‘Diamonds in the Rough’
A Public Art commission funded by The Bromford Group. Four one metre by one metre panels celebrating the history and people of Rough Hills Tavern and the wealth of its industrial heritage. The panels form a timeline, through from the days of collieries and coal mining, the area’s original main industry, to industries such as car manufacturing, steelwork and japanning. The network of canals depicted throughout the panels represent the huge importance they had to industrial history and still today, for leisure and lifestyle. At the turn of the 19th century Rough Hills Tavern was home to the Victoria Grounds, a famous site mentioned in a far-flung American magazine at the time. Rough Hills Tavern played a huge role within sporting and community activities, the tavern itself providing food, ale and bets for spectators of walking (pedestrianism) running and cycling races. Sunbeam was one of the most important employers in the area, manufacturing vehicles of all kinds, from cars to bicycles. Steel manufacturing provided employment at Springvale Steelworks (Bilston) while the Star Japanning company provided employment within the enameling and japanning industry. Within the panels inspiration has been drawn from the work of photographer Nick Hedges, who photographed life at Bilston Steelworks in the seventies just before it closed. ‘ Big Bessie’ the last steel blast furnace to be demolished is represented, alongside a Sunbeam logo from the 1930’s. The birds and butterflies are reminiscent of the beautiful japanning produced in the area, vehicles represented are taken from a Goodyear tyre advert, there is a backdrop of factory buildings The red sky depicts a renown quote that is quintessentially Black Country – ‘Black by day red by night’.
Many thanks to all for the support in the research process :- Graham Fisher OBE, Wolverhampton Archives, Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery, Black Country Echoes , Bantock House, Bilston Art Gallery.
“Claire understood the project brief and was very engaging with the Project Team from the outset, she produced thoroughly researched designs that were entirely relevant to not only the surrounding area, but the actual scheme where the artwork was to be placed. Bromford were also equally delighted with how the mosaics turned out on site and they are a bright and thoughtful addition to the housing scheme. We look forward to working with Claire on future projects”.
Nathan Deen & Joe Noakes
Bromford Group Management
‘Aga Cockerels’ – Tewksbury
A private commission to design a mosaic as a splashback for an Aga range at the Old Rectory, Bredon, Tewksbury. A traditional theme of a cockerel and hens was chosen, reflecting the clients love of those they keep themselves.
“We had talked with Claire at length about the design we wanted for the back drop of our Aga. Claire was very attentive to and empathetic with our ideas. After a short time she came back with a stunning design which was exactly what I had in mind. When the mosaic was installed and we saw the finished work of art we were stunned and overwhelmed at the sheer beauty of her talent. Everyone who has seen our Claire Cotterill original has been in awe of just how magnificent the mosaic is. I could not recommend Claire highly enough. Lovely person with incredible talent”.
Dorothy and Richard Denny
‘Bird with Bowl and Cat’ – Birmingham Botanical Gardens
This project was commissioned to create a replica mosaic of one of the few wall mosaics created in Pompeii. It is a central feature in their replica Roman garden. Materials used were a combination of venetian smalti and vitreous glass tiles. It was created using a combination of indirect and double reverse methods of mosaic creation.
“Birmingham Botanical Gardens are delighted with the work carried out by Claire Cotterill, which brings great pleasure to all our visitors and is an invaluable teaching aid for the many school groups who come here to learn throughout the year”.
Chief Executive, Birmingham Botanical Gardens