BAMS Re-Visited: Contextualisation: Thomas Sabo Charms.

vintage moon and star
“Vintage Moon And Stars” By Thomas Sabo. £119.00. Source:

As I am re-visiting my BAMS medal design, I have started to investigate Thomas Sabo for contextualisation. His range of pendants incorporate symbols that are present in everyday life, such as stars, moon and sun. The symbolic nature of these pendants correlate with my new BAMS medal design, as I am incorporating symbolism into my concept.

moon and stars
“Moon And Stars” By Thomas Sabo. £79.00. Source:

Although this charm is simpler than that of the “Vintage Moon And Stars” pendant, I still find it elegant and sleek in design. The simplistic nature of the design gives it a warm, glowing aesthetic to the pendant.

star sign coin gold
“Star Sign Coin Gold” By Thomas Sabo. £179.00. Source:

This intrinsic design is simply gorgeous, incorporating the twelve star signs in a vintage style. The combination of the glass-ceramic green stone and the yellow-gold tone to the pendant itself creates this aesthetically pleasing charm. I find Thomas Sabo’s pendants to be absolutely stunning, which range from simplistic to more intrinsic.



BAMS Re-Visited: 3D Printed Outcome.

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I was excited to reveal my BAMS Re-Visited Medal after it was 3D printed. The detail of the bear came out well, and the text is curious because it did not print to the depths of detail that the CAD model has. Also, the Polaris Star’s raised platforms were lower than expected.

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I am going to go back into Rhino to experiment with enlarging the text and potentially the constellation. I am also going to go downstairs and talk to Craig Prymble as it could have possibly been a printing error. At this point, it is all trial and error with CAD modelling to develop a new printed outcome.


BAMS Re-Visited: Developing a New Outcome.

When last developing BAMS, my outcome was left abandoned, unfinished, and barely touched after it had been removed from the bronze tree. The design was ineffective and I felt nothing for it; I did not want to look at it, or even bother with it. This led me onto my next decision – these poor attempts in bronze will be melted back down and I will start developing a new outcome.

I did re-visit my original concept and design, picking out the small aspects in which I did like. The constellation of the Polaris Star (Ursa Minor) and the stars that was meant to represent it. With this in mind, I went into rhino to start CAD sketching out new concepts.


I wanted my medal to convey a message, and my first attempts held no symbolic value in its meaning. This helped me moving forwards with developing a new design in CAD. As seen above, I have kept the Polaris Star (Ursa Minor) constellation. It is now the forefront of the medal. I found the space around the constellation visually pleasing and I wanted to add something else to the front of the design. I initially stayed clear of text, after hearing how many people had issues with typefaces and words last year. However, I have decided to challenge myself by re-visiting BAMS, so I opted for text.

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The quote in latin is one I made up myself one evening, when I was looking out into the night sky at the stars and the moon. This reminded me of someone I lost and I started to create this quote in a notebook, absent-mindedly. It was only when I came back to redesigning my BAMS medal that I realised it fitted in nicely with the concept.

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This led me to the experimentation of different fonts and typefaces – some were too small, too bulky, others were unlegible (particularly with the quote in latin) and I decided the generic typefaces pre-uploaded onto the system was not what I was looking for. I took to the internet and came across this font “Stars” by House of Lime, and it was almost like the typeface was made for my BAMS medal. After an email discussion with Charlie Bull, it was possible to install this new font onto the network computers and import it into Rhino.

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The font was an interesting result – the stars effect running throughout the lettering gave the lettering an antique feel. This made one of my friends question how I managed to make the lettering look antique. I worked with Charlie Bull with getting the text to curve around the medal, and this took longer than I anticipated, due to technical issues we had not anticipated. The text did not want to flow along the surface (rhino didn’t want to play ball). To tackle this issue, we created a new solid that emulated the original medal. This made it easier for the CAD software to curve the text around the object, and once it was done, I simply deleted the emulated surface. This left my text perfectly curved and allowed me to simply move it over onto my medal and make the necessary tweaks and adjustments.

ursa minor

The next challenge was tackling the opposite face of the medal. I decided to have the animal that represents the constellation on the back, and knew I could import vector files from Illustrator into Rhino. I found this image on google and it was exactly what I was looking for. This was taken into Illustrator, turned into a vector file then imported into Rhino.

