Updated: Aug 27, 2018
I have just finished installing ten plaques on Alma Street in Kelham Island, Sheffield. These ceramic plaques were commissioned by Kelham Island Community Alliance (KICA) and were also supported by the Kelham Island Industrial Museum.
The plaques represent fantastical adventures in to the history of Kelham Island, Neepsend and the wider heritage of Sheffield. I am fascinated by Sheffield's circus and fairground history and the fact that Kelham Island Industrial Museum houses the National Fairground Archive Resource Room led me to me explore this history further.
The director of the museum, Helen Featherstone was very supportive of the project and put me in touch with Rebecca Walton, Learning Coordinator. Rebecca took me through the museums collection and referred me to relevant documents which lead me to focus on trademarks used in the steel industry to weave in to the area's history.
The plaques cover the Sheffield floods, menageries ,fairgrounds, circuses, Neepsend railway, the fig trees growing along the river banks (borne from fig seeds in effluent, which germinated due to the water being warmed by factories along the river) and the derelict ski village and its numerous fires. There are also plaques which reflect the thriving nature along the rivers and include the new community bee hives and sand martin habitat set up by KICA.
The plaques also reflect themes I explore in my paintings such as romantic symbols of islands, deluges and ruins.