The Hive JQ

The Hive is a community hub for Birmingham in an historic building, with an award-winning organic café and bakery, craft workshops, exhibitions and event spaces.


Tracey Thorne, Untitled, 2019-2020

The Fading City 

Our most recent exhibition, The Fading City, was a real showstopper. Showcasing beautiful handmade printmaking techniques by Jemma Gunning and Tracey Thorne, the exhibition explored the textures and typography of buildings in Birmingham, with an emphasis on fading signs, known as ghost signs, and the role of historic buildings in an ever-modernising city. 

The exhibition kicked off on the 2nd March with a captivating launch event. A panel discussion featuring the artists, members of Birmingham City Council, an illustration lecturer from the University of the West of England, and the director of a local redevelopment firm was well-received by the audience, who eagerly participated in the discussions.

Jemma’s work focuses on two derelict buildings in the Jewellery Quarter: Alabaster and Wilson and Unity Works. Her use of intaglio and mono-printing perfectly captures the eerie yet somehow beautiful decay of the historic buildings. Her work creates a moving document of time passing in an ever-changing city, and acts as a valuable record of the Jewellery Quarter’s rich heritage. An ethereal silk screen print, using details of Jemma’s work, was draped against the old industrial walls of the gallery creating a stunning contrast between the callous industrial brickwork and the delicate weightlessness of silk. 

Observing the city through the medium of photography, Tracey turns images of hand-painted building signs into detailed screen prints. Her work documents the history of local advertising and greatly appealed to the current building owners, many of whom attended the launch event.