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Art for everyone – Made in Corby

The residents of Oakley Vale, in Corby have just unveiled new works of art by sculptor Richard Janes, as part of a ‘Made in Corby’ scheme to bring art to the masses. Premier Galvanizing Corby was proud to play a part by galvanizing the steel.

‘Made in Corby’ is an exciting organisation that recognises and draws inspiration from the identity and reputation of Corby. As part of a national Creative People and Places network, funded by the Arts Council of England, its aim is to inspire local people from Corby to take the lead in experiencing, creating and taking part in high quality arts and cultural activities. With this in mind, ‘Made in Corby’ created an ambitious and exciting three-year programme, involving local residents, to install sculptural works of art at Oakley Vale, a 436-acre housing development situated in the South West of Corby.

‘Made in Corby’ encouraged local people from Oakley Vale to get involved, right from the start, in commissioning the works of art. An enthusiastic panel of residents from Oakley Vale Community Association volunteered and went through a process of deciding what would be right for the community. They took part in workshops, they ran design workshops for local children to take part in the process, and they even went on a road trip to London to see various pieces of sculptural art as part of an inspirational exercise.

The next step was to choose the artist. Under the ‘Made in Corby’ banner, it had to be someone local and gifted, and sculptor Richard Janes, was chosen.

Richard Janes is an artist who specialises in designing and fabricating sculpture and applied sculptural artworks which are created and sited across the UK and internationally. Richard’s work includes commissions from public, corporate and private clients. He was happy to take part in the ‘Made in Corby’ project and he set to work designing three pieces of sculpture, taking inspiration from the local surroundings, the oak forest that was originally on the site of the new housing development, as well as the existing wildlife and the industry that is still alive in the town:

Richard Janes explains his rationale for the designs in this video produced by ‘Made in Corby’ and HD Media CIC.

The children at the local community centre also had a hand in the design which reflects the local wildlife of the area.

Richard Janes and Premier Galvanizing Corby

The sculptures designed and fabricated by Richard Janes are primarily made from steel. As steel corrodes and rusts over time, it needs to be protected with a hot dip galvanized coating. Premier Galvanizing Corby was chosen to provide this service.

The steel was delivered to the Corby plant and representatives from ‘Made in Corby’, alongside Richard Janes, were invited to the galvanizing plant to see the metal treatment in action, and so that they could film the processes as part of their video diaries.

Richard Janes describes the hot dip galvanizing process in the video:

“The galvanizing is [necessary] to make the sculpture last much longer. The galvanising is 130 microns thick, which will provide more than 60-70 years before the sculptures need treating again. The galvanizing is also important as it reflects Corby’s industry, an industry that is still alive in the town.

Step one is the pickling process which removes the mill scale and any deposits that are on the steel, so that the zinc can adhere to the sculpture. After pickling, step two happens, where the steel is put into a flux bath which allows the zinc to run all over the steel very quickly, creating an even coating. Then – step three – the steel is dipped into the zinc bath at 450 degrees, and it emerges looking all silver and magical. Finally, it is dipped into a cleaning bath which puts a film on the surface which gives the surface greater longevity.

Seeing it rise out of the zinc tank is magical. It brings the creative idea into a reality.”

You can watch the full video here.

The culmination of the project

The ‘Made in Corby’ project was a great success and everyone was happy to play their part, from the local community, to the sculptor, to Premier Galvanizing, the Arts Council of England, and of course the people behind ‘Made in Corby’.

The three sculptures have been erected at Oakley Vale and the grand unveiling took place on Saturday 15 July. You can see some pictures on the ‘Made in Corby’ Facebook page: You can also watch a video of the unveiling here.

Helen Wilmott from ‘Made in Corby’ said it is a great way to give “local people a say about how public money is spent on art”.

Premier Galvanizing Corby said: “We were honoured to be chosen as the hot dip galvanizers for this wonderful project. We attended the unveiling on Saturday and the finished products look beautiful and amazing against the backdrop of Oakley Vale. Well done to everyone involved!”


(The photos to the right show elements of the sculptures being galvanized at Premier Galvanizing.)

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