Bellfield Banter as the Smallbridge group paints into the night!

Tuesday was the last ReCycle Rocdale session at Smallbridge library and time to finish the artwork to be add to the sculpture at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum. The group did great work spraying their cog and chain creations despite the very cold conditions outside and whilst waiting for the paint to cure on the cold metal designed the layout for their section of the artwork.

With amazing creativity they linked every piece created into a narrative to tell the story of the Rochdale Pioneers and Co-operation in Rochdale.

 Our project is about the Rochdale Pioneers, we created a sculpture from scraped bike parts. We created A 3D model mill, Trandem, a 3D model of the world etc.

The story is about a man called Billy Cooper and a man called Sam Ashworth, they came together to trade goods and help the community. A group of people came together known as the Pioneers and they created a building called the Co-operative. They created this building so that the community could work-together. The sheep were on the hills, their wool was shawn and sent to the mills, in here clothes were made.

The next part of our sculpture shows how the wholsesale goods (by the CWS) were transported around the country on bikes (some were trandems), this gave people the basic necessities. The Rochdale town hall was created in 1866-1872, the purpose of creating the town centre was to attract more people from around the world. The heart symbolizes the love and affection of the residents of Rochdale for Co-operation and how it spread around the world.

Great work by the Bellfield Banters (their new group name!) and looking forward to seeing you at the artwork unveiling soon!


ReCycle Rocdale – stage 2 – Newbold Girls.

The second stage 2 group are the Newbold Girls from the Moss Street Youth Centre.

They visited the museum on another rainy evening and were introduced to the Pioneers fascinating history by Clare.

The visit provide much inspiration and the group have started making bike junk sculptures inspired by  symbols of cooperation including a skep (beehive), a wheatsheaf, many 3D bees and some amazing flowers.

and a very special cake!

To celebrate the final creative session for Recycle Rochdale Jasmin had made two cakes which the young artists transformed through the magic of icing and art into an Amazing Art Bike Cake!

The cake featured everyone’s names as spokes on the wheels, a Tour de France Leaders Jersey Yellow Frame and thick icing tyres. It seemed a shame to have to cut it into slices, but everyone was glad we did as as well as looking brilliant it tasted great!

Colouring the cogs (in the rain)

Tonight at Sparth Youth Club we wanted to spray paint all the parts of our sculpture ready for it’s first public showing on Saturday but unfortunately the torrential rain threatened our plans.

Luckily the art bike team refused to be deterred from getting the work ready and persevered by splitting into two team and gettting busy (and a bit wet)  spray painting under the protection of a leaky gazebo. Not ideal conditions but the end results were brilliant; the C,O,O and Hills of Rochdale parts of the sculpture are painted and ready to go.

Other work that took place in the dry inside the community centre including making more decorative pieces for the sculpture (including a famous Rochdale landmark!) and completing the letter P.

We also planned our art activity / creative challenge for visitors to the Cooperation On Wheels Exhibition on Saturday – but you’ll have to join us on the day to find out what it is…


The artwork gets even bigger

Tonight we decided to add a frame to the sculpture to make it more eyecatching and even larger. The frame will be made from an old trampoline and we tested two sizes by laying out all the sculpture elements on the floor and of course chose the largest!

Inspiration struck and it was decide that the circular frame would be painted red to look like a STOP sign but with the word CO-OP instead of STOP. A new young artist joined us for the session and commented that the COOP letters were hard to read withing the mechanisms and support bike so a job for next week will be to paint the artwork to make everything  stand out.

These design questions solved we got stuck in making the final parts of Imaginary Man, adding decoration to the C, fixing the big P to the up and down mechanism.

The Sparth Youth Club team worked flat out drilling and bolting the frame parts to make them solid whilst other another team were kept busy making cog flowers and bike chain houses to decorate the ‘Hills of Rochdale’ part of the artwork…





Imaginary Man takes shape

Tonight the Sparth Playscheme joined the Sparth Youth Club for a co-operative creative session at the Sparth Community Centre.

A keen team from those who had joined us at Rochdale Pioneers Museum asked if they could do more creative work so joined regulars from the Sparth Youth Club. The focus of work was assembling all the parts of the ‘imaginary man’ to ride the O bike and adding a bike seat face with cog eyes and brake pad moustache (not a handlebar moustache as this was used for the shoulders!).

