Tag Archives: Community public art projects

Flutter by, butterfly

I visited the National Wildflower Centre in Merseyside yesterday – it is such a lovely place for a day out – full of colour and interest and perfect for adventurous young children to explore.

small tortoise shell butterfly

The NWC has commissioned me to work with local groups of children to create outdoor mosaics for a new butterfly garden. We’re calling it the “Flutterby Project”. With the expertise of the NWC gardeners working on the planting and our artwork, this garden will become a vibrant celebration of our very beautiful and extensive British native butterflies.

One of the groups that we will be working with is the Royal School for the Blind in Wavertree. The Artful Splodgers – the after school children’s art club that I c0-run with two other artists on Tuesday evenings in Chorlton – had a think about this with me at yesterday’s session. We considered the textures of a variety of materials we had available and thought about how we could use them to make very tactile collage images of two common British butterflies.

Common Blue

The Artful Splodgers have asked me to take their two works of art to the Royal School for the Blind when I go to visit there next week. They are hopeful that the children at the blind school will be able to appreciate the butterfly images and are looking forward to hearing what they think about them.

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.



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!!

Its in! New Mosaic Now Installed at Dearne Valley Park

Glorious sunshine, cool fresh breeze – we couldn’t have wished for more conducive weather as we set about installing the fabulous new mosaic at Dearne Valley Park on Monday.

The mosaic has been a massive achievement for the young people who put their time and effort into producing drawings and creating the panels prior to installation. A number of them came down to site on Monday afternoon to see their mosaic masterpiece in its permanent new position at a key entrance to the nature park.



The young people put together their drawings, depicting life at Dearne Valley Park and they were sent to me at the studio, together with dimensions and a basic idea of format for the overall design. From this, I created a bespoke community mosaic kit, together with the design and full scale templates.

I was invited to take part in a full day of workshops at the Ozone centre at Barnsley Football Ground where we had a very jolly and highly productive day making up the panels. See earlier post for details




Kitting out the Dearne Valley Community to make their own MOSAIC

I’ve put together lots of kits for people to make mosaics and I’ve worked on projects with many community groups to create mosaic features for parks and recreational spaces. Here’s a new one, though. I’ve been commissioned for the first time to produce a kit for a community to make their own mosaic for the local park.

Young people in Barnsley have been busy producing lovely drawings of everything that makes Dearne Valley Park special, supported by local youth leaders. They have researched the wildlife and woodlands, the activities enjoyed there by the public and the history of the site to pull together a collection of images for the mosaic.

All the drawings were brought across to the studio, together with a simple plan for the overall format that the officers from Barnsley Council provided. The mosaic feature will replace a previous mosaic that fell into such poor repair that it could not be salvaged.

The new design is for a large rectangular feature, divided into sections that illustrate the themes mentioned above.



The selected colours  correspond to the pallette available in the frost resistant tile range that I use for outdoor mosaic, matched as closely as possible to the artwork supplied to me for inclusion in the design. The overall size of the mosaic will be 6 feet square, that’s just under two metres by two metres. The kit has been made up in sections so that it is very flexible for different groups to work separately or together or at different times.  It includes full size templates, all the tile pieces, full instructions and brown paper and paste to hold the mosaic together in sections prior to installation at the park. It will be cast in situ. It is now all boxed up ready and will go to Barnsley on 12th March.

We’ve won a Prize!! We came 3rd in the Mega Mosaic Makers 2010

and here’s what the judges had to say about our entry(See earlier post for more detail):

The third prize; ‘Green Day’. was made at Chorlton C of E Primary School, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester with artist Tracey Cartledge. ‘Another lovely triptych with a bold simple design, this mosaic has great vibrancy and beautiful colour variation. A wonderful use of the ‘crazy paving technique’ which still manages to hold the detail’.


Cracking Good Mosaic Projects this Spring


Bean & Brush Mosaic now complete and ready for installation!

In progress at the studio

Two new projects were given the go-ahead this week.

Bean & Brush has commissioned me to produce a mosaic feature for their new family art cafe opening soon in Sale, Cheshire, which promises to be a very exciting place for families to enjoy a range of creative activities together. I’m keen to get started on the piece. Here’s the basic design I’ll be working from:

Yesterday, a fabulous time was spent with the Y5 class of Grappenhall St. Wilfrid’s C. of E. Primary School creating artwork for nearby Euclid Park. The Mersey Forest Project is putting in place a programme of improvements to this popular recreational space that includes making the main entrance more welcoming.

