Artist launches a wallpaper with a difference

A Shropshire artist’s nine-month project to create a wallpaper made up of photographs of hundreds of women’s breasts has gone on show in Birmingham.

Sam Pooley this week unveiled her wallpaper installation at the Birmingham City University Fine Art Degree Show.

A total of 840 women from Shropshire and around the country had volunteered to take part. The images of 264 women were used in the end after a traumatic miscarriage put the 38-year-old in hospital for most of April and ended her hopes of a nationwide photographic tour.

The majority of the photographs used are those of Shropshire women who queued for up to two hours to be photographed during a charity fundraising shoot at The Shrewsbury Coffee House in March.

Miss Pooley said the images were subtly displayed beneath the veil of a traditional damask pattern that brought “a familiar domesticity to the design”. She is now looking for a retailer to work with her on developing the project further.

The wallpaper is digitally printed, comes in 10 different colours and is to go on sale at £100 per roll. Five hundred signed and framed pieces of the wallpaper are also available to order. Twenty-five per cent of the proceeds are to go to Coppafeel, the UK charity that educates men and women about how to check for breast cancer.

Miss Pooley, of Castlefields, Shrewsbury, said the project had been an incredible emotional journey.

“I have met so many inspirational women,” she said.

“Women who have survived breast cancer, pregnant mums, grandmothers, women who loved their breasts, women who hated them, but all of them united in a determination to raise awareness about breast cancer.

“I am so very proud of all the women, so very grateful to them for taking part. I think that what we have created together is a commentary about ordinary women and how they feel about their bodies in the 21st century. What is striking, when you see the images side-by-side, is how very different we all are.”

The comments of 100 of the volunteers, talking about their breasts and their involvement in the project, are displayed alongside the wallpaper.

Miss Pooley was inspired to launch the project following controversy over photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless and a renewed campaign to ban topless models from page three of The Sun newspaper. She wanted to capture images of ordinary women.

She added: “I’m terribly sad that I could not take pictures of all 840 volunteers, but the final product still works very well. I’m hoping to find a retailer who would send me on the road and develop the project.”

The exhibition at the BCU School of Art, in Margaret Street, Birmingham, will be open to the public for the rest of the week. Miss Pooley will exhibit the wallpaper at The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse, in Castle Gates, in September. The project has so far raised £2,000 for breast cancer charities. For further information visit


Michael Michael

Severn Magazine and Love Shrewsbury Editor.

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