Materials from Ruthin company Jones Bros’ construction sites are being used by crafty Denbighshire school pupils as part of a creative new arts project.
The geogrid material, which is usually used by Jones Bros to separate and protect surfaces on projects across the UK, has been donated to the Ruthin Craft Centre for use in a schools project based on traditional weaving techniques.
Pupils from Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ysgol Pentrecelyn, Ysgol Penbarras and Ysgol Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd have visited the craft centre to transform the donated materials into works of art, using recycled wires, plastic, raffia and cable ties to create colourful 3D models.
The students’ work will form part of the craft centre’s summer season exhibition, which focuses on the theme of materials. A learning pack is also being produced to allow other schools in the area to take part in the project.
Manchester-based artist Bella May Leonard, who is leading the classes, said the finished structures are inspired by her own practice that develops embroidery stitches into 3D sculptures with unusal materials.
Bella said: “While studying for a BA at Manchester School of Art, I specialised in embroidery, and used to find the cheapest materials I could to make art with, doing things like going to pound shops to cut up washing lines.
“With the students, we’ve been weaving recycled wires and coloured plastics into the geogrid donated by Jones Bros to make bright patterns and structures, which will go on display at the Ruthin Craft Centre over the summer as part of its materials exhibition.
“It’s really great to have had support from Jones Bros for the project, and the geogrid they’ve supplied have been a perfect material for teaching and creating the artwork.”
The donation of materials was arranged through Arts & Business Cymru, which develops mutually beneficial relationship between arts projects and Welsh businesses.
Sioned Phillips, education officer at the Ruthin Craft Centre, said: “The project explores what materials are and how we use them, and also allows the children to think about how both we and Jones Bros rely on materials for our respective work.
“We’re now working on a resource pack that can be downloaded from the craft centre website, which will have activities based on the materials theme that schools can carry out in class, using the geogrid that Jones Bros have donated.”
Lynne Williams, marketing manager for Jones Bros, said: “We were more than happy to get involved with the schools and Ruthin Craft Centre to support the arts project.
“It’s great to see materials that are leftover from site used so creatively, and the students have done a fantastic job of transforming the geogrid into bright, colourful works of art.
“Sustainability and environmental responsibility are at the forefront of all of our projects, and it’s great to see the materials recycled in such a creative way.”
Gwenno Angharad, north Wales manager of Arts & Business Cymru, said she was pleased to see the two organisations working together through its CultureStep scheme, which encourages businesses to engage with the arts.
Gwenno said: “We are delighted to support this creative partnership.
“We were particularly pleased that our CultureStep investment has directly benefited local children by funding a new learning pack, as well as enabling artistic opportunities for Jones Bros’ staff.
“The partnership shows genuine commitment to environmental issues and illustrates just how effective the arts can be in addressing this area.”
Founded in the 1950s, Jones Bros employs approximately 300 people. It operates across the UK in sectors including construction of waste management facilities, highways and renewable energy projects such as wind farms.