A local artistic landmark is being created in Cradley Heath through a partnership between Halesowen College and A Perry & Co (Hinges) Ltd, a leading manufacturer and supplier of hinges, hardware, ironmongery, chain and threaded bar, which has been based in the West Midlands for the past 93 years. 

The independent, family-owned company has offered the opportunity of designing a representative sculpture of its business to second year students at Halesowen College, supporting them in achieving their final diploma assignment.

Florence Thompson, winning design student

The project was assigned to those students whose preferred artistic discipline is 3D work. After reviewing the submissions, A Perry chose the overall winner, 18-year-old Florence Thompson, who will be awarded with a tablet for her achievement. Florence‘s design captures A Perry’s heritage and expertise, as it represents vividly the strong link between the history and future of the brand through two linked hands. 

The sculpture will be brought to life by local artist Phil Bayliss over the next few months. He’ll be using A Perry’s products including threaded bar, chain and various types of hinges to complete it.

Model of the sculpture

John Murray, director of organisational development at Halesowen College, says: “The assignment was an ideal opportunity for students to work on a commercially relevant ‘live brief’. Within the Creative Arts Faculty, staff are keen to provide learners with experience of real world applications to enhance their skills. 

“We are eager to stress the employment opportunities that exist within the creative industries and this particular project is both commercially and aesthetically interesting. It provided students with a structured set of customer requirements to work to and it involved them presenting their initial sketches and models to the customer, explaining their concepts and thought processes. 

“Going forward, the relationship between Halesowen College and A Perry & Co is developing well and we are identifying future projects that we can get involved with. We are grateful for the partnership and hope an increasing number of students will be able to benefit from these exciting opportunities.”

L to R, T to B Phil Bayliss sculptor, Florence Thompson, winning design student, Guy Perry MD of A Perry

Guy Perry, managing director A Perry & Co, who joined the family firm in 1981 as an apprentice, says: “A Perry takes its commitment to nurture and develop local talent very seriously and we are working proactively towards providing opportunities for these students within our industry aligned with our Progress with Perry apprenticeship programme, which provides opportunities for long-term employment within our organisation. 

“We’re opening our doors to fresh, determined minds whose vision aligns with our motto: ‘We don’t do boring’. The process has been very exciting so far and now everyone’s on tenterhooks waiting for Florence’s project to be turned into reality.”