To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the reconstitution of the Trades House and Merchant House, Cocker was invited to make a public piece of sculpture.
Historically, Merchant City was the home of merchants and craftsmen. To represent the importance of these trades to the city, the artist’s idea was to create tools in an open-weave basket, like a bunch of flowers in a vase.
Each symbolising a different trade or role, ten different tools in total make up the contents of the basket. Six of these tools represent the trades of Glasgow, with the other four representing people’s roles in the city.
Present in the basket are: a builder’s chisel, a shoemaker’s knife, a tailor’s square, a mason’s dividers, a dyer’s tongs and a baker’s peel (a long-handed paddle used for moving bread in an oven). There is also a ship’s mast and bobbin to represent the role of the merchants, with a mace and a crozier being symbols for the city’s civic and religious roles.