Earlier this year we publicized the June 2011 Medallic Sculpture Symposium at Brookgreen Gardens. Here's an excerpt of a report on the gathering by Mark Benvenuto, originally published in Coins Magazine October 31, 2011. Be sure to read the whole thing!
Last July, the American Medallic Sculpture Association and the National Sculpture Society co-sponsored a two-day long symposium on medals at the Brookgreen Sculpture Gardens, just south of Myrtle Beach, S.C. There they gathered a group of established artists, as well as authors and the Brookgreen curators, to spread the word and the techniques of how art medals are produced.
The art medal is created simply because it is a work of art and is beautiful. The theme or themes are as varied as the artist wishes them to be. Certainly, the artist can also be a person who is commissioned to create medals for organizations, even governments, to honor a specific individual or an achievement. But the same artist can create medals simply for their form and beauty.
In the case of the summer symposium, it was accomplished sculptor and medalist Eugene Daub who gave one of the opening welcomes at Brookgreen, thanking everyone for attending. As well, Brookgreen Sculpture Garden curator Robin Salmon welcomed participants to the event, and discussed the relationship between medallic art and sculpture as a broader art form. Her history of Brookgreen Gardens was fascinating.
Noted sculptor Jim Licaretz fascinated those in attendance by demonstrating 3-D modeling for medals using a computer, showing how the computer can be used to create the full design. Licaretz noted that the U.S. Mint currently uses such software when the call comes from Congress for certain medal designs.
Equally as interesting, he noted that this particular software was used by surgeons, and gave an example of how a portion of a patient's skull had been modeled, after an accidental head injury, to create a reproduction for replacement of the damaged portion. Many avid collectors have noted connections between coin collecting and a host of other arts and sciences, but reconstructive surgery? It's amazing to see a link like this.
A real learning experience for those who attended the Brookgreen symposium was Daub sharing his knowledge of carving in plaster. To watch Daub work in the medium, to see the first step in getting to a finished medal, was truly amazing. In addition, Daub had brought several examples of plasters and other designs he had created, all of which had eventually been produced as medals for one client organization or another.
Now, the surface of a coin is tremendously important to most collectors and, indeed, such eye appeal oftentimes determines the value of the piece. But those of us who are strict coin collectors tend to want clean surfaces only, with the possible exception of those who look for toned coins with pleasing looks.
At the Brookgreen symposium, accomplished artist Heidi Wastweet gave an eye-opening demonstration of how various patinas are applied to a surface, since not all art medals are designed to have to have a raw metal surface and look. It was very interesting to see what starts out as art turn into some serious science, as the various chemical processes that patinate a medal are applied to the surface.
To read the complete article, see:
The Art of Medal Making
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
2011 MEDALLIC SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM AT BROOKGREEN SCULPTURE GARDENS
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