The children visited the site and put lots of thought into their ideas and suggestions for cheering up the existing dull entrance gates. They have now provided us with all the artwork we need to produce a design proposal for decorative steelwork that will be added to the gates and a set of fabulous mosaics to brighten the pavement up too.

Work at the park is due to be completed by April.

Today’s Craft Fair and other news

There’s a craft and gift fair after school today at Chorlton C of E Primary School http://www.chorltonce.co.uk/ starting from 2pm. I’m taking some mosaic kits along and I know Cathy will be there with her gorgeous handmade scarves – I’ve already bought a number of them for Christmas gifts – they’re utterly ‘Adornable’ (officially, now.)

Green Day Mosaic

If you were wondering what was going on in the playground at the school yesterday, I’ll explain. We had a problem with one of the mosaic panels on the playground wall. To be honest, I’d worried about the centre panel from the minute the wood arrived. Even though all three panels were cut from the same sheet – it was 18mm external grade ply, if its of interest – just one of them had a very slight bow. I talked to Craig at the timber yard (Chesworths in Urmston) about it and we concluded that after 3 coats of yacht varnish was applied to the reverse, with the weight of the ceramic on the front and with four fixings into the wall, it should be fine….

However, in truth, the panel was clearly held in too much tension and after a couple of months and the impact of a football, the screws sheared and the panel came down! I was reassured, however, by the strength of the mosaic itself – good adhesive and good grouting there, because despite all this movement, practically nothing came away!

So yesterday we removed the other two panels and then re-installed the whole thing using much more serious expanding anchor bolts into the brick. I think we’ve secured it good and proper this time so I just need now to mosaic and re-grout over the gaps!

Horse & Jockey Craft Fair — Saturday 11th

The day started out quite sluggish and stayed quiet for the first couple of hours. I didn’t mind too much because I was enjoying the very good company of Mary, Alex and Fay who had tables immediately around me. It was also lovely to see Sarah, Chris and Cathy who all popped in to have a look and say hello during the day. However things livened up during the afternoon and my fellow crafters and I all made good sales. The variety of goods on offer was great – I came away with jewellery, a fabulous ‘Manchester Pin-Ups’ calendar with Manchester girls in vintage 50s style clothes, make-up and hairstyles and also a beautiful home made Christmas Cake – with cute penguins on the top.

Wonder what I might pick up at today’s craft fair……………………

Mega Mosaic Makers 2010 Entries

The children and staff at Chorlton C of E Primary School and I are  very proud that our ‘Green Day Mosaic’ has been included in the entries for Mega Mosaic Makers 2010. The school community worked together on this beautiful mosaic that they can now treasure forever. Many of last year’s Year Six pupils, who designed the mosaic, have been delighted to see it in the playground when they’ve returned to visit school this year.  Have a look at our entry and see some of the competition we’re up against at: http://megamosaicmakers.org.uk/2010-entries/


Busy children, teachers and parents at work on the mosaic

Community Garden Mosaic Make Over

The Oswald Road Gardening Group have put lots of time and energy into clearing, tidying, digging and planting to make a more pleasant green space for people to enjoy, both young and old, in some spare land on Oswald Road.

The site provides a useful resting point between the residential area around Oswald Road and the popular shops on Manchester Road, including The Unicorn Grocery. It is also just a stone’s throw from Oswald Road Primary School, where many of the children that have helped with the garden project attend.

Next Spring, I’ll be working with the Gardening Group and with Oswald Road School children to create a mosaic feature for the garden. I look forward to keeping you posted on progress……….

Church Leigh Sensory Garden Mosaic Installed

We started by collecting all the sections of the mosaic that were stored in the church meeting room – this is where you can see one of the William Morris stained glass windows, together with the more modern window dedicated to Sheila May Halden. I will have to find out who the artist was, as this window really caught the children’s attention and is referenced in the mosaic by the daffodil in the central area.

Central Stained Glass Window at All Saints Church by Edward Burne Jones

The installation was hard work but very satisfying. We assembled all the sections in a space close by to  check that everything was there and place the pieces in the correct positions. Everything was carefully referenced and the orientation decided.

Bod was on mixing duty and we were surprised by the volume of mortar required to fill the void that had been prepared for us by the landscape contractor, Harry. Altogether we used just under 150kg of mixed mortar to fill the 1800mm diameter circle to a depth of 25mm.

The weather was very kind to us and it was so pleasant to be working in a location with great views and no traffic. One or two passers-by stopped for a look and a chat and all seemed to like the design very much.

see also: http://www.thisisuttoxeter.co.uk/news/Pupils-patterns-help-renovate-church/article-2396213-detail/article.html