Bilston Art Project
Alongside other artists, our director Iris Bertz and artist Sharonjit Sutton collaborated on four pieces for the Bilston Art Project in 2021.
The brief was for Alumni of the University of Wolverhampton, School of Art to create a piece of work related to Bilston that could then be displayed in the town.
We became interested in the Bilston Enamels, which were once world famous and popular trinkets. We looked at the collection at Wolverhampton Museum & Art Gallery, and were fascinated by the breadth of work and in particular by the test pieces, which were discareded. Over lockdown Bertz had started to create knitted cats, as an escape from constant news bulletins. Both artists love cats, so they decided to combine the two elements to make something totally bizzarre and also light hearted, whilst still celebrating the incredible history of the Bilston Enamels. The artists wanted to honour craft, which is often looked upon as a lesser artform and dismissed as women's work.
The captions are inspired by messages that etched into or painted onto these enamels, so the gift of the enamel conveys the message the giver wanted to get across.