July 28, 2008

Face to Face With Business Park?S Statue

By Catherine Priestley

A STRIKING piece of public art that will stand at the entrance of one of the region?s biggest business parks has begun to take shape.

The 16-metre steel structure is intended to become a landmark on the edge of Aycliffe Business Park, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

The piece, called In Our Image, is a steel lattice in the shape of a man?s head and shoulders. It will stand on eight stilts and features five figures that appear to be working on the scaffold.

Artist Joe Hillier has begun creating a full-sized polystyrene version of the head.

The three-metre model fills a workshop at Aycliffe Fabrications, which will work with the artist on the sculpture.

Mr Hillier will plot his design around the model and engineers will follow his pattern, wrapping it in steel rods.

The polystyrene will then be blasted away, leaving the metal framework.

?This is the largest arts project we?ve worked on, ? said David Spensley, a director at Aycliffe Fabrications.

?It is a unique piece using local people, skills and local apprentices to make the park stand out.

?And local schools can get involved in an education project to find out about engineering careers. ? The [pounds]165,000 piece, backed by Sedgefield Borough Council, Durham County Council, Sedgefield Engineering Forum and Commissions North, is expected to be installed in December.

Vince Crosby, deputy leader of Sedgefield Borough Council, said: ?It will be a symbolic monument to pay tribute to the engineering skills of the North-East and the blood, sweat and tears that this area was built on. ?

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