Category Archives: Public Art Projects

Chorlton Central Church Community Mosaic


In spring 2016 the committee of Chorlton Central Church, where I run my weekly mosaic evening class, commissioned me to design a large exterior mosaic to cover the old church hall entrance.

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The New Glass facade with artwork by Steve Raw, photo credit Andrew Stuart, MEN

The church had undergone extensive refurbishment works completed in 2015. These  included the construction of a large new glass facade incorporating entrance doors within the south elevation. Architect Mick Timpson, who also runs yoga classes in the church, was responsible for the refurbishment and artist Steve Raw was commissioned to create the design for the glass treatment. The old entrance doorway – you can see on the left in this photo – became redundant and was blocked up to make a storage room.

The first stage of the commission was to consult with the church committee to agree the theme for the mosaic. They wanted the design to reflect the values of the church whilst having universal appeal and represent the church being part of Manchester’s multi faith network. Due to its position, we all agreed that we also wanted it to relate to the garden and convey a sense of welcome – ‘the door is open’. Referencing the bible’s creation story,  tree of life (Genesis) and the water of life (Revelation) provided ample imagery. Following a presentation to the church congregation and ensuing feedback, modifications were made to create a final version of the design.

From the end of June and throughout July, I hosted seven workshops which allowed approximately 100 local participants to take part in the making of the mosaic. With fabulous assistants from Chorlton Mosaic Group on hand to help, each workshop started with a lesson on how to use the tools to cut and arrange the mosaic pieces. Using patterns cut from our full size cartoon, participants patiently started to make component parts of the design, just like a paint-by-numbers technique. Every piece was referenced and carefully stored.

In September I packed up all the mosaic contributions and took them to my studio. With two brilliant studio assistants, Karen Nolan and Karen Allerton, working with me, the parts were assembled, completed and all background areas made up within three weeks.

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The completed mosaic in the studio, faced with tile tape, ready for installation.

Prior to installation I was lucky enough to meet master mosaic fixer, Walter Bernadine in London after he made a presentation at the BAMM Annual Forum. We had a good chat and with Walter’s tips in mind, I subcontracted Manchester dream team Andy Carroll & Son to install the mosaic with me. Thanks to their expertise, the installation was like poetry in motion…

On Sunday 16th October , which was also the Reverend Bob Day’s retirement celebration, the mosaic was officially unveiled by local MP Jeff Smith. The event was well attended by many of those who played a role in its realisation and after the formalities we all enjoyed a lunch in the church hall, generously provided by the Central Church committee.

The Chorlton Mosaic Group continues to meet every Thursday at 7.15pm and welcomes new members at any time. For more details, check the website or get in touch with me by email at this address: tracey.cartledge@icloud.com.

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Tracey with the completed mosaic. Photo by Vincent Abbey.

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 lovely people with plenty of drive, vision and faith so the design consultation with them was lively, productive and enjoyable. 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!

 

 

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…

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…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…

"Fall"

“Fall”

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.

Centenary Mosaic, Longford Park 1912 – 2012


Installing the first mosaic at Longford Park
Precision Installation Work with Horticon Ltd Landscape Contractors

I worked with two great chaps from Horticon landscape contractors to install the mosaic and so far it’s looking as good as the day we put it in. As the sections are all precast, it could, if necessary, be moved and repositioned in the future without any damage to the intricate mosaic work.

The glazed porcelain Cinca tile pieces are durable, frost resistant and 7.5mm thick. They are set into Conbextra GP high strength, low shrinkage pourable cement grout, backed up with standard mix concrete to a total depth of 75mm. It is built to endure the British weather and should survive well into the future!!

 The Old BandstandThe Old Bandstand. Photo by Vincent Abbey

So now we can look forward to repeating the whole process next year when I make the follow-up mosaic feature depicting park life in 2012!!

