In the paper!

 

I can’t use the actual painting in this blog because I don’t have the memory on my plan. But imagine this is a mural of the Burslem Chartists riot of 1842 that I painted in the Leopard Hotel, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in about 2007.

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The mural includes the hotel, the original town hall in Burslem and Josiah Wedgewood House.

The painting included police and members of the Staffordshire troop taking on rioters in Burslem. The rioters were Chartists and were fighting for the rughr to vote. One of them was killed, his name was Josiah Heapy and he now has a memorial in Swan Square, Burslem.

My mural included local people from 2007 depicted as rioters. These include local historians Fred Hughes and Mervyn Edwards and the then owners of the pub, Neil Crisp and Neil Cox. Other members of the hotel staff are included. I really wish I could show it you. If I sort things out I will post photos.

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International Women’s Day 2018

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I just found this sketch of International Women’s Day from about a year ago. I had a stall with art for sale at Burslem school of Art. I think this was the first time I ever drew the main gallery and I also tried to draw the banner that was on display there.

The school of art is very crooked. Burslem is old and suffers from subsidence or is undermined by coal mines. The whole of the city is built on clay and coal and the coal field under the city has caused a lot of damage over the years. Parts of the city also have geologic faults running underneath them so it’s not surprising that the buildings are affected.

There is also a volcanic plug  where I live, the very base of an ancient volcano that was worn away by erosion over thousands or millions of years. The hill that is left dominates the valley of the river Trent, but the ground rises in other places too. There are coal tips (slag heaps) where the spoil from the collieries was dumped as the coal was hewn from the ground.

The wonder of Pottery and artistic design was the result of the geology in Staffordshire.

Bicycle on the wall

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I remember this cafe in Burslem. Its called the market place cafe. We sometimes visit it when we are in the town. They do nice food. What I really liked was this bike displayed on the wall. Painted gold, it was high up and shining in the sunlight.  I took the photo in 2016. Another taken on my old phone.

It seems bikes can be used as art works. We have just got  a multi coloured bike from the Art Stop in Stoke  It’s going to be restored to a working bike but I want to keep the colours it’s been painted (mostly pink and blue) so I will varnish the frame.

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Photowalking

 

In 2015 I went on a photo walk organised by a friend round a local town called Burslem. The town is quite run down in places, but thats what made it interesting. Neglect sharpens architecture. Photos taken on an old vodaphone.

Green wood

Red sign,

Green door ,

Blue door,

Bricks by glass,

Breeze blocks behind window,

Rust and wood,

Blackberries colonise

With ease.

Document these,

Please.

The murdered woman….

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In 2007 I did a series of murals in The Leopard Hotel, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.

One image was based on a story of a woman in the 18th or 19th century who had been murdered in the back rooms of the hotel. Stabbed to death, in one of the small “snug” rooms which the back room was divided into.

In the painting the woman is slumped in an old high backed arm chair, her glass of red wine lying on its side on the floor. At first she just looks like she is asleep, but the pool of wine is slowly mingling with another red liquid. The woman sits in front of a raging fire. But her skin is pale. Almost white. She wears a mob cap and a low cut blue dress. Is she a maid in the hotel, a pottery worker, or a lady of the night plying her trade?

No one I spoke to knew her name or why she had been murdered. It could have been a crime of passion or a theft of money. If anyone had heard anything surely the criminal would have been caught?

Does her ghost walk the back room of the hotel,  looking for her killer or his children down through time. Is it her footsteps that are heard when the room is quiet and empty?

I don’t even know if the story is true, but I made her a simple maid, cut down on a dark cold night, abandoned with no care about how it would affect her family, her parents, her siblings.

Murder looks so simple, a moment of rage, without thought to the victim or their family.

I hope it did not happen….that it is just a story and the chill that runs down my spine is just the central heating playing up.

Phantasms

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Phantasmagoria….

I looked up the definition, it says it is a “shifting medley of real or imagined figures, as in a dream”….. noun.

I had not really thought about the word Phantasm until I saw it on a programme earlier today. It makes me think of ghostly figures and ectoplasm.

I don’t know if I believe in them, but there are people that do. A local pub which used to be a hotel is supposed to be one of the most haunted pubs in the country. The Leopard in Burslem, Stoke on Trent, is know for its spooky atmosphere. Several TV shows have been filmed there to explore the ghostly emanations. There is a story that there are phantoms in the cellar, and ghost hunts regularly take place there.

I can imagine figures walking through the public bar, or in the back room. Floating above the ground, disappearing behind curtains or into walls. Spirits caught between the past and the present. The stairs that lead downstairs feel particularly eerie. There us a geological fault in Burslem and the building has a strong lean to one side. If  you drop a ball on the floor it will roll to the other side of the room. The Leopard has a long history and is very interesting to visit.

I have not seen anything myself, but some of the staff and customers say they have. Whether there is such a thing a Phantasms is not something I can prove or disprove. I think I will keep an open mind.