Cobalt Chronicles at Spode Works: Weaving History with Modern Art

· 4 min read
Cobalt Chronicles at Spode Works: Weaving History with Modern Art
Cobalt Chronicles by Jasmine Simpson at Spode Works, Stoke

Stoke-on-Trent, known for its rich industrial heritage and vibrant artistic scene, is now home to an exciting new art installation at the iconic Spode factory. The installation, entitled "Cobalt Chronicles" is by local artist Jasmine Simpson and has been unveiled as part of the Stoke Town High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) initiative to revitalise the area.

Watch my video on the installation on YouTube

Local artist Jasmine Simpson, born in Boston, Lincolnshire, and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, has masterfully crafted this public artwork. Simpson, a celebrated artist with degrees from Staffordshire University and the Royal College of Art, London, has her roots deeply embedded in ceramic art. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, gaining her a notable reputation in the art world.

"Cobalt Chronicles" draws inspiration from Spode's classic blue and white Italian patterns. The installation features a stunning array of hand-painted porcelain tiles and graffiti-style murals, vividly narrating the tales of Stoke Town. It stands proudly in the Spode courtyard, beckoning visitors to explore the intertwined stories of the community and its pottery legacy.

Simpson's work goes beyond mere aesthetic appeal, serving as a poignant reminder of the strong community bonds formed in the local pottery industry. Her art is a heartfelt homage to the memories shared by residents, many of whom have spent their lives working in Stoke's famous potteries. "This project is a testament to Stoke's spirit and resilience, and I am thankful for the collaboration with organizations like B Arts, Johnson Tiles, and the local community that made this possible," Simpson shares on her social media.

The "Cobalt Chronicles" installation is not just a visual treat but a strategic move to boost local tourism and business. Located at the gateway to the revitalized Spode site, which now houses creative businesses, the Potbank Hotel, and The Quarter, the artwork is set to attract more visitors and artists to the area.

The project is part of a broader £2 million investment under the HSHAZ scheme, focusing on enhancing the visual and structural aspects of Stoke Town. The installation features a triangular central plinth and tile murals at various points including gate posts and the ground, integrating iconic symbols and future-facing designs that celebrate Stoke’s historical and ongoing contributions to the arts.

This temporary installation, expected to grace the entrance of Spode for the next five years, has potential plans for parts of it to eventually be relocated to the nearby Spode Museum, ensuring its preservation and continued appreciation.

Jasmine Simpson's dedication to exploring the human condition through the lens of nature and her deep connection to Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery heritage make "Cobalt Chronicles" a compelling narrative of art, history, and community. It stands as a symbol of the city's ongoing cultural evolution and its commitment to celebrating its past while looking firmly towards the future.

Visitors are encouraged to experience this captivating installation, which not only adds to the city's artistic landscape but also reinforces Stoke-on-Trent's status as a hub of creative and cultural innovation.

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