The Story of our Magnificent Millennium Mosaics
In 2000, to celebrate the opening of Winchcombe Abbey Primary School we were lucky enough to be awarded a grant through Gloucestershire County Council's Percent for Art Scheme to produce original art for the new school. The Scheme was supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England. We were able to secure the services of Cleo Mussi, a established mosaic artist living in Stroud. She spent a number of days working with the children of the then Junior and Infants’ Schools to produce works of art to embellish the new building. Children and families were invited to bring in old tiles and pieces of crockery to be recycled for the project.
Cleo talked to the children, learned about their experiences and the history of the schools and then got to work designing a magnificent pair of mosaics which reflected the information she had gleaned from the children and staff. The mosaics are located in the music/drama room and feature a fish pond, a vegetable patch, flowers and bees which represent the fact that our school is built on the gardens of the old Winchcombe Abbey. The cockerel on the top of St Peter’s Church is depicted and also a small black and white dog. Its presence recalls a story that some of the children told her about a dog following them on a class walk to Belas Knap, the Neolithic long barrow near Winchcombe.
Cleo also worked with the children to enable them to produce other slightly less ambitious mosaics which can be seen around the school. Walking through the building, you will see, in the entrance hall a Winchcombe Abbey mosaic mirror in the shape of a stained glass window and a 3D depiction of Belas Knap. Further on, there is a colourful fishpond and a circular mosaic of a roundabout, inspired by the then Reception class. An image of Emma Dent, the local Victorian benefactress, graces a wall near the staffroom. Emma, who lived at Sudeley Castle, took a keen interest in education in the town. Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife who spent her final days in Sudeley Castle, is depicted in a mosaic produced by children who were in Year 5 at the time.
Cleo has gone on to undertake many high profile commissions, for the John Lewis store in Solihull, Colchester Hospital and BBC Radio Leicester among others.
If you would like to take a closer look at our mosaics do ask at the office.