A DISTINCTIVE sculpture which has become a familiar sight at a business park is marking its tenth anniversary.

The huge head and shoulders sculpture has greeted visitors and workers to Aycliffe Business Park, which is just off the A167, for the past decade.

The sculpture, In Our Image, was designed by Newcastle-based artist Joseph Hillier, it took two years to complete and is designed to look as if it is under construction to honour the workers who make everyday household goods.

For Aycliffe Fabrications, the company commissioned to manufacture the 16-metre, 4.7-tonne scaffolding structure, it has become a proud showpiece of its quality workmanship.

Five welders from the firm were used as models for the near life-size laser-cut figures that appear to be working and climbing on the grid of welded steel.

The anniversary represents a journey of success for the firm. Christine Bewley took over as sole owner and managing director at Aycliffe Fabrications in 2015, and was determined to mould it into one of the best small companies in the area.

She said: “Although I took over in 2015, I have been with the business for more than 30 years and was a key member of the team involved in the manufacture and installation of In Our Image.
“It was an exciting and stressful time ensuring the structure was manufactured to specification and the artist’s requirements, then transported to site and erected. 

“The satisfaction we experienced was overwhelming and still is, every day I drive past.”

The £165,000 artwork was originally commissioned by Sedgefield Borough Council, but became the responsibility of the county council after the creation of Durham’s unitary authority.

Aycliffe Fabrications continues its work with the local community, including partnerships with the University Technical College (UTC) South Durham since its inception in 2015, offering work placements, apprenticeship experience, student projects and presentations to help the students understand and experience workplace life. 

Its most recent project, a Cor-ten seat, was commissioned by artist Jane Crawford to commemorate the County Durham First World War heroes, the Bradford brothers.

The Northern Echo: In 2009, In Our Image artist Joseph Hillier presented miniature sculpturesIn 2009, In Our Image artist Joseph Hillier presented miniature sculptures

Further information about Aycliffe Fabrications is available via www.aycliffefabrications.co.uk, on Twitter and LinkedIn,  info@aycliffefabrications.co.uk, or 01325-310000.