On Our Doorstep


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There is so much craftsmanship to be admired in the details of  Manchester’s amazing architecture. Have you noticed how many Victorian mosaic floors and thresholds we have in the city centre?

Manchester’s neo-gothic Town Hall has been in the news this week and, just like Buckingham Palace, we’re told that it needs ‘future-proofing’ to ensure its structural integrity. It has an abundance of stained glass leaded windows sagging under their own weight; fairy castle sweeping spiral staircases of stone leading you from one opus sectile marble floor to another featuring, of course, the iconic worker bee and cotton flower motifs in marble mosaic.

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Library Walk Mosaic Floor by J W Restoration, 2015

In 2015, J W Restoration were commissioned to replicate the cotton flower mosaics for a new floor in Library Walk, which runs between the Town Hall extension and Central Library.

Step out into Albert Square and there are more mosaic details within a few short steps of you. Across on the corner of Lloyd Street and South Mill Street, the circular portico at the entrance to what is now Red’s True Barbecue Restaurant has a fine example.

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Portico Mosaic Floor at the entrance to Red’s True Barbecue, Manchester

Over at the other side of the square at 14 Princess Street is the Northern Assurance Buildings. Here you can see a large – more than five square metres – threshold mosaic of a similar age, made using the same traditional method and materials. The mosaic material is unglazed porcelain. Just like the floors that I repaired at Victoria Station a couple of years ago and a more recent restoration in the Royal Exchange Shopping Arcade.

img_4221Restoration of the Philip Morris & Co threshold mosaic in Manchester Royal Exchange Shopping Arcade by Tracey Cartledge, 2016

Over on Rochdale Road, one of my favourite pubs and former home to the cellar brewery of Marbe Beers, is the Marble Arch pub, well known for its sloping floor. Last Christmas, the Chorlton Mosaic Group was invited to put up an exhibition in the pub’s back room. Below you can see the progress on my “Piece of the Marble”, copied from the pub floor, with a few minor colour modifications. This was purchased by the brewery and now lives on their office wall.

well-crafted“A Piece of the Marble” 2015 (in progress) and “Well Crafted” 2016 by Tracey Cartledge

Just like “Well Crafted”, again made in unglazed porcelain, making mosaics like this is great practice for commissioned threshold mosaics like the one below that transformed the entrance to Pettigrew Bakeries in Cardiff.

Pettigrew Bakeries, Cardiff, commissioned threshold mosaic by Tracey Cartledge, 2016

Whilst it has been difficult to research and confirm, I suspect that many of the above and other Manchester period architectural mosaics were the work of the Oppenheimer family business that was founded in 1865 and thrived in Old Trafford until the mid twentieth century.

Studio Workshops – Sign Up!!


New Dates for Summer 2016

If you’re fascinated by mosaics and would like to learn the basics, coming to one of my studio workshops is the ideal way to get started. The creative process is absorbing and therapeutic. The feedback from previous workshops has been very positive and enthusiastic.

Here are the dates and links to my main website, where you can book your place securely:

WORKSHOPS

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Through the Looking Glass, Adventures in Mosaic Glass Appliqué


We love receiving visitors at Last Loft Studios in Manchester. It is an opportunity to share the fondness we have for our working environment at Talbot Mill and the respect, admiration and affection we have for our fellow artisans with the rest of the world.

Even better, are the occasions when visitors attend a weekend workshop to spend a joyful day with us exploring creative possibilities using the techniques that we can teach and share.

This Saturday, we had the pleasure to welcome five wonderful women into our studios, each bringing their own talents, experience and ideas to the table as we worked together to make glass-on-glass mosaic mandalas.

Caroline Channing – our resident glass expert – kicked off the day to a fine start with a meticulous demonstration of glass cutting techniques and a clear explanation of which tools to use for each purpose and how and why each specific method works. The group then practised and fairly quickly mastered the basic skills required for the day ahead.

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Test piece by Deborah Pitman, photo by Deb Pitman

Each participant made a small test piece that was grouted and finished before the day ended. They went on to create their circular mandala using their newly acquired knowledge. We think the results are stunning…

 

 

 

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Brushes, Beans, Bees & Butterflies


“Creativity bursting and spilling right out of the building”

This was the concept for the new signage commissioned for the side elevation of the fabulous Bean & Brush Family Art Cafe in Sale, Greater Manchester.

To achieve it, I picked up on the existing language of the ornate forged steel coffee beanstalks that make the terrace railings so distinctive and combined this with the use of ceramic mosaic as seen in the “opus paladanium” style of the pavement ‘welcome’ mosaic outside the entrance door.

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Pavement Mosaic featuring Bean & Brush logo at the entrance to the cafe, commissioned in 2011. Photo by Vincent Abbey

The new signage takes the form of coffee beanstalks growing out from a ground floor window and spreading across the building. From the stalks, beautiful hammered steel leaves and hand-cut steel words combine with mosaic features to proclaim the building’s identity in no uncertain terms.

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Photo by Vincent Abbey

I collaborated with Luke Lister blacksmiths, who fabricated all of the steel elements and installed the work for me on 16th November 2015. The design also includes ‘halo’ lighting that adds colour behind each of the largest size of hammered steel leaf and the two key mosaic features.

