To create a focal point within a garden of reflection at the National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield, in the form of a national mining memorial able to grow as mining families contribute to it.
Thinking about miners carrying their tags deep underground gave us the image of glass discs dropped in a wall modelled on the cross-section of a mine. Name tags cast in coloured glass would shine in the wall like miners lighting up a mine with their torches and their humanity.
The glass discs would be ordered through the museum by the families of former miners and would gradually accumulate, transforming the memorial from a wall into a stained glass window. By that time, payment taken for the discs would enable the museum to commission a second wall. If the idea caught on, this process could continue indefinitely.
For visitors connected to the mining industry, this creates a work-in-progress to which they can contribute. For other visitors, it creates a stimulating artwork and hopefully moving memorial to explore. In time, discs bearing the names of miners from collieries all over the country will come to sit side by side.
Individuals, families or groups will be able to order and purchase a glass disc through the museum website. This will enable people to participate anywhere in the country or across the world.
The sculpture wall was fabricated in corten steel Chris Brammall Ltd, and the glass discs continue to be made by Stonegate glass studio.
We supported the memorial with additional elements: a central stone seat, plus a gate and secondary seat in corten steel made by Chris Brammall.