Beam was appointed by the Principal Towns team and the Stairfoot Ward Alliance at Barnsley Council to develop a creative commissioning programme to enhance the identity of the Stairfoot Basin area, Barnsley.

Artist Andrew Small was selected by a steering group formed of representatives from the Principal Towns team, Central Council Area Team, Stairfoot Ward Alliance and the Stairfoot Station Heritage Park Group following an open call artist selection process. 

The artist’s brief was to deliver a series of ambitious permanent commissions that support a positive identity for Stairfoot during an important period of change, creating an element of surprise for residents and visitors.

Andrew Small’s design celebrates Stairfoots’ industrial heritage of producing the iconic Codd Bottle the local mining community and the brick works. The design process involved a period of researching the local area’s histories to be reflected within the work, whilst interpreting any heritage aspects within a contemporary visual context. Ideas were explored through a series of workshops with the steering group and pupils from Barnsley Academy Secondary School.

The piece ‘Can you see us’, incorporates key industrial notes from the past using the profile of the Codd Bottle’s negative form as the overriding shape. (The main Codd Bottle production factory was in Stairfoot) The piece references the coal industry and the surface design uses prismatic reflective rectangles in a tessellated brick pattern.

As the central focal point, a 3D printed piece of coal represents the iconic Codd Bottle marble. 

Andrew collaborated with fabricators and installers Hamilton Engineering (special thanks to John Hamilton) and printers and vinyl fitters The Printroom UK (special thanks to Mario, Martin and Steve.

This project commenced in spring 2020 and has experienced various ups and downs due to the pandemic so all involved are delighted to see the artwork finally come to life for everyone to enjoy.

Video of the installation:

Photo credit: Timm Cleasby

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