CREATING her first solo exhibition has been a family affair for artist Marie Jones.

The Chapelford resident was the winner of last year’s Contemporary Arts Festival open competition and part of the prize was a showcase at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery.

More than 300 hours of work and 2,821,500 stitches later, Marie has now unveiled a 15m knitted landscape that her Great Sankey grandma Margaret Robinson helped her put together.

She said: “My grandma has lived in Warrington for years and I come from a family of makers and crafters.

“She only lives down the road so she’s been coming in to join all the knitted pieces together.”

Marie originally found inspiration for ‘Let’s Get Stuck in Traffic’ while visiting Snowdonia mountain range in North Wales.

She added: “It was being in the mountains and being really excited and wanting to transport that feeling somewhere else.”

That then set the scene for a contemplation on the career paths that women take in life and what opportunities and barriers there are along the way.

The work developed when she noticed that the main exhibition space at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery currently only exhibits works by male artists, while only a temporary display reveals achievements made by 21 women who are connected to Warrington.

In an effort to redress the balance, Marie’s work saw her interview female artists from Warrington – while often getting caught in the town’s traffic.

She is also in the process of interviewing the next generation of Warrington women through a partnership with Girl Guides.

Marie’s aim is to unearth how the girls see their future career paths before their decisions are influenced by those around them.

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She said: “I’ve been speaking to a Girl Guide group in Warrington who are very excited and I used to run a Girl Guide group in North Wales so I’m hoping to join the two communities together.

“I think it’s hard when you have teachers and parents that are always influencing you and it will be nice for them to have a moment when they think about their future outside of that environment.”

Marie, originally from Anglesey, became a full time artist in 2017 after a background in graphic design and lecturing in higher education.

She added: “I didn’t want to wait until I was 50 or 60 and then go: ‘I wish I had tried it’. It’s a whole new world to learn about but that’s also what makes it exciting.”

The opportunity to then take part in Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival came about shortly after she moved to Chapelford.

Marie said: “It’s been a really exciting opportunity and one that has really pushed my practice forward.

“I’ve been able to create a whole new body of work and everyone within the gallery and museum has been really enthusiastic about the ideas I’ve brought to them.

“They’ve been really open to trying new things so it’s been a really great experience. Warrington Museum and Art Gallery is a hidden gem.”

Marie will also be keeping a keen eye on this year’s Contemporary Arts Festival open competition entries after the difference it made to her career.

She added: “I’ve been able to meet people in the community through the work which is really nice as otherwise that can take a lot of time. There are so many things going on at this year’s festival. It brings the creative community together.”

Marie Jones’s Let’s Get Stuck in Traffic is at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery until November 10 and is free to view