Linda Brothwell (UK), Acts of Care, 2013-ongoing


Linda Brothwell continues her series of public interventions with Acts of Care: The Lost Letters of Liverpool, using her research within Liverpool's large Polish community to create work influenced by traditional Polish paper-cutting techniques and patterns.


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Brothwell researches the production history of each location she works in. She learns local craft skills and develops a set of unique tools and processes which she then uses to repair a public element in that community. The tools are each designed for the specific task and so become a unique record of the making process. The ability to make and use tools has value beyond the utilitarian. Acts of Care showcases the histories and skills of industrial craftspeople, proposing a new value system and creating an alternative map of the UK.


The Sheffield Edition


The Sheffield Edition, created in 2013, was the first Act of Care. During this project, Brothwell inserted clusters of stainless steel shims to repair the broken brickwork throughout the building of Portland Works, the site where stainless steel was invented. The Act of Care took place at a time when the future of the building was threatened, though it has since been saved by its workshop tenants and supporters.


The Sheffield Edition was made for Jerwood Makers Open 2013, part of Jerwood Visual Arts.

The Lost Letters of Liverpool


For The Lost Letters of Liverpool, Brothwell has explored social histories intertwined with the heritage of craft and small-scale industrial techniques in Liverpool. She looks at both the resourceful Liverpudlian shipbuilding community and the modern Polish community in Liverpool, whose craft heritage is extremely diverse and demonstrates an exceptional level of skill and care. Acts of Care: Lost Letters of Liverpool takes traditional Polish craft techniques as the starting point. The project is a public intervention in Liverpool marrying traditional Polish and English skills and imagery. Missing letters in iconic building signs have been carefully restored with a new handcrafted alphabet, featuring hand-pierced brass scrollwork that combines traditional English and Polish Wycinanki designs. Taking the idea of neighbourhood as a community within the city, these techniques and processes work together to intervene in the public space to create an Act of Care, creating a positive symbol of the diversity of the city. Images of Coleman's Building and Queen's Head Pub on Park Road, Toxteth taken by Stephen King, 2015.


As the show travels to Norwich, Brothwell is preparing a new Act of Care: The Norwich Edition focussing on Norfolk’s fabric dyeing heritage.