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Factory manufactures new public artwork for Gloucester

During COVID-19 lockdown, the team at KWMC The Factory worked with artist Luke Jerram to manufacture the pieces of a new public artwork that is currently on display across Gloucester.

‘Of Earth and Sky’ is a large-scale poetry installation: excerpts from poems have been painted and installed in 31 parks and public places across the city for people to discover. Poems were submitted by Gloucestershire residents following a call-out to the public and a series of workshops, and the poems on display were selected by local poet JPDL and Luke Jerram.

The Of Earth and Sky project website explains: “the poetry and text respond to the city, the climate emergency and the impact that COVID-19 has had on us all as individuals and on our view of the planet. We hope the words are hopeful, embedding a sense of pride and ownership of the area. After an unprecedented period of lockdown and social distancing, it feels more important now than ever to have creativity in our lives.”

Using our CNC (computer numerical controlled) machine, Factory technicians cut nearly 300 pieces for the installation.

This included 56 1m stencils and 158 50cm stencils in birch plywood – a full alphabet of upper case and lower-case letters and punctuation marks – and 74 letters (and one comma!) from 18mm Marine Ply. These large 1.2m letters were then sanded and painted white.

The stencils have been used to paint temporary poetry onto grass while the large letters have been arranged to form five freestanding phrases.


The Factory team were assisted by Factory member Emily Trott, a graduate of last year’s Making It course and an experienced set builder.

Factory Technician Chris Ingram commented, “it’s been great to work with Luke Jerram and his team. These letters and stencils were the first large fabrication project we undertook at The Factory after technicians were able to return to the workshops following COVID-19 lockdown. We’re glad we’ve been able to put our new CNC router to work in a project that encourages people to explore our city spaces and the natural world, and celebrates the creativity of people in the region.”

Of Earth and Sky is on display across Gloucester from 24 August – 1 November 2020. For more information visit the Of Earth and Sky website.

For more information about CNC cutting or commissioning The Factory please e-mail or call on 0117 403 2306.

Images: Of Earth and Sky

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