Chemistry and Magic – Art In Manufacturing Season 2

‘Chemistry and Magic Straight Through the Line’ is the final artwork produced by Nicola Ellis from her artist residency this last April at Ritherdon. The artist residency is part of the Art in Manufacturing Season 2 arts commission.

For the past month, Nicola has been part of the crew, working alongside the Ritherdon staff at our factory in Darwen. We’ve been letting know you about the unique experience in small snippets. Now we can unveil the final artwork the residency has produced.

Chemistry and Magic Ritherdon and Art in manufacturing

We can now show you the artwork and the creation process that led to it. Nicola Ellis was inspired by Ritherdon the stainless steel materials and the manufacturing process. However what shaped the artwork was the people at Ritherdon, past and present, their interaction with the works and each other.

Ellis featured the company founder Percy Ritherdon and his friendship with famous magician of the time, Chung Ling Soo in her work.

Chemistry and Magic refers to this particular time during the founding years of Ritherdon but also refers to the different aspects of chemistry involved in the artwork itself. Ellis experimented in our paintshop and mixed powders together to create unique powder coated paintings.

                                   Ritherdon and Art In Manufacturing Chemistry and Magic

Metal skeletons from the manufacturing process were made into cubes of metalwork that told stories of what they would have been. They seem to evoke the vanishing cabinets tricks of the past and are the remnants of the manufacturing process today.

Chemistry and Magic Ritherdon and Art in Manufacturing

We hope you enjoyed these photos and overview of the artwork:

Chemistry and Magic Straight Through the Line


The work was exhibited during the Festival of Making in Blackburn weekend, 12th and 13th of May.
About the Festival of Making – The National Festival of Making 2018

The first ever National Festival of Making in 2017 welcomed 30,000 people of all ages to the heart of Lancashire to experience thrilling street performance, buy the best in handcrafted fashion, sample the finest food and drink and get hands-on with over 100 FREE and affordable making experiences in the company of master makers. ‘A new kind of festival for a new age of making’ returns to the manufacturing heartland of Blackburn, Lancashire for a second unmissable year, promising two more exciting days of innovative art installations, workshops and markets throughout the town centre.

For updates about the festival programme and information on how to get involved for next year, visit


More Posts

We’ve Got a New Look!

We’ve had little refresh for our main website It’s just an upgrade, as we’ve kept the look and feel very much the same. We hope you find it serves you well.

Read More »
Blog Categories