Temple Newsam Firewalls

Bowery Arts commissioned Bryony to create a large scale installation, to offer the public a sensory journey during the Same But Different Art Fair at Temple Newsam.

This installation was inspired by the heritage of the Temple Newsam’s walled gardens and a personal family connection to the site. The installation invited the public to take a fresh look at the historic function of the firewalls and immerse themselves in an exploration of the relationship between manmade structures, determined pattern and public participation.

Through a meticulous method of weaving and winding wool around the nails remaining in the firewalls, the structure revealed layers, patterns and random dissections created by the yarn. The nails operated as a loom, determining the direction and pattern of where and how the yarn was interwoven and connected into the ground.

The woven structure encouraged visitors to take a slow and joyful walk between the firewalls and experience a sensory journey amongst the linear, horizontal and diagonal yarn lines. During the weekend the public were invited to join Bryony to create or add a structure of their own.


In the 1950's Bryony's grandfather worked as a propagator at Temple Newsam, growing plants from seed and cuttings, layering and dividing.This installation was her exploration into the random patterning of the old nails that still remain in the firewalls, once used to anchor fruit to the heated bricks with string, to increase ripening and growth.

The firewalls were originally built in 1788 and had fireplaces, boilers and furnaces, with hot air circulating between two walls of bricks. The heat produced was used to ripen pineapples and other soft fruits for the house. These fruits were exotic and difficult to grow, symbolising the family’s wealth and power.

Picture Gallery

Date: April 2014
Location: Walled Garden, Temple Newsam, Leeds
Materials: Yarn, steel pegs, nails
Participants: Members of the public
Thank You: Sirdar - producer of yarns for donation of yarn and to the wonderful installation and dance team.