Trinity Academy, Lockleaze

Trinity Vortex – Synnøve Fredericks

Trinity Vortex is a celebratory aerial ash sculpture, created collaboratively by artist Synnøve Fredericks and students from Trinity Academy, Lockleaze. 

Commissioned by Bristol City Council and produced by Bricks, this public art programme supports and celebrates Trinity Academy’s cultural ambition for every pupil to have ‘access to enrichment opportunities, in particular in music and the performing arts’.

Concept devised 2021.

Created and installed 2022.


Synnøve Fredericks


Bristol City Council & Trinity Academy Bristol.

Local Authority

Bristol City Council.


Trinity Academy, Romney Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol, BS7 9BY

Trinity Vortex
Trinity Vortex Synnøve Fredericks

The Commission

Spearheaded by Bristol artist Synnøve Fredericks, this stunning aerial steam bent ash sculpture Trinity Vortex was collaboratively designed with year 8 students of Trinity Academy Lockleaze and crafted with support from a Bristol based team of wood millers, boat builders, lighting designers, engineers, and riggers.

Bricks was commissioned by Bristol City Council to deliver the public art programme for the new Trinity Academy. Synnøve Fredericks’ proposal was selected from an open commission call to local artists in 2021.

’It’s been such a joy to see the collaborative creative work done by Synnøve and our amazing students lead to such a dramatic and meaningful installation. The piece captures so much of what Trinity is about – Head, Heart, Soul, creativity, aspiration, dynamism and inspiration.

Eiron Bailey
Head Teacher

The Creative Process – Devising a sculpture

The form of this ambitious artwork was devised by the artist and students using a series of movement and music workshops and takes inspiration from the school’s values of ‘Head, Heart and Soul’. 

Students from the school’s first intake worked with artist Synnøve Fredericks to select a piece of music which would embody the intentions of the school and their aspirations for education at the Academy. Beethoven’s 5 Secrets by The Piano Guys was selected to represent the Academy’s inclusive ethos and act as creative inspiration for the workshops and final design.

The students then worked together with Synnøve in a series of workshops to translate their chosen piece of music into a physical form, first developing the concept using movement, then translating this into a physical form using lengths of ribbons, card and finally strips of timber veneer.

Two school pupils working with thin strip of wood to create helix shape
Student workshop for Trinity Academy
Two students taking part in the workshop
Students taking part in the workshop

Synnøve then took this concept and worked the idea into a large suspended sculptural vortex, using a series of steam bent sections of milled ash.  The location of the piece is the interior of the main entrance atrium – the welcome piece for the school.

The wood for the sculpture was gifted from a felled ash tree from the National Trust’s estate at Tyntesfield, and the steam bending process took place at Rolt’s Boat Yard, Spike Island. The sculpture was installed over two days in December 2022.

The form of the sculpture is designed to be open and welcoming, instead of inward looking.  The moving, dynamic, growing spiral symbolises an open, inclusive group where others can join in. It is a vortex of movement, beginning as a smaller spiral and then growing up and outwards. Through the process of making it, music, movement, determination, openness and generosity became key themes for the artist and students.  

“I think it was transformational because it was just a small idea the artist had to create a sculpture, and then it’s actually something that you can see here… I think we’re really lucky to be a part of it, to be part of the process and then actually see the result”

Trinity Academy Student

Bricks involvement 

Bricks facilitated a series of workshops to allow the commissioned artist and a core group of students to devise the concept and form of the artwork. Bricks then worked alongside the artist, her support team and the Academy to see the artwork installed.

Bricks produced the public art programme and ran an open call for local artist submissions for the commission. Bricks worked with a local commissioning group made up of Trinity Academy’s Head Teacher, a student from the Academy and Bristol City Council, to shortlist local artist submissions and to support the selection of the final commission. 

Students standing in outdoor space holding wood strips in line formation. Artist Synnove Fredericks stands opposite with hands in the air.
Synnøve Fredericks Workshop with the pupils of Trinity Academy
Trinity Academy Lockleaze, aerial view - midway through the build process. Purdown hill to the top of the image and housing around the rest of the site
Trinity Academy, Lockleaze, mid construction aerial view

The Podcast Episode

  • Synnøve Frederick

    Synnøve is a sensory designer, artist and maker.
    Creating installations, sets and furniture that communicate emotion, orientation and story through the senses.