Meres and Mosses Logo Seating

Benchart Project for Shropshire Wildlife Trust

The brief initially was to run some tile and brick making workshops on behalf of the Wildlife Trust to reflect the past industries of the area of the Meres and Mosses, in North Shropshire. Through more detailed discussions Benchart agreed to create some seating built from brick and tiles, incorporating tiles made by the community in workshops delivered by Ruth and Huw of Benchart. The sculptural brick seating was to be sited in Whitchurch Jubilee Park.

Our brief was therefore to engage with the local community through schools and adult groups in tile making workshops, which will be incorporated in the bench.

We agreed to deliver clay tile workshops at Ellesmere's Merefest and Whitchurch Blackberry Fair in 2016, as well as deliver tile workshops in Sir John Talbots Secondary School.

The design of the bench was based on the logo of the Meres and Mosses Project; a large 'M'. 


The m will be built from engineering blue bricks on a concrete slab. The dimensions are:- Concrete slab 2900mm x 2100mm x 100 set 20mm below ground level to allow for 20mm of tiles. M dimensions 2600mm x 1800mm x 435mm high from the concrete base. The M will be built from 5 courses of engineering blue brick with a 50mm blue brick carved coping tile. The width of the top tile is 300mm with no projection over the bricks. The 300mm section gives adequate legroom between the seating sections of the m and will allow enough room for carving and inlays on the top. The height is a fairly standard seat height and is made up of whole multiples of brick courses. The tiles will be made from buff stoneware clay and fired to 1220C to be durable and frostproof. There is an area of approx 5.2m2 to be tiled. There will be 3 tile making workshops, 1 with a Whitchurch school, and 2 with family groups in the Meres and Mosses area.

The public tile workshops were a huge success. The weather at Merefest encouraged the crowds to turn up and Ruth, Huw and Mike were busy all day assisting the tile making and over 50 were made that day. Blsckberry Fair was a different experience, working in heavy rain and quite cold. But after Ruth and Huw moved under an archway in the centre of Whitchurch, they were more protected from the weather, and a steady of flow of people made tiles for the project. We had a fabulous day in Sir John Talbots School, The students worked really hard and made some stunning tiles. Unfortunately some of these tiles were destroyed during a firng as they weren't completely dry. Ruth and Mike returned to run another workshop and gave the students an opportunity to remake their tiles.