A Manchester-based artist has reimagined a 200-year-old farm cart to draw attention to issues around sustainability in the art world.

Jenny Steele has been working with a group of older women in Gorton to transform the two-centuries-old wooden cart into a symbol for sustainability.

Using locally sourced natural and recycled materials, the group has been constructing a large and intricate woven structure on top of the Georgian-era wagon. The Gorton Rush Cart will be on display at Rogue Artists’ Studios in Openshaw on Saturdays in June.

At two metres high and two metres long, the decommissioned cart was bought at a farm sale in Rochdale by Jenny, who set out to reinvigorate the historic farm vehicle.

Working with eight former members of Gorton Visual Arts, Jenny has weaved together thousands of strands of grasses, willow and dogwood to create a canopy-style structure on top of the vintage cart. The materials were handpicked from sites across the Fallowfield Loop off-road cycle path and inner city green space Debdale Park.

Woven amongst the local flora are sustainably sourced textiles, found by the artist in charity shops, textile recycling ventures and landfill.

As well as raising issues around sustainability, the project has also been designed as a way of teaching new skills, with Jenny sharing her experience of two traditional crafts, weaving and passementerie.

Jenny said: “With textiles being the third largest form of landfill, it has become increasingly important for me to use materials that are sustainable as possible.

“Working as an artist, there is a large amount of waste and damaging carbon footprint when using fabrics, dyes, yarns and trimmings. Most materials required for fabricating artworks are purchased brand new from suppliers, creating further negative impact via packaging and transportation.

“For this project, I have been using locally sourced plants that we have collected ourselves. The textiles that are being added into the weaving are mostly recycled, discarded or diverted from landfill.”

Rogue Artists' Studios,
4 Barrass St, Openshaw, Manchester M11 1WP
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Sat 25 May 2024