Mixed Media Monday Group
89 – 93. The Modern Reading Mural – canvas 1-4, Painted paper collage, 100 x 100cm each canvas, NFS (offers considered)
A group of local artists, crafts folk and makers joined forces with Hobbycraft to recognise Reading's heritage by creating a modern-day mural of the town in 2019.
The work comprises 4 canvases, each 1 metre square. The initial research and design was undertaken by Therese Lawlor (RGA member) and then all members of the group contributed to the work. Each building was constructed by hand-painting plain white paper, cutting out the shapes and collaging the pieces in place. Extra detail and lettering was added with paint pens.
The mural features many of Reading's iconic buildings and treasures that local people love, but rearranged into a quirky panorama. It includes images of the Thames and the Kennet, local churches and cinemas, places where people eat, work and relax across Reading.
The mural has been on display on the first floor balcony of the Hobbycraft store on Kenavon Drive since it was created, but has also been out 'on tour' to a couple of local exhibitions. The Mural has been temporarily moved into storage to make space for Christmas stock and decorations in Hobbycraft, so sadly it will not be available to view until Christmas, when it will be put back out on display (updated 14 Oct 2020).
The project was the brainchild of Pam Buckett, store assistant at Hobbycraft, who saw the potential of using the talents of the group to bring a local feel to the Reading Store. Ela Hedges (store manager) and Janina Maher (group organiser and RGA member) set about making it happen.
Janina said: "There is so much to inspire artists and makers, using all media, to create a modern-day Reading mural. We have all been influenced by the Bayeux Tapestry in our museum and this project gave us a great opportunity to show what Reading means to us. We were forced to put our talents to the test and create something unique that identifies and brands the store as the Reading one! Many thanks to Hobbycraft for supplying all the materials we needed." Ela Hedges, store manager, said: "I am delighted that the group has risen to the challenge and produced a unique artwork for us".
The group have been meeting regularly in Hobbycraft in Reading for over 5 years. They are called the Mixed Media Monday Group, reflecting the range of talents and interests amongst the members. During lockdown the group has continued to meet online every week. The Mixed Media Monday Group includes RGA members Karen Spencer, Mohan Banerji, Jill Swale, Nina O'Connell, Therese Lawlor and Janina Maher, and non RGA members Alison Rumble, Caroline Marriott, Ewa Exley, Gloria Pitt, Jane Greiner, Kate Povey, Linda Ward, Ruth Hilbourne. All contributed to the creation of the mural.