Manchester Victoria Station and Northern Rail




All visitors welcome to join us both during the day on the 6th October for the opening of our solo show 'position open' at Manchester Victoria station. 








Northern Rail and ATIC...........the story of a journey




March 2015


We've been asked to respond to the station, its history, its transition from old to new and its community.



It's a lovely brief.



Already the station is well into its transformation. The roof is up, ronovations of the historic parts are well underway and hints at the new space are visible. 


We need a reconnaissance mission, a gathering of information both visual and sensory.



Photographs                                Feelings                              Observations







There's a tension here. The solidity of the architecture v's the transience of the function. The comings and goings of the vehicles and the passengers. A rhythm anchored by the monumental and robust itself, currently in a state of flux.








Our next task is to identify a research strategy. A format for the exploration of this fascinating place and our response. 



April 2015



Following our latest meeting with Northern Rail we had a chance to veiw the station in its 'nearly completed' state.  We've been offered one of the retail outlets for an exhibition during the reopening in June/July but we plan to expand the project beyond this time critical confine.


Current research strands:


Consumer engagement - drawing the station users into the art process.


The military connection - Soldiers gate and the memorial


History and tradition


June 2015 - Update


Research both visual and theoretical taking place



Full roll of 35mm film taken for reference and use in finished pieces. Plenty of drawing and making going on. This is the time when ideas are made, tried and edited. An ongoing process which sees acceptance, collaboration, ammendments and rejection. A cyclical proceedure which is finding its way to a conclusion where the final pieces will start to be produced.






Victoria Bookstall from National Rail Archives






Contact sheet, 35mm film





Work in Progress





















Update June 2015 - the re-think



We've been advised by Northern Rail that an early exhibition in June or July might be possible in conjunction with the opening of the new station. Baring this in mind we need to start producing very soon.


After making the mixed vessels some decisions have been made.



  • The multiple has aesthetic qualities which suit both our client brief and our own aesthetic.
  • Using recogniseable motifs and shapes makes the work universally accessible.
  • Making multiples lends itself to the production method of slip casting



We've also been think/talking about and drawing paper cups. They seem to have a universal language emerging -  The travellors companion - the take-away coffee is as common as an umberella or a newspaper. Could this be our object? The cup makes the same journey as the passenger, often only lasting part of the journey and remaining on the train. They're disposable - throw away. By making them permanent can we place value onto the object?


We drank coffee from paper cups and then left with cups of all sizes and the blessings of the very friendly staff.



In the meantime we've been working on photographic imagery. We want more than a visual reference or a documentary record.


  • Photography as an art form.
  • Using the artists gaze to 'notice'
  • Capturing moments and preserving memories - making permanent the transient.



June 2015



Update on the travel cups.....they're just gorgeous. The casting process has been a challenge but we've finally made a breakthrough using a polishing technique and a matt transparent glaze. 




                Raw clay slipcast travel cups made in two                parts and joined before firing.    















                                   The crumpled cup after first                                       firing 














The next process is to embed some further meaning into the pieces 








September 2015 - Update



Date of the reopening of Manchester Victoria station confirmed as Tuesday 6th October 2015. We've seen the space for the exhibition. It's one of the retail units which is currently unoccupied. It's lovely! White walls and old station tiles with a glorious iron coloured glaze. Just enought of a hint at the history of the place.   


Artwork is practically finished. Full details of the pieces is being kept under wraps until the grand opening but a little sneaky peek is available here.





Esspresso Cups 2015

Ceramic with station images



Later in September 2015


Thanks to the Leica store in Manchester who very kindly lent us one of their glorious cameras for a photoshoot at the station.  This shoot has provided imagery for the publicity material. It's coming together as a show now. The statement sums up our feelings about the whole process and the two lovely coffee shops at the station have agreed to support us with the opening celebrations. Thanks Java and Starbucks!