Category Archives: school projects

Magnificent Marble Mosaics


Y3 Tackle Roman Mosaic Techniques

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It was the first day back after half term and the energy in the school was palpable. To enrich their topic about The Romans, I was there to work with the Y3 pupils to help them each make their own mosaic.

We kicked off with a brief slide presentation to introduce the history of mosaic making and how it was adopted and progressed by The Romans for their villa floors. Then we examined a marble mosaic that I made last year, observing the use of specific shapes, ie. ‘keystones’ to form curved lines for lettering and triangles where a diagonal line meets a horizontal line.

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detail from “The Girl Who Fought For Education”, Tracey Cartledge, 2016

In preparation for the day, the youngsters had already planned their designs using a limited palette of black, white, green and red – the colours of our marble. They had also had some fun making printed mosaics with square dowels. Finally, they could now get their hands on the authentic material and they were raring to go…

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I’m sure you will be as impressed as I was to see how rapidly these bright pupils applied so much fresh knowledge to their own work to create these mosaics in not much more than one hour…

At the end of the school day I showed the class teacher and TA how to grout the mosaics  and left them a big bag of grout and tips on cleaning and waxing afterwards. I’ll post some pictures of the final results once they’re all complete.

This workshop was booked from my website, where there are also kits available for class mosaic projects.

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)

Olympic Inspired School Sculpture Project


Sometimes it takes a while to get good photos of the finished work!!!! I think these were worth the wait. Thank you Vincent Abbey (photographer of all the completed work)

Tracey Cartledge Artist

UPDATE:

Here are the wonderful assemblages that I helped Y5 to create in their teams of 5-6:

Here’s how they look in their place of pride, above the serving hatches in the school hall:

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ORIGINAL POST (May 2012):

I’m looking forward to working with Y5 next week to create some fantastic Olympic sports figures in a style that will be an homage to Tony Cragg.

Working with the dual themes of ‘the Olympic Games’ and ‘eco’, we have a project here that beautifully fulfils both. Our figures will be assembled from found objects in the Olympic colours, depicting Olympic sporting heroes. As a bonus, children will learn about British sculptor Tony Cragg, research our selected UK Olympians: Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis, Usain Bolt, Rebecca Adlington and Steve Redgrave. They will also have a rare chance to use hammers and glue guns and work on a very large scale.

Just like…

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Stepping Stones for the whole class!!


Mosaic is a wonderful medium for any age group to enjoy but its tactile qualities have extra special appeal for youngsters. By including a creative, physical activity as part of a school topic you can bring the subject to life and make it extra memorable for everybody. This must be why so many teachers are asking for advice to deliver mosaic projects to their classes.

“I’d like my class to have a go at mosaic, where do I start? There are so many different grouts…what sort of tiles do we need…can you use glass tiles outside?”

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Not all schools can afford to bring in a mosaic artist to help. That’s why I’ve devised these fabulous project packs for schools.

Each pack contains all the essential materials and instructions with extra tips based on my experience of working in schools for 20 years. The kits simplify the process to make sure that everybody has a great time – teacher included. Its bags of fun and very rewarding.

The net price for this package is £300.00 + P&P @ £27 + vat @ 20%. ‘Refill Kits’ are available to use with this equipment next time. Find out more here.

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.

January School Special Offer for Mosaic Stepping Stones Project ends in 2 days


Spring is on its way and we’ll soon be able to enjoy the sunshine and spend some time in the great outdoors. Now is the time to plan projects and activities for school grounds improvements, maybe creating new garden areas – a sensory garden, perhaps – and this special offer might just be perfect for your school.

Dragonfly Mosaic Stepping Stone being cast in the plastic mould

Dragonfly Mosaic Stepping Stone being cast in the plastic mould

The project involves having me (Tracey) in your school for three consecutive days to facilitate the design and making of a set of 15 large mosaic stepping stones, involving up to a maximum of 30 pupils. It’s great fun, completely absorbing and an excellent project for encouraging team work skills.

School Mosaic Stepping Stone Project

Y2 pupils making mosaic stepping stones at Templemoor Infant School in Sale, Cheshire

This month I was in Grange Park School in Kent to work with Y7 and Y8 pupils who made a beautiful collection of mosaic stepping stones for their new sensory garden. For each of the three groups making stepping stones we had a team of four Y10 mentors to assist us. This worked very well and is a model I would encourage other schools to consider.

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The usual price for this package is £1200.00. It includes a day and a half for essential pre-project preparation as well as the three days in school and all the materials and safety equipment provided. However, as my monthly special offer to schools, orders placed in January will be at the discounted price of £950.00. Please note, I take bookings for schools outside of Greater Manchester but will provide a very reasonable quote for travel expenses and accommodation, if necessary.

Mosaic Frenzy, Firenze


A stunningly beautiful Tuscan hilltop location, a pretty village hall, a bubbly group of enthusiastic Italian youngsters keen to make mosaics with an English Mosaic Artist…

…invitations to host workshops like this don’t come too often!

So, how did I get the gig?

In 2011, by chance, I met Debora Chellini and a group of visiting Italian students whilst working at a primary school in Knutsford on a school mosaic project. I invited the youngsters to join in and work with us and it was great to see them working side by side with the English children, who happily explained and showed them what to do. That was the beginning of an exciting new collaboration that Debora and I are continuing to develop, the basis for which is Debora’s simple but effective principle of learning through experience. More specifically, in our project, it is a case of learning language through creative experience.

Debora is a lecturer at the Richmond University in Florence and at weekends she runs her own language project StoryTime working with children aged from 5-13 years old. The children are encouraged to use English whilst enjoying a range of exciting workshops and activities. This fresh approach ensures that the youngsters are keen to learn the language as they need it in order to understand and achieve the task in hand and interact with others in a creative, sociable and supportive environment. Mosaic projects fit perfectly with this brief.

My visit to Florence this October gave Debora and I the opportunity to discuss a range of options for next year’s programme with the aim of developing the approach further, incorporating more arts and crafts workshops. There was time to visit some of the finest Florentine artisans continuing the traditional crafts of the region and I also visited the university and met some of Debora’s colleagues and students.

Enrico Giannini demonstrating the technique of paper marbling

The visit culminated with the workshop you see here in the nearby Tuscan village of Montigufoni. Each participant produced a small mosaic fridge magnet to begin with. For this, they were all provided with the same set of materials, design and instructions. They very quickly learned all the new vocabulary associated with the activity: the names of the tools and materials; the way to ask for help with specific processes and checking with each other (in English!) if they were doing everything correctly.

Next, the students were rewarded for their efforts and given a little more freedom. This time, with a wide selection of materials to choose from and the aid of drawing templates (if they wanted to use them), they were encouraged to create a larger mosaic of their own design.

 

You can see some of their fabulous work here.