Art installation made using manila rope

A new impressive art installation created using our rope

Here at RopesDirect, we’re always amazed by the diverse range of ways in which customers use our rope. From home DIY and craft projects to West End shows, kayaks, treehouses, charity work in Uganda… we’ve seen it all. And recently, we received a fantastic story about a new art installation, at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham.

Susie MacMurray – an acclaimed British artist – used several large coils of our 32mm manila rope for this amazing piece of work. Very kindly, the National Justice Museum forwarded some interesting information about how the rope was used and the results of her latest project. We think you’ll agree, the installation is very impressive and we’re incredibly proud to have played a small part.

‘Witness’ – a powerful piece of art with manila rope at its heart

Susie is internationally recognised for her architectural art and has a strong reputation for poetic site-specific installations in historic spaces. The choice of a particular material and its association with people and place is integral to her work. And when commissioned by the museum to create this new piece, heavy 32mm rope was the material she decided upon.

The dramatic work is intended to highlight the stories of those who were imprisoned, lived and sometimes died at Nottingham’s Shire Hall – a former courthouse and prison.

Six freestanding pillars, woven from manila rope, line up to bear witness in front of the gallows in the 18th century outdoor exercise yard. Each pillar was created in situ, via a process similar to the traditional craft of French knitting. A giant machine was developed to knit and loop the rope together and the 7ft structures are intended to wear and transform over time.


So, why did she choose rope?

Firstly, it alludes to the rope noose that looms over the installation. Lots of prisoners would have been executed in the yard and ‘Witness’ invites visitors to contemplate the fragility of life.

The strenuous repetitive way in which the pillars were made links to the penal labour of ‘picking oakum’ – in which prisoners were forced to pick apart old rope to remove tar. What’s more, the rope is tightly knitted, but will start to sag due to its exposure to the elements – and this is intended to symbolise how lives, families, and communities are strongly woven together, but can still be unravelled by circumstance.

That’s a lot of meaning behind a few lengths of 32mm manila!

Artist making art installation from manila rope Finished rope art installation

‘Witness’ will be on display at the National Justice Museum until mid-2022. So, why not go and take a look for yourself? To find out more and plan your visit, head over to


Got an interesting story about our rope?

This is just one incredible way in which our ropes have been used – one that has certainly put a big smile on our faces. And we’re eager to discover more…

If you’ve shopped with us recently – whether for manila rope, like that used by Susie, or any of our other products – we’d love to hear from you. We’re always delighted to hear your reviews and see photographs of our ropes in action, and contacting us is really easy. You can either submit a testimonial using our online form or send an email to

We always post the best stories on social media and try to promote our customers’ interests as much as ours. So why not get in touch? Whether you’ve used our rope for a small home project, business purposes, or to create something as equally impressive as ‘Witness’, be sure to let us know!


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