Have you seen this gem in Ebley?
A stone’s throw from Ebley Mill, beside the entrance to Kitsch Café is a beautiful tribute to Stroud’s heritage. Commissioned by Stroudwater Redevelopment Partnership and created by Tracy Spiers, it celebrates the area within a mile radius of Ebley. Tracy created the illustration digitally in painstaking detail at high resolution which nearly defeated her computer. At 9 feet by 7 feet the artwork took 200 hours to complete.
Its joyful brightly-coloured sections are structured like the warp and weft of woven cloth. They interweave the past and present, from our industrial history to our present social and recreational activities. Bright yellow represents tennis ball cloth and Brimscombe Yellow cloth; red nods to Stroudwater Scarlet which was used for military uniforms; green is the colour of the hills and billiard table cloth; and blue represents Uley Blue cloth and the water which drove the mill wheels. There were 170 working mills in the Stroud district, a ‘string of pearls’ along the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames and Severn Canals. These days only WSP textiles still produce cloth from the two remaining working mills, Cam Mills and Lodgemore Mills (top left).
Next time you’re in Ebley, stop to look closely at the mural. See if you can find:
- Ebley Mill and Ebley Court
- Selsley Church, built with the profits of the wool merchants
- Cloth stretched out on tenter hooks on the hillside
- A horse-pulled trow carrying coal to the mills
- Canoeing at Hilly Orchard Bridge
- Dudbridge Crane, now Grade II listed
- The wildlife which has returned to the canal since its restoration
- The railway which used to run from Nailsworth to Stroud
- Ryeford double lock in the foreground
- A self portrait of Tracy enjoying one of her epic long-distance runs.
- The Droste effect – a lovely detail whereby the mural contains a picture of itself, which also contains a picture of itself.
Tracy Spiers is a local illustrator and writer.
You can see more of her work at www.tracyspiers.com