You may have read on previous posts that I was apart of the design and making team for this years Eisteddfod crown, Y Goron. Monday was the crowning day for the Bardd at the Eisteddfod and I was lucky enough to be there.
Although I am a welsh girl through and through I have never before had the opportunity to visit the Eisteddfod. I missed out! Visiting on Monday was a wonderful experience that I will hopefully get to repeat. There is a strong theme of Welsh culture there along with Welsh businesses of all kinds, charities and artists. There are shows and competitions for you to see, all of a super high standard. We sat outside the pavilion for a little while listening to a choir … they sounded heavenly.
The day began by meeting at Andrew Coombers, the lead artists house, before traveling down to the Maes. We then had a chance to wander around a little before Morven and I were interviewed by the BBC, about our role in making the crown … I was excited but incredibly nervous. The most flummoxing question was ‘how did I want to be announced’! Was quite tempted to say Lady Sarah of the hamlet of Wrexham, but I didn’t, I gave a sensible answer. The interview can be seen here … I’m on around the 20 min mark for those who are interested.
(ADDED: I’m aware that this link is now saying it’s not available, I’m hoping they will add it to iplayer soon!)
We grabbed some tappas for lunch and then Andrew and Morven went off to fit the crown and give it a final polish. Sadly only two were allowed in to do this because of security, so I had a nice wander around the vendors. There were some stunning hand crafted items available to buy.
We then visited the Glyndwr University stand. The staff from Techniquest had brought some really cool things to display. The most memorable were some holograms and a huge tent, that when you went inside depicted the night sky and weather systems. When I went in it was like sitting in the middle of a storm … very cool!
Then the moment had arrived, the actual crowning. The ceremony is like nothing I have ever experienced. It’s quite surreal, with heavy druidic influences. An experience I will never forget though. Watching the crown being built bit by bit I could never imagine someone actually wearing it, to see it on the Bardd’s head was amazing … he looked very regal.
The complete footage of the ceremony can be found below, it’s all in Welsh but it’s still good to watch visually. Our bit comes on at around 13 mins :o)
Today I have soldered the granulations to the pieces … I love how the gold seem to glow amongst the silver. I’m really pleased with how everything has turned out. I still have a couple of pieces that I would like to add to the collection, but I am happy with what I have delivered today. Once I am back in the workshops I will definitely be working on some extra pieces, starting with the cufflinks. I’ve got idea’s for small studs and a tie pin as well. I’m eager to include men’s jewellery into my collections. They seem to be a sector that is lacking in contemporary pieces, but so far the only items I can think to add to my ranges are tie pins and cufflinks
I decided to colour the pieces with platinol patina. It turns the silver an antique black kind of colour. I use Renaissance Wax to seal the colour on my pieces. It works beautifully and really enhances the colours by making them look warmer and sometimes more intense.
I finished the day off by delivering them to the Museum. I have also delivered the order for the lady who wanted the studs to match the bridesmaid dresses. Both seemed to be pleased with their pieces.
The other pieces in the group shot are part of my Bubbles collection. I am hoping to add gold elements to them soon, but the museum requested this collection so they have the silver versions for now.
Today I am back in the workshops working on more of my bubbles collection. I think I have all the pieces now to form a collection, I’m just making repeat copies to build stock up for the craft stall in Liverpool on Sunday. Today I have be some studs made (so far…) the components for two pendants and some drop earrings. I have plans to make a couple of sets of stack rings and then may if I have enough time.
Tomorrow I’m hoping to work on samples for the Mold Cape exhibition. I have my designs drawn up, some I’m not going to make into samples as I don’t think they would be suitable for this project but I’m eager to test out couple of designs.
Its been interesting sitting in the Degree show today, I’m much more positive about things. I’m still not sure what I want to do when I am completely finished. My application is in to study for a Masters, but I’m not sure yet if I will be accepted or if I’m ready to do one, I think it will be a case of seeing if I am accepted and then going from there.
My general rule is never say never, always consider your options before you make a decision. Maybe after new designers something will point me in the right direction ….
Today was the final assessment! I can honestly say it has been the worst one for things going wrong.
My assessment slot was 2pm and I spend right up until the last second finishing pieces, photographing and generally making sure everything was as ready as it could be. The problem was that because I was working like this, I now feel that I could have done so much better than what I did.
Whilst I was photographing my pieces what I did realise that I really really loved was both the distortion of the roots or granulation when you looked through the pieces through different angles and the shadows they create when you shine a light through them. I think this is the best part about them.
But it is over now, worrying about it won’t change the outcome. The tutors were really positive about my work though so fingers crossed. I get to relax for a couple of days now before I start to set up the degree show.
Yesterday I spent the entire day sanding back resin … it’s one of the reasons why I hate it as a material. I love the final effect and I think it looks beautiful when it is crystal clear, but getting it to that point is taking hours ….
When I got home I carried on working making the silver fittings for the pieces. My plan was to set them at home and finish the pieces tomorrow, but by the time 3am hit I knew that without staying up all night the setting wasn’t going to get done. I managed to make all of the brooch backs and most of the chain fittings.
Today I finished them all off and set them in the pieces. I have never been so glad to get to the final stages of a project! I’m pleased that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
There is now less than a week until my final assessment of Uni and I am panicking.
I have finished all the replacement roots and enamelled them. I didn’t think I would be setting anything in resin as some bright spark has added water to the catalyst which has basically ruined the whole bottle. If you add the catalyst to the resin gel, it bubbles and froths and goes the colour of muddy puddles! Luckily the technician had some more in stock, so disaster averted I carried on setting them. The root pieces that I skimmed yesterday really didn’t turn out as I had hoped so I’m glad that I had the extra roots to reset.
There wasn’t really much more I could do in the afternoon so I concentrated on some of the pop up shop things. It was really nice to do something that wasn’t root related.
Today I have set the last of the roots in resin. I hope that they turn out ok.
I have also finished off my medals. I used a copper nitrate wash on them. The wash has darkened some area’s, highlighted others with a bright teal green and then I have highlighted certain area’s with a high shine polish. All in all it’s worked really well and I am really pleased with them. I’ve now wrapped them up and put them away … they way my luck is going if I left them out they would be ruined!
The cast is finally complete!
I completed the cast today with the metal pour. All the medals cast ok, but they could of done with a couple more sprue’s in to help the metal reach all the parts of the mould easily enough. I’m looking forward to patinating and polishing them now, although it’s a lot easier to see the finished piece in my head now that they are made in metal. I’m quite impressed with them.
I also finished soldering and enamelling the roots. I was conscious of the silver being too close to the bottom of the pieces so I placed the roots how I wanted them on one of the wooden formers used to make the moulds before soldering. I really like them just on their own, so all kinds of idea’s are floating around about how to progress the design.
I just need to set these in resin now to complete the set.