On June 2, 2012 the first group of the new Form plaques were dedicated in the Upper Dining Hall of Coit (New Upper). There was a small display of information about the plaques, the carving and design process, and the history of the plaques at SPS. A large group of members from the Form of 2012 were in attendance, excited to see the first new Form plaque in over twenty years.
The display table featured information about the plaque project, drawings of the plaque designs, and the 1996 plaque in process.
The sketchbook I use as part of the design process. These pages are for the 1996 plaque design.
The 2011 plaque on display above the name plaques for the Form members.
The 2006 plaque hanging above the name plaques for all the Form members.
Read the Form Plaque descriptions here.
Here is a photograph of the completed plaque for the Form of 2011. It is being dedicated on June 2, 2012 and hangs in the Middle Dining Hall of Coit (The Upper) above the panels that contain the names of all the members of the Form of 2011. Below the photo is the description of the elements incorporated in the plaque design.
In 2011 the revival of the Club Cup competition was the big event of the school year. The cup itself is represented in the center of the plaque with the symbol above it of the winning club, the Delphians – the Greek letter Delta surrounded by a laurel wreath. In the upper left of the plaque a closed book is carved with the initials WRM which represents the end of Twelfth Rector William R. Matthews’ Rectorship. The book symbolizes the Rural Record, a journal of day-to-day life at St. Paul’s School that was kept from 1857 up into the early 20th century. The upper right corner of the plaque has a map of Japan with circles radiating out from the epicenter of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March of 2011. The lower left and right sections of the plaque represent the crew team competing at the Henley Royal Regatta in June of 2011. A shield super-imposed above and to the left of the crew team features an element from the coat-of-arms from the Henley-on-Thames Town Hall.
On October 1st during the SPS Alumni Volunteer Weekend I set up a display of the progress on the plaque project. The display was in the Upper Dining Hall and took place during the Saturday luncheon.
I displayed the completed carving for the 2011 Form Plaque (below, center) and the progress of the 2006 Form plaque, shown on the right. To the left is a rough carving blank – the form of the basswood when I start the carving process. On display in the front of the plaques in this photo is the design drawing for the 2011 plaque, and my design sketchbook open to the page of the 2/3rd scale concept drawing.
The second half of the display featured other examples of my carving work, including a carved bear with a Celtic knot motif, the SPS pelican shield, and the Spanish cedar carving in progress of a pelican on her nest.
The luncheon event provided me with the opportunity to meet a number of representatives from the Forms in need of plaques and to introduce them to the process. I had a great time talking with everyone and answering questions about Form plaques past, present, and future.
The carving stage is now complete for the Form of 2011 plaque. Here are a few photos showing the finished carving:
This detail shows the waves and water surrounding the crew team – representing the trip to Henley.
This detail shows the closed book with Mr. Matthews’ initials representing the end of his term as Rector, and a portion of the Delphian emblem representing their Club Cup victory.
The next stage of the process involves sealing the wood and adding the painted finish.
From here forward the project will go undercover: The completed plaque – with painted finish and mounted in its frame – will be kept a secret until it can be unveiled during the 2012 Anniversary Weekend celebration in June of 2012. Details to follow as we get closer to the date.
I will now begin work on carving plaques for the Forms missing plaques from the last twenty years. In the works are designs and plaques for the Forms of 1996, 2001 and 2006. Progress on those plaques will be documented here as with the 2011 plaque, so check back often to see how things are progressing.
The following photos show the progress so far on the Form of 2011 plaque. The photo above shows the design outline transferred onto the plaque blank. Just the major design elements are transferred at this point.
The photo above shows the plaque after the background has been removed using a small format router. This very rough stage is smoothed over using carving tools, and the outlines are then cleaned up and refined.
Here is a photo of me adding some of the initial detail to the plaque design – the laurel wreath around the Delphian Delta is starting to take shape.
In this photo you can see the finished football center left, and the map of Japan top right. The book with Mr. Matthews’ initials is almost complete at this stage.
More details need to be added and the lower section needs to take shape, so there is still quite a bit to be done before this carving is complete. I will update with more photos soon.
The rough draft of the design for the 2011 Form plaque is completed and work has begun preparing the wood for carving. The picture above shows the piece of basswood that will be used for carving the 2011 plaque. I cut out the distinctive quatrefoil shape using a scroll saw and am using three grades of Japanese files to smooth the edges and finish the carving blank. Once this stage is complete I will transfer the design onto the wood and begin the actual carving process.
The 2010/2011 school year at SPS provided some very interesting events to record on the plaque. The design themes chosen by the student representatives for the Form of 2011 include the following:
- Central Motif: The Club Cup was the big event of the school year. It will be represented in the center of the plaque with the symbol above it of the winner of this year’s club competition (congratulations Delphians!).
- Upper Left: A closed book will be shown with the initials WRM representing the end of Mr. Matthews’ Rectorship. The book symbolizes the Rural Record, a journal of day-to-day life at SPS that was kept from the very beginning of the School up into the early 20th century. The book with initials is symbolic of the recoding the change of leadership in School history . You can read more about the Rural Record by clicking HERE.
- Upper Right: A map of Japan with circles radiating out from the epicenter will be shown to represent the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred there earlier this year.
- Lower Right and Left: This section of the design will represent the crew team competing at the Henley Royal Regatta this June. A shield super-imposed above and to the left of the crew team will feature an element from the coat-of-arms from the Henley-on-Thames Town Hall.
Very special thanks to Ellie, Joe, Sam, Harvey and Meredith for their help with the design themes!