This Weekend at East Kingdom Twelfth Night (2018), held in the Barony of Endewearde, I had the honor, the privilege and the joy to be a part of the elevation of my dear friend, Molly Schofield, into the Order of the Pelican. I was invited to create a Medallion for their Majesties Ivan and Matilde to present to her as part of the ceremony. It was a wonderfully emotional experience that I am glad to have been a part of and a memory that I will cherish.
For this medallion I sought out a source work that would match Molly’s 14th Century persona, and theme of her elevation. I discovered this photo taken from the Flicker account of Lawrence OP https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/5695514680
The design is based upon the ceiling boss of the Thistle Chapel in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. I chose this as inspiration for a wearable medallion. I chose this inspiration due to encircling sun’s rays that harkened to Molly’s device, (Per bend sinister gules and argent, a sun counterchanged) and for the fierce countenance of the Pelican that reminded me of Moly’s fierce loyalty for her family and friends and for the Kingdom of the East.
The medallion is solid fine silver; some portions plated with gold. The ‘blood drop’ is a gemstone donated by Cailte Crobdurg Mac Scandal, and the eye is Swarovski crystal.
The method of production begins with digitally manipulating the original image obtained from the Flicker account of Lawrence OP https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/5695514680. After the image is manipulated, it is then rendered using 3D printer into PLA plastic to create a base from which build from.
A mold is then generated of this model from silicone substituting for a more natural rubber that would have been used in period. From this mold a plaster model is cast. This plaster master is then carved to increase relief and detail and to better achieve an aesthetic similar to the inspirational carving.
Another mold is then created from this plaster carving, destroying the fragile carving in the process. This mold is then used to create wax models that are once again re-carved to increase the level of relief detail and to impart additional texture to the medallion.
This wax model is then used to create investment molds using lost wax techniques with modern equipment. More period techniques would call for using beeswax and clay to create the mold, but I have substituted modern jewelers wax and plaster investment. I used separate molds for the inner circle and the sun ray outer circle and joined them after casting.
The silver casting is then cleaned and made ready for the setting of the stones and areas are highlighted with Gold plating using modern brush on plating.
While the design was inspired by the ceiling of the Thistle Chapel, I made some modifications and changes to the design in the conversion from the original carved wood to the cast silver medallion. I used several modern materials, technologies and equipment to create a piece that would maintain an aesthetic that was period in feel and appearance while using historically accurate methods when possible.
More details about the Thistle Chapel at St. Giles cathedral can be found at:
For more information about lost wax casting I recommend reading Tim McCreight’s “Practical Casting” and “The Complete Metalsmith”.