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A Perry & Co partners with local Halesowen College to create new artistic landmark

Published: 9 May 2018 - Kiran Grewal

A new local artistic landmark is due to be created in Cradley Heath through a partnership between Halesowen College and A Perry & Co (Hinges) Ltd, a 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.

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

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.  

All students involved in the project will be able to use the work they have created to gain a credit towards their qualifications. The project aligns with an assignment that second year students are completing as part of the final year of their BTEC Extended Diploma in Art & Design.

The process commenced with the students’ visit to A Perry’s premises at Doulton Road, Cradley Heath to view its products and to receive a comprehensive overview of the company’s ethos and history in the region. Managing director Guy Perry and his son Steven, who also works for the company and heads up the home & garden décor products called Primus, then visited the college on two occasions to check on the direction the students were taking and to provide additional feedback. The students responded to the challenge in a committed, professional manner, producing five interesting concepts which were put forward for approval to A Perry’s board of directors.

Director of organisational development at Halesowen College, John Murray said: “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.”

Managing director, Guy Perry who joined the family firm in 1981 as an apprentice, said: “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.”

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