Rock Factory

We went to visit a rock factory, where they make an array of yummy confectionery including sticks of rock, sweets/candies and lollipops. Rock is made of boiled sugar and is hard similar to a candy cane, it is an essential part of a British seaside holiday and is often bought by tourists for themselves or as presents. My hubby remembers as a child often receiving sticks of rock from people who had been on holiday. At the factory we saw first-hand how they made the confectionery and we had so much fun that I was inspired to create this page.

I started by stamping round circles by alternating Picked Raspberry and Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink on a circle stamp which was made from an empty tube from the roll of a sticky tape. Next I divided the page diagonally with washi tape to create four sections. I’ve had this tape in my craft stash for a while and if you look closely you’ll see it has tiny sweets on it. Then I used a mask to ensure the inside of the circles remained white and stencilled different coloured stripes in each of the four sections using Festive Berries, Cracked Pistachio, Spiced Marmalade and Seedless Preserves Distress Ink. These colours and stripes reminded me of the rock at the factory. To add more definition to the stripes I used a ruler to draw a line in a corresponding colour using Uni Posca paint pens (another new crafting goody, grin!). Then I placed a polka dot flower in the centre of each circle to represent the centre of the rock. The striped canopy, border, sticks of rock and wording are fussy cut from an advertising leaflet which I stuck to the page using a UHU Stic. The owners of the factory kindly gave me a copy of their logo to use for my page, which I fussy cut and stuck down using a UHU Stic. Once the glue had dried I outlined the logo with a pink and a blue Uni Posca paint pen. I also used the blue paint pen to outline the canopy, border and leaflet wording. Next I added the words “fun; trip; sweet; gobble; happy” which are rub-on transfers; they remind me of the great time we had at the factory. To finish the page, I embellished the sections with tiny sweets that I had cut from the washi tape and gem stars, and I added strips of gems along the edge of the washi tape, canopy and border.

I’m pleased to be able to join Rosie’s theme over at Art Journal Journey with my “Circles” of rock .

I thought you might like to join us on our tour. We arrived at the Coronation World factory which is the home of Coronation Rock just before lunchtime. We found out that they were established in 1927 and have always been a family run business; it is the largest rock factory in Blackpool being one of the only three rock factories remaining.

We went to the factory shop and were greeted by one of the owners, who very kindly explained the different processes we could see from the viewing gallery and answered our questions. As you can see the factory was a hive of industry, on the back wall behind the blue table is where they make the rock from the raw ingredients, which are heated in big copper pans. It is then poured onto the cooling slabs (the tables behind the blue table) and when it is ready it is then used in different ways to make either sticks of rock, individual sweets/candies or lollipops.

We found out that they have both a wholesale range and custom range of products and that they don’t need to advertise as they are always inundated with orders from companies and stores worldwide.

This was a HUGE stick of rock which was custom-made for a company! We also found out more about the history of Blackpool rock making – “How do they put the letters in the rock?” by watching the video they have screening in the shop. You can also steer the CCTV cameras to get a really close look at the action on the factory floor!

To make the sweets, they add colour and flavour when the rock mixture is on the cooling slab, then as it cools it is worked and once at the right temperature they form it into a design on the blue heated table. It is then transferred to the batch roller on the sweet line, which rolls the batch into a continuous rope. Once the rope has reduced to the correct size it is fed into the sweet wrapping machine, which cuts it into small sweets/candies and wraps them.

They were also making lollipops for a very famous store – Harrods! How cool is that, I bet you can’t guess what my friends are getting for presents this year, well if it’s good enough for Harrods it’s good enough for us (grin!).

As you can see from these moulds, they produce lollipops for some famous companies too.

We were kindly given a free sample to try; these are lime flavoured sweets and they were still warm from the machine and tasted very yummy! We were told that the three most popular flavours are traditional mint, fruit cocktail and aniseed. In the shop we also spotted blackcurrant, cherry, coconut, cola, pineapple, raspberry, rhubarb and strawberry as well stranger flavours like curry, chili, beer, whiskey and gin & tonic.

We had the most wonderful time and it was fascinating to watch them making the sweets and lollipops. If you want to see how they make the different rock products at this factory then take a look at this amazing video – I think the staff must have asbestos hands (grin!).

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Picked Raspberry, Chipped Sapphire, Festive Berries, Cracked Pistachio, Spiced Marmalade, Seedless Preserves)
  • Uni Posca Paint Pens (White, Pink, Light Green, Violet, Blue)
  • Ranger Claudine Hellmuth Studio 6×6 Stencil (Our Town HSC36920)
  • Circle stamp – tube
  • Logo and leaflet
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Sentiments (Spring #ROY-506, Summer #ROY505, Thanksgiving #ROY-522)
  • The Works (Printed Washi Tape)
  • Wilko stickers (Flower Embellishments)
  • The Range Adhesive Craft Gems (Assorted Shapes CR0869)
  • UHU Stic
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