• Wire Works

Wire Works – Strands of connections – Drawing activity

Wireworks is a National Lottery Heritage Fund project that celebrates the Wire Industry of Warrington. Artist Laurence Payot is creating a series of activities and workshops which will contribute to a final art piece,  presented during Heritage week (11 -20 September 2020).

Contribute to the collective artwork by taking part in this short arts and craft/poetry activity, and send your image to laurencepayot@yahoo.co.uk. It will be displayed on this blog and become part of a growing exhibition.

This activity is currently being created – come back on Monday 8th April



Metaphors of twisted wires and how we connect with each other…

Heritage fact:

Rylands, one of the largest Warrington wire works, made 10 tons of 22 gauge wire a week for the Transatlantic Telegraph in 1856 and then a further 150 tons the following year to replace the portion that was lost in the attempt to lay the cable. Up to today, wires are still at the heart of the communication systems we rely on, creating the infrastructure needed to maintain worldwide web. The corona virus self-isolation strategy was announced by the UK government on Tuesday 23rd March, stopping any gatherings of more than 2 people. So, how is this web of wires helping you stay connected?

Above are cross cut images of different types of twisted wire that used to be manufactured in Warrington wire works. The collective strength of each wire strand makes the whole much stronger than a single large rod. Their applications ranged from physical load purposes (suspension bridges), to electromagnetic purposes (twisted pair). But their beautiful pattern could also become a metaphor for how we connect with one another, and how we find strength in numbers and collective actions.


Taking inspiration from these cross-cut images to map out your own connections.

> You will need 1 or 2 pieces of paper and something to draw with (see examples below)
> Do a list to reflect on all the people that are important to you. Start with family and/or close friends. Expand to other relationships such as friends/ colleagues/neighbours, etc.
> Draw a circle to represent yourself. Then place your immediate connections around you in a symmetrical pattern. Keep growing your pattern if you wish, add more people and connections.
> You can keep your drawing as a cross-cut section, or you could add a side view revealing the twisted wires. Do you feel tight connections, are the wires separating, merging into one…?

Alongside this drawing activity, you may wish to write a poem, go to the Creative Writing activity page.

Images Courtesy of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery (Culture Warrington)

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