I've worked with the Trust before and did some presentations about carving there earlier this year. It was great to be asked recently by one of the residents if I could help with a project.
St Monica Trust was originally founded to cater particularly for people who followed the doctrine of the Church of England (although they now accept people of other faiths, or none) and that Church is still very important to many residents. The chapel at Cote Lane is an impressive sight.
Peter is a retired architect, a resident at Cote Lane and a keen woodworker. He was interested in making two collection plates, using their fine on-site wood workshop, to donate to the chapel.
Collection (or Offertory) plates are passed around at services and those attending can donate money to go towards the upkeep of the church, or various good causes.
Peter planned to turn the plates from spalted beech wood and to then insert discs turned from rosewood into the bases of them. The beechwood plates were pretty much finished when he came around and looked very nice indeed.
The part that I could help with was carving identical designs into both of the rosewood discs, which were about 100mm (4") in diameter. The carved areas would later be filled with a mixture of resin and metal dust to form a striking finish. I had some previous experience with this technique (which has been used by other makers, including the late Tim Stead), and this meant that Peter and I could discuss how to go about it. I also mentioned to him about the hazards of breathing in the fine metal powder and the fumes given off by some resins when curing, which can both be very harmful.
The elegant design shows three interlocking fishes and was originally created by David Saxon, a retired architect who is also a resident at St Monica Trust.
Fish are a symbol that Christians have used since the early days of their religion to identify it and themselves. You may wonder why:
|Image courtesy of Peter Caird|