The People's Park 1912, photo by Vincent Abbey
The People’s Park, Centenary Mosaic, Longford Park. Photo Vincent Abbey

Centenary Mosaic, Longford Park, Stretford, ManchesterCentenary Mosaic, Longford Park, Stretford, Manchester. Photo Vincent Abbey

Pineapple Panel“Pineapple Panel” Photo Vincent Abbey

Maypole Panel. Photo Vincent AbbeyMaypole Panel. Photo Vincent Abbey
 
Read more about this commission and the design process with St. Hilda’s Primary School in earlier posts!!

Tea for Two at Longford Park


Here are the approved working designs for the Longford Park Mosaic features. The two circular paving features will be located at the bases of two of the colonnades that support the newly refurbished shelters at the back of the formal gardens.

Circular Mosaic Paving Feature DESIGN

Circular Mosaic Paving Feature DESIGN

In both mosaic designs, we have included images contributed by Y5 pupils at St. Hilda’s C of E Primary School, together with requests from the Friends of Longford Park to reflect the People’s Park both when it opened in 1912 and in its centenary year.

PrintCircular Mosaic Paving Feature DESIGN

The work of creating the mosaics has started in the studio. In this cold weather, it is a particularly slow process but I am very pleased with the first sections of work so far completed.

I decided to begin with one of the keystone sections, which have been designed to reflect the ‘art deco’ detail in the facade of the store building between the shelters where the famous cafe once stood.

Key Stone

Here is the progress on the first of these sections:

bahama beige with red stone

testing bahama beige with red stone

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testing bahama beige with black ceramic

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testing bahama beige with sandal

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completed section in bahama beige and sandal – we’ll be making 8 of these in total

Next, onto the first pictorial section……..

a nice cuppa

a nice cuppa tea

teacup 1 completePEOPLE'S lettering Tea for Two in progressbeautiful red rose by Georgia from St. Hilda’s – thanks, Georgia!!
Tea for Two panel in progress

sky blue background added

sky blue background added

tea for two section complete

tea for two section complete

Tea for Two! Only this and 7 more pictorial sections to complete……

Thankfully, some of the wonderful Friends of Longford Park have kindly offered to lend a hand so hopefully there will be more progress to report very soon……

Mosaic Commission for John Rylands’ Back Garden


In another time, not so very long ago, I might have been directly commissioned by the philanthropist and much revered Mancunian entrepreneur of the industrial age, John Rylands and his discerning wife, Enriqueta, to produce a work of art for their home, Longford Hall, or the extensive gardens, known today as Longford Park. They remodelled their Stretford residence, complete with conservatories and formal gardens, taking Chatsworth as their inspiration.

Longford Hall in the 1920s, courtesy of Friends of Longford Park

Longford Hall in the 1920s, courtesy of Friends of Longford Park

Enriqueta was uncompromising in her dedication for commissioning the finest artisans and personally checking each and every bespoke detail of the exquisite John Rylands library (a tribute to her late husband following his death in 1888) After her own death in 1908, however, there was nobody willing or wealthy enough to buy the family estate and its future looked uncertain.

Longford Hall, 1977

Longford Hall, 1977

Thankfully, a determined group of community leaders persuaded the council to purchase it (at a cost of £14,500.00) and create a “People’s Park”, which officially opened in 1912. This was an appropriate solution and would doubtless have met with the Rylands’ approval. Their personal wealth had already provided the people of Stretford with a town hall, a public baths, a church, homes for elderly women and a coffee house. (see more here)

All that remains of Longford Hall today is the portico and garden that maps out the former floor plan

All that remains of Longford Hall today is the portico and behind it gardens that map out the former floor plan

One hundred years on and still the community – led by the Friends of Longford Park – is working hard to maintain the People’s Park. Despite unfathomable setbacks, not least the hall being closed for repairs in 1983, subsequently neglected and eventually demolished in 1995, the park is as popular as ever and this was evident as the centenary celebrations unfolded throughout 2012.

