phone icon phone number 01782 236000

Sculpture Trail Artists

John McKenna: Traditional Industries

Traditional Industries by John McKenna

British sculptor John McKenna was born in Manchester in 1964, he moved to Worcestershire where he attended Royal Grammar School, before studying at Middlesex Polytechnic Art College in North London. In 1987 he gained a bursary to study at the Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture.


McKenna Lectured between 1990 and 1993 at Stafford College in figurative classical sculpture and Worcester College of Technology where he taught three dimensional design.


After being elected as a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1993 McKenna resigned from lecturing, to become a full time public art sculptor.


Since becoming successful within the freelance art world John Mckenna now leads a collaborative group called 'Art for Architecture', an informal association of artists, designers and craftsmen who work together on public art commissions. John's work varies in scale, style and purpose, as well as differences his use of materials, design processing and manufacturing skills.


McKenna’s extensive work in the creative field has allowed him to draw on years of experience and work on a large variety of projects, from portraits to small private commissions in addition to his large works of public art. McKenna has produced various panels and reliefs throughout his career including ‘Traditional Industries’ that is located in Burslem.


Traditional Industries is a triptych panel sculpture that was installed in 1992 and celebrates the three traditional industries of Burslem, brick manufacture, mining and pottery. Each of the three reliefs is situated within a black edged arch, with the head of the arch being shaped to reflect the image within the arch. The relief of the coal miner is within a frame that had the shape of a pitheads two wheels. He kneels on one knee and uses a pickaxe to chip at the coal face that surrounds him. The second and largest relief shows a potter working on a potter’s wheel. It is set within a frame in the shape of a pottery kiln. The bowl he is manufacturing are hardening on a shelf in the foreground of the image.
The last relief is set within a frame in the shape of a brick kiln. It shows a brick maker removing a brick from its mould with two shelves of bricks hardening in the background.


Click here to go to John's website

Stoke-on-Trent Sculpture Trail