Devonport Roots

Flameworks is an artist-led creative arts workshop located at Richmond Walk, Devonport - in fact, it's the only artist-led arts workshop in the whole of Devon & Cornwall. The group, who provide low-cost workspace and creative opportunities for local artists, began their operation with funding from Devonport's New Deal for Communities, back in 2001. It is safe to say their roots are in Devonport.

Originally set up by ex staff and students from Plymouth College of Art, Flameworks is now home to 22 artists, including jewellers, glassworkers, metalworkers, sculptors and painters. Kate Lake, one of the co-founders, believes a specialist facility such as the one in Richmond Walk helps to retain local creative talent - she's not wrong, Flameworks now have over 60 associate artists, all from Devon & Cornwall.

Local Fame

The group has achieved local fame and admiration since their early days, to such an extent that by 2006 they were awarded £34,000 by the Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts, via the National Lottery. They used the funding for public workshops and lectures, to develop educational projects, and to organise several exhibitions.

Nowadays it will not be unusual to see Art, produced by this group, all over the city. In my own area of Devonport for example, at North Corner, the artwork in our central circus was created by Zoe Coles and Kate Lake. It consists of an upright anchor (originally washed ashore at North Corner and rescued by Phil Head, our local landlord) with a spiralling chain wrapped around it - all of this stands upon a plinth in which metal fish are embedded. (image to follow)

Flameworks also produced the street names for North Corner - they're most unusual - not your normal plaque on the wall. The artwork consists of four stainless steel elliptical columns, one on each side of the two main entrances into North Corner, i.e. Cannon Street and Cornwall Street. The columns are illuminated with the street names in blue Perspex lettering - see photo below.

street sign Cornwall Street


If you want to check out which artists are currently operating out of Richmond Walk, their own website gives details of each artist and examples of their particular medium.
  • Tel: 01752 559326
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Flameworks in the Early Days, c2002

    The image below, courtesy of Sandy Saundercock, was taken late 2001 at the very beginning of Flameworks when the building, rented from Plymouth City Council, was totally empty.

    Six months later. In summer of 2002 I went and stood in the same spot as in Sandy's picture above.

    Next are a few more photos taken summer 2002, the storage spaces by now full.

    Noah Taylor and Katy Lake, taking a break at Richmond Walk Arts workshop, summer 2002

    Zoe Coles summer 2002, being creative at Richmond Walk.

    Flameworks at 2009

    When the above photos were taken in 2002 Katy said, "it would be interesting to see in a few years how we've progressed". I said, "I'll come back and take some more photos then". I think I'll give her a telephone call ...

    This page added August 2009