Wesley Meets Art

Working with the staff and the customers at Wesley on this project has allowed us to not only get deeper below the surface of the building, its role and the people who use it – but also to see it in the context of time. Written over all aspects of the building – in its staff, in its routine, in its stock and all over its walls – the pattern of time and the layers of human stories are constantly being added to and the evidence is there for all to see. It just requires a step back and a little bit of looking…”

This project was a collaborative project between myself, Lee Garland and Wesley Community Furniture Project, Manchester.    The main idea was to document the activities, objects and people who work with the charity through photography, drawings and interviews – interpreting and developing this in a number of ways. I developed silhouettes and patterns which were applied to ceramic pieces bought from the charity. Lee is interested in architectural spaces and documented the building and location as well as the people. 

Staff at the charity produced pieces themselves, in conjunction with the artists producing a range of work in graffiti, drawings, decorated plates and photography.  Manchester Metropolitan University’s Special Collections acted as a catalyst for the project, I took inspiration from the William de Morgan pieces in the collections to create contemporary interpretations of these and other de Morgan pieces as well as develop further pattern and symbols using transfers and waterjet cutting. Lee looked at a range of photography and prints from the collection to provide a historical context for his portraiture and architectural photography of the charity.

The work in this exhibition was sold by an auction at the end of the show, with celebrity auctioneer … giving his time to the project, and the profits raised of £3000 going directly to the charity to help fund it’s great work.