THE history and architecture of Wells will be the inspiration for artist Ruth Ames-White to create a walkable mosaic map of the city centre that is set to become a landmark in its own right.
The giant mosaic will have a diameter of six metres, will be made from an estimated 750,000 tiles, and will take more than three years to complete.
Mendip District Council has given permission for the mosaic to be sited near the bandstand in the Recreation Ground, and fundraising for the Wells in Mosaic project, which is expected to cost in the region of £80,000, has now begun.
The group behind the project include Chris Winter and Philip Welch of Wells Civic Society, Steve Wilson of The Square soft play centre and Steve McKay of Jaypeg design and marketing agency, as well as Ruth and her husband Ian.
“Steve Wilson came up with the idea of a walkable mosaic map and I think it’s wonderful. To be given the task of designing and creating it is a huge privilege and one I hope I will do justice to,” said Ruth, an artist all her life who became hooked on mosaics after trying them when her youngest son started school 14 years ago.
“I have to look no further than Wells itself for my inspiration,” she added, “stunning architecture, beautiful surroundings and a well documented long and colourful history.”
The centre of the mosaic will depict the city centre. This will be surrounded by a ring of water with images such as the moat swans and Wells Boat Race, and then an outer ring of 32 gothic windows containing, for example, a crest, a person or a piece of history.
Ruth will construct the mosaic in her home studio, a process that will involve cutting 2cm tiles by hand into pieces and sticking them on to paper designs. The completed segments will eventually be reassembled on the site.
“It’s going to be really unique,” said Ian. “We’re hoping it will bring more people to Wells, and will start a revolution in public art in the city.”
The couple gave a presentation on the project at the latest meeting of Wells Civic Society, when society chair Chris Winter handed over a generous cheque for £5,000 so that work can begin.
“The civic society has been very enthusiastic in its support for this wonderful public art project since its inception and through the necessary planning and design phases,” said Chris.
“I am now delighted to be able to make this contribution on behalf of our members towards the next stage.”
For anyone else who would like to contribute, the Wells in Mosaic account details are: