This art work’s a steel!

Apprentices at Sheffield Forgemasters have fabricated a 14ft high scorpion sculpture from reclaimed steel in a team building and problem solving exercise.

The imposing sculpture will sit outside the entrance to Sheffield Forgemasters and all the steel used to make it will be sourced from recycled materials found on the 64-acre site.

Sheffield Forgemasters’ training officer Rick Franckeiss explained the motivation behind the project: “This is not just about making a piece of artwork, we are giving the apprentices the chance to take part in a unique team building project that brings everyone together,” he said.

“The skills they are picking up apply to their working day significantly including problem solving and innovation. This is really getting them thinking about solutions.”

The design for Sheffield Forgemasters' new stinging public statment on the dynamic careers and skills it supports.

The metal scorpion will measure four metres high, two metres wide and six metres long and will feature a pair of grasping claws, a narrow, segmented tail in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a stinger.

It has been designed by public arts sculptor Robin Widdowson from Gotham-D and involved guest artist Sara Beavan. The installation is planned for completion in Spring 2013.

It will be made by a team of 21 volunteer apprentices from Forgemasters, headed up by steel propeller project director Tony Lyons.

Other staff supporting the project include: fabrication manager Andy Sylvester, welding supervisor Phil Andrews, raw material buyer Steve Reynolds, health and safety managers Pete Webster and Darren Beeden, steel propeller engineering director Steve Smith, CAD design draughtsman Glenn Kaye and training officer Rick Franckeiss.

Jesus Talamantes-Silva, managing director of Sheffield Forgemasters newly launched engineering services subsidiary RD 26 Ltd is also on board for the creative project.
The scheme to get apprentices’ creative juices flowing to inspire better team work and problem solving was the brainchild of Forgemasters’ chief executive Graham Honeyman – he also hopes the installation will attract public attention and raise the profile of Formasters’ as a dynamic employer in the Sheffield region.

An avid lover of the arts, Mr Honeyman said: “We believe the concept of a striking piece of contemporary public art sat on the gateway to our site, will become a real landmark for the city region. The fact that the scorpion will be made by apprentices using recycled materials from our company and manufacturing processes is particularly important.”