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I had to tidy up the imported image, create a 3D surface out of it and re-adjust the sizing. There was a lot of extra bits floating inside the bear that was not needed. This surprisingly, was the quickest part of redesigning the new medal. I just need to now re-adjust the text size, turn the stars into fully enclosed 3D surfaces and it should be ready to 3D print. This will allow me to take it into the next process of a silicon mould, where I can then take it into wax, develop a wax tree and eventually do another bronze pour.

BAMS Re-Visited: Contextualising the Way Forwards.

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Taken from The Mystic Symbols: A Complete Guide by Brenda Mallon

Although I am no longer integrating these symbols into my BAMS Re-Visited design, I was intrigued by the description of each symbol and only wished I had found this book sooner. With furthering my knowledge, I now have a better understanding of what these symbols represent, and looking back in hindsight, I feel this would have enabled me to make stronger choices within my concept and design. Regardless of past mistakes, it is still a good form of contextualisation for developing new ideas.

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Taken from The Mystic Symbols: A Complete Guide by Brenda Mallon

I was fascinated with this page because of the circular nature of the objects, but also the design within them. In particular, the “Lucky Stars” has given me an idea on how I can move forwards with my new concept design.

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Taken from The Mystic Symbols: A Complete Guide by Brenda Mallon

Likewise to the first image on this post, although these symbolic signs will not be used within my new design, I still find it relevant to learn more about them to broaden my knowledge and avoid repeating past mistakes.

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Taken from The Mystic Symbols: A Complete Guide by Brenda Mallon

As I am focusing on astrology and constellations, I found it interesting when I came across this page that depicted seals of planets. I am finding it beneficial to investigate different aspects / categories of my concept to have a better understanding on how to move my design forwards.

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Taken from The Mystic Symbols: A Complete Guide by Brenda Mallon

As I am still investigating symbolism and what signs are symbolic for what, I have found my day spent in the library worthwhile and it has inspired a new flurry of ideas, in which I am excited to start sketching out.


BAMS: Re-Visited.

With disastrous first attempts at medal making for the BAMS live brief, I felt despondent with my outcome and essentially lost all interest past my formative assessment. After a break from the subject brief whilst on my field module, I have found new inspiration to come back to this project and aim to develop it into further, more polished outcome that I can be proud of, rather than ashamed. The deadline to submit for BAMS is the 6th February, which is an unrealistic goal for me to have a new outcome for submission, so I am giving entry into BAMS this academic year a miss; however all is not lost, as I aim to contribute to Craft in the Bay submission on the 17th March. This is a more realistic goal that I can achieve within the time frame that I have.

I do aim to re-do the process of bronze casting, and this time I am more hopeful with my results, and the fact that I may enjoy the process overall, with the less likelihood of the manic rush that BAMS presented in first term. What will be different for BAMS Re-Visited is that I aim to 3D CAD model my medal design this time, instead of creating an initial idea with mark making in clay – this was a poor decision on my part as I tried to do something new on a very limited time given project, instead of playing to my strengths.

I am not changing my concept, because I feel it was not the concept that had let me down and resulted in a poorer grade than I had hoped for, I feel it was more the overall design of the medal and it’s lack of symbolic nature within the design. I feel a contributing factor to this result was at the time, a lack of confidence, poor decision making and not enough time spent designing my initial outcome. So with all this now in mind, I am re-designing my concept for the BAMS medal, with intention to keep the Polaris Star constellation and start from scratch, removing the symbolic signs of the sun and moon from it. I feel there may be a slight shift in my concept, only in that I am primarily now focusing on Navigation and Direction within astrology, leaving behind the concept of time (day and night).

I am excited to move forwards with this project with the hopes that I will develop the outcome I was hoping to achieve the first time around, and will attribute to my end of year exhibition.

BAMS: A Timeline of Progression: Bronze Pour & Its After-Effects with the Additional Resin Medal Touch-ups.

Following on from the wax burn out in the foundry, my molochite shells were heavier than they previously were and didn’t feel so fragile to touch. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of the weight of the process once the wax was melted out, but it was still quite heavy.

