This year’s Subject module was titled Create, which introduced the live brief of BAMS (British Artist Medal Society) competition. The idea of tailoring work to a live brief at first excited me, however the poorly organized time schedule was stressful and oft-times completely impossible to meet. I found the lack of health and safety whilst working in the foundry with a new high temperature process (wax) absolutely atrocious, as it became a fear of actual physical safety.
The health and safety regulations clearly stated only five people were supposed to be at the wax station at any given time. During this stage of the process there were at least fifteen students trying to squeeze themselves into the workshop area only designed for at maximum 5 persons. This situation almost was enough to put me of off medal engraving for the duration of the module.
My original medal design was lacking qualities of readable symbols and was poorly developed in the ceramic mould to begin with, but this was only in the initial learning stage of my design. I do feel now that in retrospect the outcome of my design would have been of a better standard should I have had more time to research.
However, once I went into Field for five weeks, I found re-designing my BAMS medal far more enjoyable, probably because the deadline to submit had passed and there were better regards for health and safety when working in the foundry, as there were the minimum amount of students in the work area at the times I was making my wax moulds.
As the weeks went by, I achieved a better feel and understanding for the materials I began to work with in designing medals. Once I settled down and felt more confident at creating a more effective design, I can really say that I began to enjoy the second section of the term. My ideas were more grounded and my aims were pretty well set on a final outcome.
As the term progressed, it was time to consider an idea to fulfill the criteria for Make Your Mark. Because in the latter half of the first term, it can be seen that I began to enjoy the whole process and it was at that point that I decided to continue developing my design in medal making. To leave learning and developing skills in this new process too soon would seem to be a waste, rather because of this position, I decided to embrace it even further to give me a greater grounding of its possibilities.
Because I continued this process, it allowed me to consider whether or not I should progress into the third year with developing my ideas further with the use of pewter, or to change focus and create a new idea all together.
In researching medals I took a visit to the Royal Mint, Llantristant which I found interesting from the actual mechanics of making and pressing a coin to the very broad variety of designs embracing the history of our country. Even though I may not decide to continue with designing medals, any form of knowledge even when related to a specific subject can be manipulated and diversified into another material. Therefore, no amount of research is ever wasted and can always be integrated into one’s work, if not at the present but in the future.