Well, it has been a strange 18 months at EH HQ (as I’m sure it has been for pretty much every one!) After a house-move, a studio relocation and a pandemic of all things, we’re just about ready to get back on track.
Looking back a little while though, I’d like to share a very special project which took place before all the upheaval.
Two very dear friends of mine (we’ll call them B and H) commissioned me to make a pair of wedding rings in keeping with the the ‘celestial’ theme of their wedding. The subject was very much at the forefront of my mind thanks to the recent launch of my Orrery collection, inspired the the wonders of our solar system, so I was very excited to be given this wonderful opportunity.
I wanted to draw on the etching techniques I had been practicing in my recent work and began researching historical art etchings of celestial events, looking at the marks used to create shading and definition. I also visited the Royal Observatory to examine the beautiful old navigational tools on display, full of graceful curves and roman numerals.
From a few possible options, the couple selected a very personal take on the brief. H’s ring, drawing on his fascination with astrolabes and navigational instruments, would include the co-ordinates of the site of the wedding ceremony – a place particularly close to their hearts. B’s would look to the sky, and using data from a predictive astronomy tool, would be studded with gold in the formation of the stars that would be visible along the galactic plane on the date and time of the wedding.
I got to work on the rings, first of all soldering together the gold and silver strips for H’s ring, and then carefully hand drawing both the designs on to the masking fluid in preparation for the etching tank.
After forming both the newly etched rings in to the required sizes, I began the process of drilling out the holes which would accommodate the tiny sections of gold wire representing the stars on B’s ring. Soldering these in to place was a painstaking process, and required much use of Tippex to protect the previous solders as I worked my way around the ring. By the time I had finished it looked extremely gunky and inelegant!
After much cleaning, sawing off the excess and careful sanding however, the two rings were beginning to resemble their finished forms and were ready for polishing and oxidising.
The wedding itself was, I have to say, one of the most beautiful, joyful and heartfelt ceremonies I have ever witnessed and I was very honoured to been given the chance to contribute to such a unique and special occasion. I wish all the love and luck the heavens can bring to them going forward.