AN FSB member from Droylsden who runs a side-line business in bridal lingerie and corsetry, has branched out into fine art from the seed of an idea triggered by the Manchester bomb.
Carol Bartram (pictured above), who admits to always being a ‘bit arty’, has been dazzling brides and grooms with Swarovski crystals sewn into wedding lingerie for years. But when a friend lost her step-son in the Arena attack last May, Carol put her artistic talents to good use to reflect the mood in the region, and created a Manchester ‘worker’ bee from the crystals instead.
She gave the finished handmade artwork to her friend as a gift to remember he stepson by, who was so impressed encouraged Carol to make more.
The worker bee has, since the industrial revolution been the city’s adopted symbol of choice, to reflect productivity and solidarity of the people. After the bomb the symbol gained popularity again as a symbol of defiance and togetherness once more across Greater Manchester. The bee is now a common sight in the region, from car stickers to billboards to street art and tourist merchandise.
Carol, who donates a percentage of all sales to the ILoveManchester charity, set up to helps victims of the bomb, said: “It was really my friends response to her bee that made me decide to try and turn this into a business, she thought it was just brilliant. You do see the worker bee everywhere now, but I am aiming this at corporate businesses. I’ve already had orders from a restaurant, but these would look good in business receptions across Greater Manchester. They really do stand out and say: ‘we are Manchester’.
“My plan is to start making them to order in corporate colours too, so a company can really make them their own.”
Carol started off making just a small 5x5 inch frame, but is now doing bespoke versions which can be any size up to 1.6 metres wide. The smallest bee artwork uses 146 crystals, while the largest so far uses a whopping 2,113.
“I have to place each on with a pair of tweezers, and glue them in place. Working in the evenings it takes me a week to do the 30" one, but I find it quite therapeutic and enjoy doing – you’d have to I suppose!”
Carol’s creations are currently selling in Manchester’s Piccadilly Visitors’ Information Centre, and has sold a number through LinkedIn. But she is now thinking about how better to market them to customers.
If you would like one of Carol’s worker bee artworks, she can be contacted using: firstname.lastname@example.org