They’ve been used in all aspects of Western art from heraldry and engraving to iron work and jewellery design. They are an excellent device for filling space, framing a design or to add further decorative elements to your signwriting projects. You’ll find scrolls on vintage transport, canal boats, shop fronts and pub signs so they’re a valuable technique to add to your skillset as a professional signwriter.   
In this one-day course with Joby Carter, you’ll learn about some of the different styles used through the decades and the techniques he uses to ensure beautiful curving scrolls which are pleasing to the eye. You’ll discover which style is appropriate to use with your signwriting work or restoration projects and will learn how to make your scrolls look balanced and not like barbed wire.  

Upcoming Courses

What will you learn on the course?

  • An overview of types of decorative scrolls
  • The origins in nature of scrolls (acanthus plant) and how they flow and expand in different directions
  • Choosing appropriate styles for use in a fairground art project, on showmans living wagons or how you can add them to your signwriting designs
  • An introduction to the techniques needed to draw and paint all different types of scrolls to give you the confidence to create authentic, well balanced and eye catching designs.
  • Avoiding common mistakes including how to keep your scrolls smooth and flowing, well balanced and pleasing to the eye (and not looking like barbed wire!)
  • Using the correct tools – brushwork, when to use a mahl stick and how to get the correct viscosity for a perfect result
Who teaches this course?

This one-day course is hosted by professional signwriter and industry expert Joby Carter.

Joby is a renowned expert in this field having learned from master craftsmen himself and with over 30 years of hands on experience in this area.

He has restored numerous showmans living wagons, trucks, trailers and vintage fairground rides; these skills have been essential to Joby’s work and he feels it is important to pass them on. 

Who is this course for?

You’ll find scrolls on vintage transport, canal boats, shop fronts and pub signs so they’re a valuable technique to add to your skillset as a professional signwriter. This course will enable you to create authentic designs in keeping with a traditional style of decoration. 


Where is the course held?

The courses are held in a restoration workshop know as ‘Joby’s Paintshop’ at the Carters Steam Fair Yard, in White Waltham near Maidenhead: Carters Yard, Grove Park Industrial Estate, Waltham Road, White Waltham, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 3JF

During the course you will have the opportunity to look around the restoration workshops to see the variety of real-life restoration projects that Joby Carter and team work on.

What is included in the course price?

All materials are provided for the duration of the course

Lunch and hot drinks are also provided. You are welcome to bring your own mug if preferred.

You have the opportunity to buy your own equipment including paints, brushes and mahl sticks at the end of the day – cash and card payments accepted.

How many places are there on the course?

There are 15 places on the course to ensure everyone can watch the demonstrations, ask questions and get the support they need.

What happens when I book my course?

When you place your order you will be emailed an e-ticket, which is your course booking confirmation.

Where can I stay when I'm on the course?

If you need to book accommodation the night before or after your course, we recommend that you try to find places local to White Waltham so your commute to the course is a short and easy one.

Our recommendations for the nearest places are:

The B&B in Innings Lane ran by Kate Gough (01628 826 789)
The Bird in Hand, approximately 3.5miles away (01628 826 622)
Rose Kenyon’s B&B about 4 miles away (01628 623262/07508 535945)

There are also a number of Air BnB’s running in White Waltham that are advertised on the Air BnB website, previous students have used these and have given positive feedback.
Maidenhead is a short drive away and has a Premier Inn. Please allow time for your journey to the workshop as the roads can be busy at peak hours.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide space for caravans or mobile homes in the Yard; it’s a busy working fairground yard and we are moving vehicles around a lot. Other guests have recommended visiting the Caravan Club website for local campsites.

What equipment do I need and what should I wear?

You do not need to bring any materials or equipment with you, as we provide everything you need on the course.
Please remember to wear clothes that are comfortable, and you don’t mind getting messy, please wear sturdy closed toe footwear, no flip flops or sandals.
We provide food and hot drinks, but you might like to bring a mug or travel mug and your own spoon. If you want to bring any additional snacks you are welcome to do so.

Decorative scrolls at the fair
Joby Carter fine art print Stop Scrolling
Decorative scrolls at a fairground

Apply for funding for your course

Signwriting, gilding, fairground art and coach painting are heritage skills and some organisations offer funding to those interested in learning these traditional skills.

We encourage you to research funding opportunities with QEST, Heritage Crafts and the Crafts Council.