The introduction into bronze pouring in the foundry was interesting, because it taught me how to set up for a bronze pour, and the three positions needed to proceed with a pour.

The positions were;

1) the main pourer – this person is responsible for controlling the crucible;
2) the deadman – this person is responsible for holding the other end of the jaws for the crucible, and offer extra weight support and nothing else – this was my role; and
3) the dossiere – this role is possibly the most important of all as this person is responsible for clearing debris and rubbish from the crucible, providing a nice clean bronze pour.

(Video courtesy of Roxanne).

I found the experience of partaking in the bronze pour to be an exhausting one – the protective gear we had to wear was thick, uncomfortable leather with gloves that were far too big for my hands and really cool space boots (I liked the space boots). I understand why we had to wear the protective clothing, but it didn’t really help prevent overheating or heat exhaustion, and I found the clothing was restrictive, as I couldn’t bend down very far which resulted with me bending with my back when lowering the crucible than with my knees.

bronze pour 5

Unfortunately the fast pour into my shell caused shock and ripped through the shell casing, which let air into my mould and this caused some warping throughout the rest of my bronze pour.

After the bronze pour, we had an induction into the grinders and machine operated saws to remove the excess bronze tree form, such as the runners and main body. I personally didn’t enjoy the method as I found the excess machinery’s noise caused headaches (mind you, there was about 4 of us doing it all at once so possibly not as bad when alone), but I also found the speed of the machine tools made me panic. I will use them again though, as it defeats using a hand axe-saw to try cut into the metal form as the hand axe-saws took about 45 minutes to cut through one runner.

My medals still need work – they need fixing up from the warping issue with welding and I also need to start considering pattination and further developing my design as I am currently unhappy with how it is perceived.

I casted another medal in resin and spoke to Martin about using a dremel to work into them and polish them up. This produced a more metallic finish, than which the resin originally appeared plastic and not what I was expecting it to be. I’m happier with these but I also used lino cutters to work into the medals more, to develop deeper cuts and ridges. I’ve decided I am going to work into these resin ones more for Craft in the Bay.

BAMS: Reflective Journal Entry.

During the BAMS brief in Subject, I have learned to develop a number of new processes to create a medal.

As I did not know the full process of making a bronze medal, it came as a surprise to understand the time and multiple aspects of the process it takes to complete a minimum set of medals. Obviously it is not the material that is costly but the days of process that creates the high cost of a bronze medal.
As I am just at the beginning stages of designing and learning about process and costs, it is better to concentrate my outcomes in other less costly process based materials. For example: Pewter and Resin.


Being a short process with a quick outcome was something I enjoyed and it did not involve waiting for kilns or burn outs. This process excited me and fuelled my creativity to continue working into the materiality after the initial outcome of the medal was produced. I found the tidying process of my pewter medals therapeutic because it soothed the tension and stress with the way the tools glided over the material. The time consumed from designing in pewter is after the fact when the medal has come out of the mould, and it is working into the actual metal itself. By sanding, filing and polishing. To further my design in Pewter, I am going to experiment with mark making into the medal itself.


This material was an unknown factor to me in actually being able to create a medal from. This is a material I have never experimented with, especially with adding metallic powder to create a possible bronze finish. This slight touch of alchemy has opened up other possibilities to experiment with metallic powders and materials. The quickest outcome from a process came from the resin cast. At the present time, I have only produced one medal from this process but the tools and outcome have yet to be manifest. Looking at the colouration on the medal at this present moment, it does appear possible that a bronze/metallic outcome is quite achievable.

As far as I am concerned, this is early days in taking on new processes and new ideas to develop in such a short period, I believe that if this part of subject was given more time, I personally would have enjoyed developing and researching more background knowledge for my design. This rushed, short programme has had a negative impact on what I thought initially I would thoroughly have enjoyed. Even so, this negativity in this part of term will not completely deter me from progressing when I can work at my own pace. Looking back in retrospect, I prefer to work with materials that react on a faster basis than that of the bronze process.

To develop my designs and possibly find a direction for the medals I produce, I was considering designing commemorative astronomical and space travel events and possibly create an outlet for a market on a webpage. i.e. Etsy perhaps.