Case Studies: Audrey Hayes

“I really enjoy the multicultural element of living in Trafford and I love the fact that Trafford, as a whole, has loads of trees!”

Audrey Hayes is an award-winning artist and designer who makes wooden sculpture, vessels, furniture and wall pieces. Her unique designs range in scale from large outdoor sculptural furniture to table-top vessels, made predominantly from discarded wood.

How would you describe yourself and the work you create?

“I’m a designer, but I think a lot of my works are fine art pieces.”

What first inspired you to explore your creativity and work within arts?

“I was a Social Worker for 18 years before deciding to give it all up to ‘explore’ my creative side. It was only really in my mid thirties that I realised I could take my practical abilities into something more than just a hobby.

In 2001, I enrolled on a Art Foundation Course at City College, Arden, for which I got a distinction and was then on track for University. In 2002, I enrolled on the Three Dimensional Design Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. I specialised in wood for my final year and gained a First Class Honours Degree. I later studied a one-year Bachelor of Design Course, which concentrated on the business side of becoming self employed. Following this, I secured a two year placement as Designer in Residence at MMU as part of The Setting Up Scheme.

As you can see – I’ve been on a roll in a world which was completely alien to me six years ago.”

What inspires you to work with the materials you use?

“The trees themselves that I work with, their shape, texture, variety durability and strength.

The clean simple lines that nature has to offer us. A whole range of contemporary furniture designers and also the challenge to preserve simplicity”.

Living and working in Trafford, what do you think the area has to offer an artist?

“It’s great that my local council has an active creative industries organisation and it’s wonderful to be part of this local art scene. You never know what’s happening around you unless there are people committed to establishing and maintaining these organisation. I’m always amazed by the talent within my local area and it’s great that these links are made and networks encouraged.

I also really enjoy the multicultural element of living in Trafford and I love the fact that Trafford, as a whole, has loads of trees!”

You received the ‘Highly Commended Award’ at Waterside Arts Centre’s 1st Open Art Exhibition, what was your experience of taking part in this new venture?

“It was a great exhibition and the work exhibited was of a high standard. I was impressed by the organisation and the curatorial skills of those involved. It’s difficult curating an open exhibition due to the diversity of the work but I felt this one worked really well. It was fantastic to win the ‘Highly Commended’ prize and the awards evening was again well organised and added to the success of the event. Local artist put a massive amount of time and effort into organising the exhibition and this was supported by Trafford, which is fantastic”.

Has living and working in Trafford helped to nurture your work?

“Yes I do think my work has been nurtured, predominantly through grants, which I’ve received but also through things like the Trafford Artists Network and the Waterside Arts Centre’s 1st Open Art Exhibition”.

What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect in the future?

“I’m working towards three exhibitions at the moment at the moment – Exhibition 120 in London, an outdoor sculpture exhibition in Cheshire and the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair”.

For more information about Audrey Hayes, her work and future projects see