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Photo by Vincent Abbey

As you will have noticed, one of the beanstalk leaves is bigger than the rest and has evolved into an artist’s paint palette fabricated in ceramic mosaic. I produced this part of the signage, together with the butterfly, whose blue ‘flight path’ starts from the end of the ampersand in “Bean & Brush” and sweeps around to the front of the building, from where it appears to be just about to take off again…

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Photo by Vincent Abbey

Working on this commission was a complete delight for me. Michelle and Graham who run the Bean & Brush are the loveliest of people so I really enjoyed all the design consultation with them both. As usual, Luke Listers interpreted the designs with great skill and professionalism and made an admirable job of installing the finished work. The final thanks go to Vincent Abbey for taking these wonderful photographs of quite a challenging subject!

 

 

Invited Back


Two projects that I’m currently working on have been commissioned by clients that I have previously made work for. This is excellent news. Follow up projects are affirmation that your work has been well received and the client has enjoyed working with you. That’s a great foundation to build on.

detail from 2006 interpretation panels at Halton Castle

detail from 2006 interpretation panels at Halton Castle

In 2006, designs for bespoke fence panels that interpret the castle’s history made in laser-cut and laser-etched stainless steel with bronze and mosaic embellishments were commissioned for Halton Castle in Runcorn.  It was a great project. Three primary schools, two assistant artists and a fantastic management team that included officers from the landscape architecture department of Halton Borough Council, the HBC Arts Officer and experts from Norton priory Museum helped to steer the project to success.

In 2015, the same management team has commissioned further artist designed interpretation panels to enhance a new line of fencing that makes another area of the castle grounds safe for the visiting public. The new panels provide information relating to the panoramic views that this landmark site affords. These include the bridging point along the Mersey known as the Runcorn Gap, the city of Liverpool and more local points of interest such as St. Mary’s Church and the actual castle buildings.

Bean & Brush Signage, design drawing, 2015

Bean & Brush Signage, design drawing, 2015

Meantime, the owners of the very popular Bean & Brush family art cafe in Sale have commissioned new signage for their building. In 2011, they commissioned a pavement mosaic outside their front door to welcome people in. This mosaic, made with durable frost-resistant glazed porcelain and cast in-situ, features the cafe’s butterfly logo. The new signage has now been designed and approved and is currently being fabricated, ready for installation in the next month. The design picks up the theme of the forged steel coffee bean stalks that adorn the terrace railings and plays with the notion of creativity spilling right out of the building from its windows…

work in progress

work in progress

…with butterflies and bees, forged steel leaves and splashes of colourful mosaic this signage is a commission full of fun to work on!

Creativity Blossoms at Clarendon


Y5 Creative Kids at Clarendon Primary

Y5 Creative Kids at Clarendon Primary

Talented Year 5 pupils at Clarendon Primary School in Bolton have been working with me to design a colourful, contemporary steelwork barrier for their school.

The twenty-metre long safety barrier – fabricated by Luke Lister Engineers in Stockport – is a delightful and charming feature that enhances the school building and also serves as a permanent display of the children’s vibrant works of art. The accomplished blacksmiths at Luke Listers have faithfully reproduced in forged steel a stunning representation of local wildlife from the children’s original artworks, which includes native butterflies, bees, birds, mini-beasts, plants and small animals.

bird, CLARENDON Blossom

exotic flower

fox CLARENDON caterpillar CLARENDON robin tree CLARENDON

Design workshops took place at school in March. The Year 5 pupils were wonderful and I was inspired by the enthusiasm and excellent feedback that the pupils responded with. They came up with so many fantastic ideas and made a great job of expressing them using the wire drawing and paper quilling techniques that I showed them to make their 3D models.

Once all the children’s artwork was ready to use, my job was to arrange it all into a design that could serve the dual function of safely protecting the children and looking wonderful.

Ready to go for galvanising

Ready to go for galvanising

(You can see a slide show about the steelwork designs workshops on the Y5V school blog: http://www.thelifecloud.net/schools/ClarendonCPSchool/resources/RootFolder/Year5(V).blog)

Tracey Cartledge and Luke Lister Blacksmiths have worked collaboratively on a number of high quality public art projects throughout the North West.. See also Butterfinch Bridge, Marshall’s Arm and Anderton Nature Park.

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photos by Vincent Abbey

Time for the Beer Goggles


Chorlton Mosaic Group  exhibition of recent work for CAF2015

Chorlton Mosaic Group
exhibition of recent work for CAF2015

We are delighted to be mounting a group exhibition of our recent work as part of CAF2015 at the fabulous Marble Beerhouse on Manchester Road, Chorlton. The exhibition opens with our preview night on Thursday 14th May and continues through to the 24th May.

As part of the fun, we will be hosting a special MOSAIC WORKSHOP for beginners on the evening of Monday 18th May. For just £5.00, you are very welcome to join us and learn to make a small mosaic of your own. Places limited to a maximum of 10 and booking essential.

Details & booking on the Tracey Cartledge Mosaics website.

Sorry – SOLD OUT!

If you were disappointed not to get a place, there are other mosaic workshops coming up at my studio and our weekly evening class in Chorlton – just check the classes & workshops page for dates and details.