Sculpture design winner

AN ABERDEENSHIRE pupil has seen his life-size sculpture design become a reality as it goes on display at a North Sea oil company’s headquarters.

A design by sixth year Portlethen Academy student Ross Philip will be a permanent feature in Maersk Oil North Sea UK Limited’s wildlife bio-diversity garden.

Ross (17), of Muchalls, came top in a design competition hosted by the company to create a model inspired by the oil industry and the indigenous wildlife of the area.

Staff at Maersk Oil voted for their favourite out of the 35 entries and Ross took first place with around 35% of the vote. The base for his design was fabricated by Whitakers Engineering in Stonehaven, and the top was cast by the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden. The finished sculpture has now been turned into an eye-catching installation.

The competition was the culmination of six months of research and development by pupils. The project formed part of their Intermediate 1 and 2 coursework and was just one of the many initiatives in the long-standing relationship between Maersk Oil and Portlethen Academy.

The sculpture, entitled ‘The Winde’, consists of a fabricated steel section which represents industry, with a bronze tree mounted on top.

The tree was made at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop by Eden Jolly who has been teaching the techniques of metal castings to other artists and students for a number of years. It was made from over 60 individual bronze casts made from real branches which were then welded together and once finished, a copper nitrate patina was applied to the bronze giving the blue colour and the two parts were brought together. Art and design pupils from Portlethen Academy helped with the process.

Ross said: “I was really pleased to win the competition and now to see my design in real-life size is amazing. The sculpture looks impressive and I’m delighted that my design will be a permanent feature in Maersk Oil’s large garden.”

Harry Yorston, director of Maersk Oil, said: “We wanted a design that reflected both the wide variety of plants and wildlife which are native to the north-east and the industry which has helped define it. Students were given free rein to come up with ideas which were as diverse and imaginative as possible and we were overwhelmed by the standard.”