• The Wire Works

The Wire Works – Strands of connection – 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 activity, and send your image to 


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.


You will need:
– Some paper
– Grey or black pen, pencil or felt pen.
– Some small circle shapes (bottle tops, small glasses, tape)

Taking inspiration from these cross-cut images, we are going to create a map out your own connections, to represent your ‘social circle’. Think about the people who are close to you (friends, family), and all of the other people who make you who you are… friends, neighbours, colleagues, people you cross in the street…


1/ This is what you will need.

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2/ Draw a circle to represent yourself in the middle.

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3/ Add circles around you to represent people who are close to you. It could just be one, two, or three people. Then add smaller circles for other people in your life. Try and keep it as symmetrical as possible.

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4/ Fill in with people’s names. You might want to add circles first, then think of people. It will help you to think about all those people in your life who you may have lost contact with, people who you used to see, people who you’d like to meet… And remind you of the small connections that make us feel good, like a neighbour saying hello.

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5/ Finally, you can go over your drawing, colour in between the circle to connect them.
Imagine what your wire would look like from the side, have a go at drawing this too if you like. Are you all twisted together, are the strands separated or coming back together…

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Images from pattern book courtesy of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery (Culture Warrington)

Thanks for sending your contributions!

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