A mosaic has been installed in Thrapston’s High Street as part of a bid to ‘beautify’ the town.
Over the past few years a small, voluntary group of residents and business people in Thrapston have been out and about trying to make the town more attractive.
As part of the project an underused area near Thrapston’s library has had a new mosaic installed.
Project leader Charlotte Croser said: “As a group we wanted to upgrade an area in the town centre which lacked personality and purpose.
“We set about raising funds to renovate a raised brick plinth which holds flagpoles and the town Christmas tree, as well as add a new community noticeboard, a mini-heritage trail and seating.
“We didn’t have the funds to pay a mosaic artist to fill the space, which measures about 12m by 12m.
“So I recruited a small group of creative volunteers made up of residents, business owners and town councillors, and we embarked on the creation ourselves.
“We learned the craft from a local mosaic artist and set about designing.
“We laid tiny tile pieces on to mesh backing using craft glue, placing them over the top of our designs.”
The plinth was unattractive but too expensive to remove, so it was clad in attractive timber and the top was dressed with fresh concrete to make way for laying a mosaic on top.
Green Developments based in Thrapston carried out the structural work.
The large size of the space to be tiled meant that it was not possible to lay the tiles directly in place.
Tiling on to mesh sheets meant that the mosaic could be created off-site in small sections, then pieced together in place at the end.
Each artist created their own designs based on patterns, images and scenery using a range of bright coloured tile pieces 2cm squared or smaller.
The tiles came from donations by local residents and local swimming pool firm Desjoyaux Pools.
Charlotte added: “This project has truly been a community effort.
“Sincere thanks to all involved, and especially to the wonderful team of mosaic artists who gave so much of their time and who have created a stunning piece of work – Diana Charles, Jayne Creer, Tarot Crick, Charlotte Croser, Frances Hall and Katie Searle.”
Tarot Crick, a member of the mosaic team, said: “The project took us much longer than we imagined it would because the work was very intricate.
“Some of us tiled our sections at home in and around family commitments.
“We also used a community space which Thrapston Town Council kindly loaned us.
“We met regularly to check on progress and mosaic together when time allowed.”
After a year and many hundreds of hours of work, the mosaic was ready to lay in permanent place on the plinth.
Thrapston Tiling offered its time and expertise free of charge.
East Northants councillor Val Carter said: “The mosaic is the icing on the cake for this wonderful new community area in Thrapston town centre which has benefitted from an extraordinary makeover.
“Every time you look at the mosaic you see something new.
“Few communities can boast such a bright and vibrant installation, and one which has been worked on by such a dedicated team of volunteers in their own time.”
Funds for this project were sourced from many places including East Northamptonshire councillor empowerment funds from councillors Beattie, Brackenbury, Carter, Read and Smith.
Thrapston Farmers Market contributed £2,500 towards the project.
Developers of Castle Court in the town, Longhurst Group, paid for a bench in the area, and local businesses sponsored heritage information boards which had significant input from Thrapston Heritage and were designed by Charlotte Croser.