• The Wire Works

The Wire Works – Woven feelings – Poetry activity



Wireworks is a National Lottery Heritage Fund project that celebrates the Wire Industry of Warrington. Artist Laurence Payot is creating a series of activities and workshops which will contribute to a final art piece,  presented during Heritage week (11 -20 September 2020). The activity below was designed in collaboration with Kate Cottrell.


Aim of the activity: 

To create a new piece of writing, using your thoughts and feelings about the current situation and the Covid-19 outbreak.

When you have finished, you’ll have written a meaningful piece of new writing, which comes just from you and sums up how you feel or have felt during this time of isolation.

How does this activity link to Warrington Wire?:

Warrington wire cloth was famous all over the world and can still be found today in dozens of everyday objects you might find around the home. 

One of the interesting things about woven wire cloth is that, because of where it’s used, it is very rarely seen by us. This is just like our feelings and emotions – they’re always there but they’re not always possible to see. 

At times of crisis, it is important to be able to recognise and talk about your feelings and emotions, as this helps you deal with them. 

And just like the woven wire from Warrington, our feelings are complicated and made up of many layers that are different, but all come from the same place. 

Getting started: 

Using the boxes below, identify 3 key things that you are feeling at the moment, and write about them in each box. 

You can choose to write into the boxes, or you can rewrite the first sentence on a new page and start from there. This is your piece of writing, and it’s totally up to you. 

Once you’ve completed each box put them together, to form one beautiful, complex piece of writing which demonstrates how you feel during the Covid-19 lockdown.

BOX 1 :

When I wake up in the morning, I feel…. 

You might want to write here about:

– Whether you start each day feeling positive or negative

– How the weather changes your mood

– The things you miss about your normal routine (if you do)

– The new things you’ve discovered about being at home (these might be positive or negative)

– Something you can see out of your window in the morning

BOX 2:

And sometimes…

Some feelings come to us suddenly and without warning. During difficult times these feelings can be quite overwhelming, whether they are good or bad.

During an ‘average’ day what are the feelings that suddenly creep up on you? How do these make you feel? Could you use a simile here to help the reader understand your point? ‘I feel as lonely as a….’ ‘I feel as silly as a ….’ For example.

BOX 3:

But mostly I feel… 

You might use this box to write about:

– Your main feeling – is it loneliness, isolation, gratitude, happiness?

– Why do you feel this way? Use the word because to give your reader more information about your motivation.

– It’s ok if your first two feelings are positive, but this ‘mostly’ feeling is negative (or vice versa) – these are confusing and difficult times. The important thing is to let your feelings out.

 BOX  4:

These feelings weave together to make me who I am. Right now, I am…. 

In your final paragraph, tell us about yourself – right now. You might be very different from the ‘you’ you usually are. Your thoughts and feelings might have changed. You might be doing different activities to usual. Your connections to others might be different.

But you are still a version of you.

This piece of writing can serve as a reminder forever of the way you felt and the person you were during this most unique time in our world.

And that’s it!

Four paragraphs to explore your thoughts and feelings about the world right now.

It doesn’t matter whether you write slowly or quickly – whether it takes days or weeks, or all comes out of you in one go. Just have a try to get down your ideas and feelings down on paper.

Good luck!

Below is an image from Manchester Museum’s archive representing a wire worker’s nightmare. If they messed up their wire work, the cost of the wasted material would be deduced from their wage. If they became disabled because of a work incident, for example,e if they lost an eye working with sharp wire rope, their wage would be halved!



 Images Courtesy of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery (Culture Warrington)