Traditional Kelpie is a metalwork of art

Traditional Kelpie is a metalwork of art

Traditional Kelpie is a metalwork of art

A collective creative effort from around 80 Forth Valley College mechanical, welding and fabrication students over two years has produced a spark of kelpie genius.

The original Pictish kelpie sculpture design – half horse half fish – was the brainchild of FVC Welding and Fabrication lecturer James Constable during one of the college’s innovative cross departmental Creative Learning Action Community (CLAC) workshop in 2015.

He returned to the college’s Engineering workshops at the Falkirk Campus, and enlisted the help of Department Technician colleague Alex Fagan to help with the project. And, over the last two years they have inspired more than 80 City and Guilds Level 2 students and Modern Apprentices to work on the aluminium sculpture incorporating many techniques – such as metal shaping, welding, pop riveting and pipe shaping – that they would learn as part of their college work.

The result is a superb piece of art which all those who have worked on it have added their initials, and Forth Valley College Principal Dr Ken Thomson was so impressed with, that he has promised it will take up a prominent position on display in the new Falkirk Campus which is due for completion in 2019. Till then it will be displayed in the front entrance window of the Falkirk Campus.

The Kelpie is:

  • Made of more than 300 scales
  • Has at least 400 rivets
  • Around 20 kilograms in weight
  • Almost two metres in length from head to tail
  • Took almost 200 man hours to create
  • And is made of entirely recycled material

James, who was born in Inverness and was brought up with the Highland stories about the Kelpies, said:

“It is beyond words for me to see it completed and unveiled. To see it all come together has been just fantastic. All the students and MAs who worked on it should be very proud of themselves and I am glad they all have their initials on it somewhere. I still can’t work out whether it's engineering, art, or a group of students having fun!

“I am genuinely moved that Principal Ken Thomson is impressed enough to make it pride of place in the new campus. I must say the whole creative learning approach on this project has been very exciting and very worthwhile.”

Forth Valley College Principal Dr Ken Thomson, said:

“What an exceptional piece of work this is! This is a great example of the professionalism, expertise and skill that is present here at Forth Valley College. A huge thanks goes to Jim Constable for his inspiration and ideas and for the students… it is going to be great for all those involved to be able to come back in 20, 30 or 40 years’ time and see a piece of art like this in the new Falkirk Campus.”

Kenny MacInnes, Head of the Department of Applied Science, Maths and Engineering, said:

“This unique Kelpie sculpture exemplifies the creative aspect of learning at Forth Valley College and demonstrates the strength of the collaborative relationship between our staff and students. The level of design, detail and craftsmanship in this sculpture signifies the diverse range of skills our student engineers acquire at Forth Valley College, which will support them well throughout their future careers. This has been a fantastic project and I think the result speaks for itself.”

Dougie Ross, Curriculum Manager, Applied Science, Maths and Engineering, added:

“Jim is one part of a strong team in the fabrication and welding department. Thinking back two years ago when this project was just a sketch to standing here today looking at the finished fabrication Jim and all the students should feel very proud of their achievement. The standard of the Kelpie excels in all aspects of metalwork and welding.” 

Anthony McDonough (23) from Cumbernauld a Level 3 City and Guilds Welding and Fabrication, student who worked on the Kelpie, said:

“It really was something different to work on and we helped with some fillet welds on the inner thigh of the Kelpie. It looks pretty cool.”

Joshua Hurst (24) from Falkirk, also a Level 3 City and Guilds Welding and Fabrication student, added:

“Everyone who had a part to play has done really well. It has definitely been enjoyable to work on this project and something I would not thought I would have been doing before I joined the course.”

Traditional Kelpie 2.JPG


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