As a permanent commemoration of the park’s first 100 years, the Friends are putting funds raised during the centenary events into the commissioning of two mosaic features that will celebrate the People’s Park. I am honoured to have received this prestigious commission and I hope that the resulting work will assume a place in the hearts of future park users as well as being worthy of their precedents.

Design Workshops, St. Hilda's, Stretford, Manchester

Design Workshops, St. Hilda’s, Stretford, Manchester

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Year 5 pupils from nearby St. Hilda’s Church of England Primary School have worked hard with me to explore the park’s history and its current use and suggest suitable images for inclusion in the design of the mosaic features. Their enthusiasm, ideas and creative input have formed an invaluable contribution to the design process and I look forward to sharing the approved final design with them very soon.

Once approved, the sections of the first mosaic will be created at my Manchester studio and installed at the park later this spring beneath one of the supporting colonnades of the refurbished shelters at the back of the formal gardens.

Busy Bees Make Beautiful Butterflies


The workshop programme for the FLUTTERBY Project at The National Wildflower Centre is now complete and what a great time the groups have spent helping us to design the Butterfly Garden!!

Children and young people attending the Royal School for the Blind in Wavertree made some amazing butterfly collages with us. Their huge efforts and ready enthusiasm made it a delight to work with the groups and you can see here that the results were brilliant too.

Other groups that attended workshop sessions in the Education Room at NWC have worked directly in mosaic to produce a selection of 10 local species of butterflies. We are looking forward to casting them all in the studio next week.

Identify My Fluttery Friends


Workshops for the Flutterby Project at the National Wildflower Centre begin next week. The project has inspired me to create a new series of mosaics in the studio. Here’s my progress to date with the first one:

Can you identify it?

UPDATE:

In between hosting workshops, packing up and sending out record numbers of orders this week, I also treated myself to spending another hour on the butterfly…..slowly, slowly…!!

Do you know what kind of butterfly it is yet???

 

A Colourful New Welcome to Euclid Park


Mersey Forest have waved their magic wand to transform Euclid Park in Grappenhall, near Warrington. Inspired by feedback from local residents, the team has worked diligently to deliver a range of improvements that include new natural play equipment, orchard fruit trees, wildflower meadows and a more welcoming treatment to the main entrance.

BEFORE

before

The Year 5 class at St. Wilfrid’s C E Primary School – just across the road from the park, have played a special role in this project. They were invited to work with Jo Sayers of Mersey Forest and myself to develop ideas and designs for the entrance treatment.

design ideas

The Y5 group explored themes related to the improvements, focusing in particular on the new wild flower meadows and fruit trees being planted. Images of giant wild flowers and associated insects were created as drawings in wire, buttons, paper clips  and washers by the talented youngsters, with help from  Karen, who came to help out at the design workshops in the school, Jo and I.

The original from which the steel bird was created

spider and flowers in wire, created by Y5

Next, the Y5 team made beautiful, large oil pastel drawings of  ‘fallen fruits’. They looked carefully at tonal variation and the colours in the fruits they observed and produced some fantastic works of art. These works became an important reference as they went on to recreate the same images in mosaic. Once the mosaics were complete, they went back to the studio to be cast into large concrete stepping stones before being installed outside the gates.

In the meantime, behind the scenes, the wire creations were carefully being translated into potential designs for steelwork to adorn the very dull grey gates. Having sought approval from Y5 and discussed the fabrication with expert blacksmith Martin Lister, I went back to the studio to make full size templates for each piece.

Carl, at Luke Lister Blacksmiths, working from the template to forge one of the steel flowers

 

Heating and manipulating the steel bar into shape at the anvil

plasma cut butterfly before galvanising

The finishing touches on site came together on Wednesday as Martin and Carl fixed the steel artworks in place. It was lovely to see the reactions of one or two of the Y5 design team who were nearby as the work went in.

Well done everybody, it looks great. Judging from the responses of the neighbours who came out to have a look on Wednesday, I think that this has proved to be an exceptionally popular project. Enjoy your new park!!