Take part in Surfaces of the Shire

All Libraries, Nottingham

Date -
Time All day
Venue All Libraries

Surfaces of the Shire

We would like you to reproduce the texture of a surface by taking a direct rubbing using graphite.

What is Frottage?

Frottage is the technique or process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form the basis of a work of art.

By combining your artworks, we aim to create a tonal picture from the surfaces of Nottinghamshire. We'd like to know more about the objects you've chosen to help us discover links to the county's heritage:

  • It's important to fill in the records form (below) to tell us more about where and when you captured your artwork/s
  • Can you tell us what was/is the purpose of the object?
  • Don't forget to tell us about yourself

How to Join In!

You will need:

  • White paper
  • Graphite stick
  • Records form
  • Returns envelope 

Surfaces of the Shire kits are available when you Click and Collect from Inspire Libraries and Mobile Libraries (availability is subject to demand).  

You can download the How To Sheet and the Records Form by clicking on the PDF documents below.

Top Tips

  • Street signs, benches and litter bins – surfaces with patterns, letters or numbers are great fun to capture
  • Metalwork – drain covers, old door hinges and brass plates can be very decorative
  • Post boxes – how many Royal Cyphers can you spot?
  • Stonework – look for foundation stones or the marks of the mason
  • Locally made bricks and ceramic tiles might tell a tale
  • We’ve found that a low relief works best, where the design stands out from the surface and is slightly accentuated
  • Remember to work safely and respect the surface you are capturing

The Exhibition

Just like you, professional artist Chris Lewis-Jones has also been busy collecting heritage surfaces across Nottinghamshire and a tonal picture of the county will be on display in the Surfaces of the Shire Exhibition and will tour Inspire Library Galleries.

It will also be available to view online from 25 May 2021.

Your rubbings will be photographed and uploaded to the Inspire Picture Archive and join over 5 million documents in Nottinghamshire Archives! The deadline for returning your artwork is Tuesday 25 May.

Return to the Surfaces of the Shire main page.


Thank you for taking part!

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Join in at home!

Please return your artwork to an Inspire Library or post to: Kirkby-in-Ashfield Library, Ashfield Precinct, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire NG17 7BQ, no later than Tuesday 25 May 

Please share with us on Facebook how you've collected your artwork @InspireArtsCulture