The Stretford Starlings on Chester Road

04 September 2015

Last year the lovely community group Gorgeous Gorse Hill – who aim to improve the appearance of the local area through art and gardening, asked me if I’d like to paint a large mural around the walls of an old block of toilets, on Chester Road in Stretford. My answer was a very excited ‘Yes!’

The brief was ‘Nature and Gorgeousness’ and after meeting with members of the group to hear their ideas, I came up with four initial design drafts, which included a trail of ants, the lifecycle of a butterfly, a flock of birds and a wild flower garden. These four ideas design sketches were shared with the local community and taken door to door on the roads nearest to the toilet block, making sure everyone living locally had a chance to give their feedback and to vote on their favourite idea. And the winner was… a tie between a flock of birds and a wild flower garden. So I worked up the designs and did a quick mock up of how they might look…

Wall-Mural_Mock-up-sketch

Before I was let loose on the toilet block I had a little practise paint session on a shed to try some techniques out…

Wall-Mural_Practice

I chose to paint Starlings after doing a little bit of research and discovering that they are one of the most common sighted garden birds in the Stretford area, they are also on the Red List – birds of high conservation concern due to their rapidly declining numbers. I also love their colouring and thought these colours would stand out nicely against the red bricks of the toilet block.

The bee features on the mural as not only are they amazing creatures and the symbol of Manchester of course, but because rather worringly their numbers are declining! See http://www.saveourbees.org.uk for why this is worrying and what you can do to help. The wild flowers I chose to paint are all flowers that can easily grow on roadsides they are also very attractive to bees!

Wall-Mural_Bee

If you’d like to see it in person, it is located on Chester Road, Stretford, Manchester, out side The Bishop Blaize pub near Old Trafford football Ground. I had loads of fun painting this mural, so many people came to chat to me, from Bishops blaize regulars to tourists on their way to Old Trafford and one lovely lady who was driving past stopped and got out of her car to come over and say thank you for brightening her day – it made me so happy!

I’d love to paint more murals so get in touch if you have a big wall that needs brightening.