Other work included further decoration of the letter O, reinforcing the up and down mechanism alongside making a base for the artwork from pieces of old trampoline and a lot of drilling and bolting together to ensure it was rigid.


Sparth Playscheme at Rochdale Pioneers Museum

Another amazing sunny spring day and Sparth Play-schemers visited Rochdale Pioneers Museum to get hands-on with the Art Bikes Sculpture.

A number of the play-scheme team were already involved with the project and continued their work on mechanisms to make the sculpture both kinetic and interactive.

Other members of the play-scheme get stuck in with making the bigger O by cutting the rear wheel, seat stays, seat post and chain stays from a larger scrap mountain bike.

Two teams got started on the ‘imaginary man’ who would ride our O bike; the first team made a maquette from cardboard tube to work out the dimensions of the figure and ensure he would fit on the bike. The second team replicated the leg parts from metal tube and made knee, ankle and hip joints by cable-tying two sections of bike chain together and joining them to the metal tube.

The second O for CO-OP was decorated by another team and the challenging ‘up & down’ mechanism was constructed using suspensioned front forks from which the springs were removed to allow them to slide easily up & down. These pieces will be driven from the pedals of another old bike and this was also created by a Play-scheme team.

By the end of a very busy and enjoyable day we had created and could show off the legs of the imaginary man pedaling the O bike, the drive mechanism for the rotating part of the sculpture, the ‘up & down’ mechanism, an in-scale letter P and more decorative parts – A Great Days Work!


Cycle Creations at Rochdale Pioneers Museum

On an amazing sunny Friday Cycle Creations took place at Rochdale Pioneers Museum and some new Art Bike Artists from across Rochdale joined us for a few hours of fun and rewarding making.

We had set up the prototype artwork in it’s position in front of the museum and in the true spirit of Co-operation the new artists worked on adding enhancing elements to parts of the sculpture created by the group from Sparth Youth Club. They then created individual decorative artworks based around themes from the Rochdale Pioneers Museum including bees, trees and flowers.






Careful drilling

Sparth Art Bike Artists create mechanisms

Following the visit to Rochdale Pioneers Museum The Sparth Art Bike Artists had definite ideas of how to develop the creation of their artwork so we decided to focus on making the moving elements of the artwork to create a truly kinetic sculpture.

To make the rear wheel of the ‘O bike’ rotate would be easy enough – it’s what bike wheels are meant to do! But we had decided the O’s needed to be bigger so started work on adding a larger wheel rim from another scrap bike. This involved the painstaking removal of about 1000’s spokes and unfortunately will have to be repeated with another wheel to make the O’s match in size. Fitting the larger wheel rim into our quite small frame also required the removal of the cross braces from the chain and seat stays using a hacksaw and file.

We also decided to create a mechanism to rotate one of the letters horizontally and took an old ‘windmill drill’ as a start point. We added a crank chain-set cog by carefully aligning it to the cog on the drill and drilling and bolting it in place – this will allow the drill to be turned by a bike chain – NICE!

Next we want to create, from bike parts, a mechanism to move part of our sculpture up and down – how will we manage this?…



A Museum Visit

Tonight we visited Rochdale Pioneers Museum to learn more about the history of the Rochdale Pioneers, explore the museum and gain inspiration for our artwork. We also wanted to see where our artwork will be installed and check it would suit the space.

Jenny, who manages the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, lead us on a fascinating tour and shared some inspiring details of the Pioneers history and the characters involved in the birth of Co-operation.

Unfortunately it was raining during our visit so we very quickly set up our prototype artwork where we thought it would look best then stood back and observed how it looked and what we should do to make it work.

We decided that the artwork would need to be reversed so it could be read from the road, that the P would need to be bigger and to make that artwork really attractive it would be great to included some moving parts and interactive elements for visitors to use…

The brilliant suggestion of an ‘imaginary person’ riding the ‘O bike’ also added a real creative challenge for the team!

We then went back into the museum to discuss what we had discovered on the visit and the idea of turning this new knowledge into a rap to share with other participants and visitors was born. Half an hour later two amazing raps were performed acapella in the museum meeting room – a first for Rochdale Pioneers?

We hope these will develop into fully fledged performances over the next few weeks!