Open to the public Nov 16th to 17th 2024 Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall CV37 6EF

The quest for fretwork display boards



I thought it would be a simple process to find beautiful backing boards for the painters and illustrators to hang their pictures on, however it took over a year to finally get what I held in my imagination.


I travel to Northern Cyprus every year to distil aromatic flowers, plants and resins and I find the Islamic repeat patterns intriguing, soothing and timeless as they shaded me from the bright hot light of the Spring sun.


I came to understand the beauty of the repeated patterns; how they are mathematically pure in their design, with construction based on squares either elongated or reduced in size and repeated to form the overall pattern.


I had in mind a graduated repeat pattern informed by traditional Islamic design – simple, symmetrical, whilst enabling the light to thread through the open fretwork design to enhance the paintings that would be hung from them at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall.

I envisaged the pattern to be open at the top, slowly graduating to stronger and wider stars at the base for weight and stability.


Although the Town Hall has large windows, mirrors and crystal chandeliers, I wanted light to flood the rooms and to keep the exhibition at a human size with smaller than average backboards in a soft, mellow green.


The design I finally chose is based on triangles giving me three-way nodes producing six-pointed stars, instead of the Islamic four-way nodes that produce eight-pointed stars – an elegant repeat design that is not a traditional Islamic copy but influenced by Greek and Roman designs, and I love it.

An important consideration in the choice of design was the number of straight bars in the Star shapes so hooks could be safely attached and removed, optimising hanging space.


I commissioned Mark Durey from Doors2size ( to cut the marine MDF for me and I am thrilled with the results.  Mark Turner from Red Display Solutions ( supplied the clamps to offer two boards held at right angles so the exhibitors use all four sides, giving more options as to how to display their work.


One visitor to the exhibition said that he hadn’t noticed them when asked – exactly what I had wanted – subtle, understated beauty to support stunning artwork.