As part of the Ironbridge Heritage Festival, a local creative business has joined forces with a renowned collage artist to tell the stories of local residents and create a valuable resource for future visitors to the area.
Established 3 years ago, The Bolthole is an artisan gallery, café and events space in the heart of Ironbridge frequented by residents and visitors. The relaxed nature of the establishment encourages visitors to share their stories and experiences including tales from residents about what it’s like to live there or memories from visitors re-living childhood experiences or investigating family connections. Many of these stories are colourful, surprising or fascinating, but all provide a rich insight into life today in the Birthplace of Industry.
Debra Harris, owner of The Bolthole who was keen to capture these stories said: “Being at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge community is a real privilege, as we hear so many fabulous stories from regular customers and visitors with historical connections to the area.
“Some of these are quite surprising, or a little bit cheeky, but all give a rare insight into the people who make the Gorge such a special place. We wanted to somehow capture these stories for posterity, so as part of the Ironbridge Heritage Festival, we’ve joined forces with Caris Jackson, our artist in residence, to run a series of free drop-in collage workshops which we’re inviting people with a connection to the Ironbridge Gorge to take part in.”
Mixed media collage artist Caris explained “We would love for anyone living, working or visiting the area to contribute by bringing photographs, images or other materials which tell personal stories of past achievements, jobs or experiences. We will add to these and collage them to create a piece of artwork capturing the lesser-known, unexpected or ‘secret’ aspects of the lives of the people living in the Gorge today. This will be displayed as a permanent feature in the Bolthole but also be used to create artwork, literature or other displays throughout Ironbridge.”
Debra added, “So, if you have a fascinating secret to share or incredible tale to tell; perhaps you’ve been a dancer or explorer in a former life, had tea with a celebrity or done something most people can only dream of, please pop along and help us build something which shows future generations what life was like in the Ironbridge Gorge in 2023.”
The Telling Tales workshops are free to participants and will be held between 11am and 2pm on Sunday 10th and from 10am to 1pm on Saturday 16th September.