Priceless WWII Heirloom – November 2018

Back in November 2018, I was contacted and commissioned by a Chloe Constantidies.

She needed a very special project created using a Priceless WWII Heirloom. No pressure…

Some time ago, Chloe joined her family on a trip to Poland to her grandmothers childhood home. Some of the structure was still there from when they evacuated during the German invasion in WWII!

So Chloe and her brother grabbed a very large nail from the hundred year old structure and brought it home as a momento.

Prior to Chloe hearing about me, she had a few other “artists” attempt to encase the relic into a block of resin. All of these attempts had failed miserably. One even caught fire! (I still have no idea how they achieved that!!)

Luckily for Chloe, she met someone who told her about me. When she called and I quote, said, “I was told, if anyone can do it…it’s Will.”

Now, that lovely compliment aside, these, days I rarely do art for private commissions. This is mainly due to my schedule being so full. And that is completely fine with me.

So, I met with Chloe and she told me this beautiful story about her Grandmother and the nail. She also gave a set of GPS coordinates on a cheap brass plaque that she wanted me to apply to the piece when it was done.

After a few minutes of working out what she wanted, it was then my turn.

So, I took the artefact home, cleaned, burnished and encased it, layer by layer, until it was a 30mm block of foggy cured resin. Then came the fun part…Sanding and Polishing!

This seemed to take forever, but I had budgeted for the time so it wasn’t the end of the world. I went through all the grits and then finished off with the Festool MPA 9010 Speed Gloss Polish and a buffing pad.

Lo and behold, the piece came out water clear!

Now for the hard part.

I thought that the brass plaque would look terribly out of place on this ice-clear block. And then, BAM! It hit me! I wonder if I could get this laser engraved?

There is a lot of variables (in my mind) with engraving something. Especially, when it is something that is clear, plastic, fragile and one of a kind!  So, just to be safe, I made a spare block to test on. Yes…I went through the whole process again. Casting layers, sanding, buffing, polishing. Finally after another week it was ready and I first went to an engraver.

The engraving process that the first company offered produced too much heat and melted the plastic.

The 2nd process was done by a laser at Mike’s Multiservice at Karrinyup Shopping centre. The gentlemen there were super helpful and went so far as to help me pick fonts and sizes and even did a few different runs on the sample piece so that we knew we had it right before we started the whole process on the actual artwork.

Even they weren’t sure at first but once we did the test run it only took a few minutes to jig up the actual piece and to get it fully engraved.

As you can see the piece turned out better than I thought it would and the client was rapt and so was her extended family!

So much fun!!

Sound interesting? Let’s create some stuff!