Get Fired Up for 2015

We all love fire

We all love fire

Elegant, British designed and made spun steel fire bowls to bring some Pagan passion to all your summer parties. Now you can stay toasty warm outdoors long after the sun goes down.

Spun Steel Fire Bowl

Spun Steel Fire Bowl by Paul Wigley, Manchester

Our gorgeous big fire bowl creates a stylish focal point for outdoor entertaining, as well as a great source of warmth and light on chilly evenings. Designed in Manchester by my talented husband, Paul Wigley and available from my main website.

Mosaic Floor Repair Project, Victoria Station, Manchester

The original floor was laid circa 1910, I suspect, by a team of expert Italian mosaic floor layers. Large expanses of white opus circulatum, broken up with occasional silver grey tesserae, framed by a simple geometric border embracing blues, greens, yellow and silver grey follow the shape of the room. A modular unit of half-inch square tesserae, approximately ten millimetres thick, hand cut to shape from unglazed porcelain tiles. Unglazed porcelain is a surprising choice of material for this type of floor. Both Manchester Town Hall (built 1877) and Victoria Baths – Manchester’s famous “Water Palace” – (completed 1906) also have traditional Roman style mosaic floors but they are made entirely of marble. However, porcelain is tougher and considerably harder to cut.


Detail from marble mosaic floor at Victoria Baths, Manchester

At some point in the station’s history, the space was divided with partition walls to create a warren of offices and their floors were covered with carpets. To facilitate the 2014 heritage refurbishment, the carpets were lifted and the walls removed, revealing ingrained dirt, thick deposits of carpet adhesive and wide channels of completely absent floor. Some of these channels were deep but they were all different. In total, I calculated from the plan later, they constituted a total surface area of about four and a half square metres.

areas for repair (through the dust)

areas for repair (through the dust)

During my site visit, I collected a selection of salvaged tesserae for colour matching, a set of dusty grey images taken on my phone camera and a sketch plan of the areas to be addressed, with notes. My ‘to do’ list was already considerable: match and price materials, check delivery times, estimate the work involved and submit a quotation, consult with technical advisers about cleaning, adhesives, put together a team of assistants etc; etc…. It was the middle of April and the First Class Refreshments Room refurbishment was scheduled for completion at the end of May. Hmmm…

However, when working with contractors who are contracted to main contractors who are working for developers who check everything with the client the paperwork takes a few weeks to process. Four weeks later, I was given the go-ahead to order materials and a start date of the first week of June!

checking the patterns

checking the patterns

The first task was to make patterns for the missing floor areas. I used newsprint paper and cobbler’s wax to take rubbings of the surrounding tesserae and pick out the shape of each missing section. Then I marked onto the pattern the colours of the tesserae for reference. Back at the studio, my team – Paul and Karen – cracked on with the relentless cutting and washing of tesserae.

Checking Test Panel on Site

Checking Test Panel on Site

I met with the Site Manager and Heritage Officer on site to look at a made up sample of mosaic work and check that everybody was happy with the quality of the work, the colour match and the reproduction of the geometric pattern. They were delighted. Within a week I was ready for the first stage of installation: the replacement mosaic sections in the priority lobby area, just outside the First Class Restaurant.

Victoria Station work in progress

Making up floor sections at the studio

In total, the job took just under six weeks to complete. During these weeks, Karen was helping me to produce the mosaic sections in the studio, Paul continued to cut down tiles for at least two days a week and I installed on site in stages, making the most efficient use of the team’s availability throughout the project.

Ready to install section opus circulatum

Installed section opus circulatum

Installation of mosaic sections on site

The completion of the work was immensely satisfying and has been an excellent experience. I’m now looking forward to the next phase of works at Victoria Station, scheduled for 2015.


Roll on 2015…

What an interesting, varied and fantastic year 2014 proved to be for Tracey Cartledge Limited!

Highlights included creating a landmark sculpture outside the Weaver Hall Museum in Northwich…


…making and installing part two of the Longford Park pavement mosaic features…

Longford Park Part Two The People's Park 2012

Longford Park Part Two, The People’s Park 2012

Longford Park Mosaic Part Two, The People's park 2012

Longford Park Part Two, The People’s Park 2012

Longford Park Part Two, The People's Park 2012

Longford Park Part Two, The People’s Park 2012

Longford Park Part Two, The People's Park 2012

Longford Park Part Two, The People’s Park 2012

…the contract to repair the mosaic floors at Victoria Station, Manchester…

Checking Test Panel on Site

Checking Test Panel on Site

Checking Patterns

Working from the patterns taken on site

Victoria Station work in progress

Making up sections of replacement mosaic in the studio

Ready to install section opus circulatum

Installation of replacement sections of mosaic floor

Installed section opus circulatum

The above section of mosaic installed into the existing floor

…and my first work selected to represent the UK at the Rencontres Internationales de Mosaique exhibition in Chartres…



So, I’m hoping that this time next year there will have been more challenges and interesting projects to report!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.

