masons marks?

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement exhibition

The dust has settled after the Saltaire Arts Trail last weekend.  It was a wonderful three days that were blessed with lovely weather and we had thousands of visitors to the various events happening as part of the trail.  I had almost 2000 visitors to my pop-up gallery over the three days, which was amazing.  I had some lovely conversations with people about the project too, which was great – until people came to see the work I really didn’t know whether people would ‘get it’, but they did!  It was lovely to see children’s imaginations being sparked by the different shapes I’d captured and finding delight in recognising some of the items I’d used to print with.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement exhibition detail

I’ve had a few problems uploading things this last week or so but now I can catch up on a few of the things I was going to share about the Saltaire project

Alice Fox Saltaire kerbstone masons mark diamond

Wandering round the streets of Saltaire there are a whole range of carved marks in the kerb stones.  I assumed these are masons marks and they seem to be referred to as those by many people.  I found some discussion on line about whether they are benchmarks for the ordinance survey, but this seems unlikely.  I then had a few conversations with people during my exhibition at and it seems that these marks indicate utilities:  A little less romantic, but the most plausible explanation.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement masons marks

Some marks are in the form of letters, some are simple shapes.  Whatever their provenance they make an interesting  and sometimes playful-seeming addition to the pavement-scape.

Alice Fox Saltaire pavement marks rectangle

These marks found their way into my collagraph prints for Gifts from the Pavement, recreated on the print plates by string that was found on the same streets.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement print detail

7 thoughts on “masons marks?

  1. I loved your exhibition Alice – thoughtful, thought-provoking and acutely observed like jane Austen weaving her work from delicate lace. Thank you.

  2. So sorry not to get to Saltaire but I was able to visit the Bowery last week and it was thrilling to see the Spurn prints stretching away like the Spurn itself. Lovely !

  3. What an interesting post. Today I was wandering about and looking for things on the ground and noticed some cobbles in the square which my son and I usually head across for the tram. I found about 3 cobbles in different places had distinct letters imprinted in them – each with a different set of letters. Now I’m curious about what they might mean – I thought they might be the initials of the people who laid the cobbles as the work is exquisite. I might go back and get some pics I think.

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