‘Knotty 100’ Artwork by Sixth Form College Students featured in Local Exhibition at Stoke Station

A spectacular showcase of artistry captivated the public, featuring artwork created by talented students in their second year of studying A Level Art at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College.

The artwork was created to display at various stations along one of the routes previously run by the North Staffordshire Railway (affectionately known as the “Knotty”) In collaboration with North Staffs Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) the posters were displayed at all stations between Crewe and Derby including Longport, Kidsgrove, Stoke, Blythe Bridge, and Longton. This initiative marked the centenary of the Knotty Line’s closure, celebrated under the banner ‘Knotty 100’. Fifteen impressive art pieces created by Sixth Form College students were unveiled and exhibited across these stations from September 2023.

The enthusiastic and positive response from the community and railway enthusiasts was remarkable. In light of the overwhelming reception, NSCRP and Knotty 100 came together to extend this celebration of the students’ exceptional work. A special exhibition was held at Stoke Railway Station on Tuesday 24th October to Friday 27th October.

Mark Davies, Teacher of Art at the Sixth Form College, has been a guiding force in this exciting venture. He expressed his pride in the students’ accomplishments and described the experience as a profound one for the aspiring artists:

“It has been such a wonderful experience for the students to be a part of this project. I travel in via train to the college and seeing my students’ work in such a prominent position at the stations, on display for all to see makes me incredibly proud of what they have achieved.”

Lily Healey aged 17 from Newcastle-under-Lyme is one of the contributing students who drew inspiration from the Barlaston landscape viewed through a train window, creating a piece that now captivates passers-by on their train journeys. She shared her excitement, stating:

“It’s pretty cool to have my artwork seen by everyone going by on the train. This is the first time my artwork has been seen by the public”

Jasmine Price aged 18 from Stoke-on-Trent is another talented student who sketched a self-portrait during her train journey from Manchester to Stoke, and her work is now proudly on display. She expressed her excitement for the exposure:

“It’s so great to have the exposure. I haven’t seen my work yet on display at the station and I’m excited to see it, as well as my work on display at the exhibition.” Jasmine mentioned.

Charlotte Holmes aged 17 from Stoke-on-Trent was inspired by her research into the Knotty line’s history, created a piece titled “The Waiting Crowd.” Delving into historical archives, she found an image that fuelled her artistic journey. She commented 

“It has been a great opportunity to complete work for a live brief, and it has given me the confidence to use water colour for the first time on a large scale.”

The art exhibition took place at Stoke Railway Station on Tuesday 24th October to Friday 27th October, it was a fantastic week of celebration and artistic appreciation.

Claire Sandys, Community Rail Officer, said: 

“We were delighted to bring together Stoke Sixth Form College and The Foxfield Railway in celebration of the North Staffordshire Railway.  The students’ artwork is most impressive.  The posters have brought colour and interest to all nine of our stations between Crewe and Derby.”

*’Knotty 100’ is a festival taking part at multiple locations in North Staffordshire in 2023 to commemorate 100 years since the North Staffordshire Railway (“The Knotty”) was absorbed into the greater, national railway network on 1st July 1923. The festival will serve as a tribute to the rich history and enduring legacy of this iconic company and its railways.