The NEW Mosaic Fridge Magnet Kits – crafty little stocking fillers!!

Now available in their newly created packaging, a cute collection of mini mosaic kits that you will love and here’s a quick peep at the first four designs that are now available on my website:

Blue Box Mosac Fridge Magnet Kit

Blue Box

We Love Pink Mosaic Fridge Magnet Kit

We Love Pink

Mums Love Green Mosaic Fride Magnet Kit

Mums Love Green

Little Star

Little Star

As soon as I have some photos, I’ll show you the new packages. They’re adorable!

They will be available from Hobby Island Mosaics from next week and you can also purchase them from The Make It Shop in Chorlton if you live in or are visiting Manchester.

Stepping Up

Yarlside Nursery and Primary School Mosaic Stepping Stones Project

Yarlside Nursery and Primary School
Mosaic Stepping Stones Project

Yarlside Nursery and Primary School in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria invested in one of our school project packs for the autumn term 2013. They wanted to create a colourful set of stepping stones for their new wildlife area, so they chose the ‘Mosaic Stepping Stone Pack for 30‘.

Mosaic Stepping Stone Pack for 30

Mosaic Stepping Stone Pack for 30

A year on, they still had enough materials left in their pack to run a second project and make another set of brilliant stepping stones. They sent me these photos of their talented pupils with the fabulous work that they made this time. There must be quite a lot of expertise at Yarlside Primary School by now. I wonder what projects they’ll tackle next?

Yarlside Nursery and Primary School Mosaic Stepping Stones Project

Yarlside Nursery and Primary School
Mosaic Stepping Stones Project

“With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Workshops, Classes and Courses

Workshops, Classes and Courses.

Check out our new workshops for November 2014 in the studio!

1. Fused Glass with Caroline Channing – Saturday 22nd November – SOLD OUT!!!

2. Festive Mosaics with me (Tracey Cartledge) – Saturday 29th November – BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW!!

Apricot Tree by Mary Pye photo Tom Spawton

Apricot Tree by Mary Pye
photo Tom Spawton

Tutti Frutti by Susie Wakefield, photo Tom Spawton

Tutti Frutti by Susie Wakefield, photo Tom Spawton

There will be a variety of interesting bases that you can choose from on the day, e.g..

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.18.04

Rectangular Mirror Frame 50cm x 40cm

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.18.32

Bamboo Dish 32cm diameter

and some baubles to embellish for your Christmas Tree!!

Hearing Voices – sculpture for Weaver Hall Museum

In 2014, I was commissioned by the Weaver Hall Museum to design and make a sculpture to be installed in front of their building on the busy London Road. The aim of this commission was to draw public attention to the museum and at the same time represent its history and the museum’s collection.

The museum itself is a former workhouse. It shaped the lives of those who came to live and work here and it is their voices that the museum aims to make heard by today’s audience.


the old workhouse lock and key

Workhouse Bed

Iron beds in the Northwich Workhouse on London Rd were similar to these

So, where to start?

The brief required a work of art with ‘impact’ and ‘kerb appeal’.

Early ideas started to take shape in the form of sketches, small card macquettes and photomontages to consider scale, position, potential forms, colour in relation to the context, etc.

Weaver Hall early ideas

slender forms


Folded forms
I was working on shapes whilst thinking about pages of history; the mothers and fathers turning into tired old people and their unfortunate children who lived and worked here – their personal identities and family relationships lost to the workhouse system. Blank canvases, ghosts, bones, haunting voices calling out to have their story heard…..

Weaver Hall model 1IMG_1715


model 2, Weaver Hall Museum

Eventually, following consultation with the client and interested friends of the museum, we settled on this idea. Two ‘figures’, one cold and hardened, the other softer, revealing inner layers.

IMG_1731 weaver hall model


Next, experimentation for the mosaic surfacing….


136_0660Then, scaling up and making templates for the mild steel figure in the sculpture – for which I was grateful to receive expert help from Rob at Nuttall Packaging in Trafford Park.


I checked it out on site to see how the scale worked:


and then it was time to get busy making the other figure in the studio:

2014-04-15 14.06.04 2014-04-15 14.05.26 2014-04-15 14.04.49 2014-04-15 14.05.26

I built up several layers of glass reinforced cement onto the armature, having first fixed a layer of ‘expa-met’ – expanded metal mesh inside the grid mesh that was welded to the frame. Finally, I worked ‘ancient graffiti’ images into the neat top layer, directly copied from the contributions provided by museum visitors.

2014-04-17 08.52.16 2014-04-17 08.54.06 2014-04-17 08.54.57 2014-04-17 08.53.26

 Here are some of the drawings contributed that you can pick out on in the finished work:


The ‘Northwich Voices’ sculpture was installed on a gloriously sunny 4th September 2014.