The Form of 2008 plaque is now complete. The above photograph shows a sample of the color finish on the plaque, the top center element featuring the very grumpy looking stock market bear.
The completed framed plaque will be revealed on Anniversary Weekend on Saturday June 1st – at which time photographs of the finished plaque will be published online. Thank you to the representative from the Form of 2008 for your help with this project - I am looking forward to seeing members of the Form of 2008 at the SPS Anniversary event to celebrate your new Form plaque!
Above is a photo of the completed carving for the 2008 Form plaque. The carving has been sealed with an oil finish and is ready for the painting process to begin. The photos below show details of the finished carving:
The central design represents the 2008 recession with a bear holding a chart with an arrow representing the dramatic down-turn the bear market took. Here is a detail of the very grumpy looking bear.
In the background two crossed quash racquets represents the boys’ Varsity Squash Team winning the New England Championships. Shown above is a detail of one of the racquets.
On the left of the bear is a tray with the SPS monogram representing the end of using trays in the dining hall – an effort that significantly saved resources and cut food waste.
To the right of the bear is a SPS Waffle, representing the new waffle irons in the dining hall that feature the SPS Shield. Below the waffle is a detail of the winter scene of Millville covered in snow – representing the record snowfall that winter.
I will now begin the painting process for the 2008 plaque. Check back soon for a sneak peek at the finished product!
The Form of 2012 plaque is now complete. The above photograph shows a sample of the color finish on the plaque, the bottom right corner featuring the snowman holding a pumpkin. This part of the design represents the heavy snowfall that we had on Halloween last year.
The completed framed plaque will be revealed on Anniversary Weekend on Saturday June 1st – at which time photographs of the finished plaque will be published online. Thank you to the representatives from the Form of 2012 for your help with this project, I am looking forward to seeing you back at SPS at Anniversary to celebrate your new Form plaque!
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.
Here is a photograph of the plaque for the Form of 1996. I recently completed the carving, stained and sealed the wood and mounted it in its frame. It will now be displayed in the Lower Dining Hall of Coit (New Upper) and will hang above the panels that contain the names of all the members of the Form of 1996. Beneath the photo below is a description of the symbols used in the design.
The central design celebrates the development of the Humanities program and is represented by an owl perched on a book, with pen, pencil and brush behind it. The owl is a symbol of wisdom, and the pen/pencil/brush symbols represent the arts and literature. The book that the owl is perched on is a symbol for learning and represents the history, philosophy, and religion aspects of the Humanities program. In the upper left corner an ‘at’ (@) key from a computer keyboard is carved to symbolize the first School assigned email addresses for students. The upper right corner of the plaque has a closed book with initials DVH representing the end of Tenth Rector David Verne Hicks’ Rectorship. In the lower right section of the plaque a woman’s symbol with the Roman numerals ‘XXV’ carved inside it represent the 25th anniversary of co-education at St. Paul’s School.
The following photos are of the carving process for the 2001 Form plaque:
This first photograph shows the prepared basswood carving blank ready to begin:
After using a router to rough out the background levels:
Cleaned up from the router and background levels established, with a little of the initial rough carving done:
The finished carving:
Detail of the Democratic donkey:
And of the Republican elephant:
The carving at this stage is ready for the final painted finish to be applied.
Note: Painting was completed during the second week of May, and now the plaque is drying and awaiting the final sealing finish to be applied in time for Anniversary on June 2nd. I will be posting photos of the finished plaque after that date – stay tuned!
The most recent edition of the SPS Alumni magazine, the Alumni Horae, includes an in-depth article on the history of Form plaques at SPS. Expertly written by Jana Brown, it includes information on how the tradition of the plaques began, a look at the first carver, J. Gregory Wiggins, and details of how the tradition is being carried on today.
Click the thumbnail to read the article:
The carving stage is now complete for the Form of 2006 plaque. Here are a few photos showing the finished carving:
In the center is St. Paul himself, with the elements of the School shield separated around him. The upper left corner has the open book, commemorating the beginning of Mr. Matthews’ tenure as Rector. The spiral form in the upper right represents Hurricane Katrina. The Sesquicentennial dates are shown in pencil on the ribbon behind St. Paul and will be painted in as part of the finish.
The detail above shows one of the waves created to represent the Mother’s Day flood of 2006. The Episcopal shield appears at the base as part of the Sesquicentennial logo.
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 working on the 2001 and 1996 plaques, with plans to complete them both in time for Anniversary 2012. Progress on those plaques will be documented here as with the 2006 plaque, so check back often to see how things are progressing.
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.
In this photo the spirals of the waves are nearly complete on the left, and the flood waters are visible behind St. Paul. The right side of the waves are beginning to take shape.
Here is a detail of the spiral waves – what was a simple design on paper has proved to be much more complicated thing to carve. I am pleased with the effect, especially when the shadows are picked up in the texture of the waves.
The details have been added for two of the shields from the sesquicentennial logo – each individual element of the School symbol will have its own shield, the crossed swords, the book, and the pelican.
Here is another detail of the waves with the flood waters in the background and the sword shield above. The scroll is still being worked on, and will have the sesquicentennial dates carved into the ribbon portion.
This Saturday, October 1st, I will be setting up a display in the Upper Dining Hall for the Alumni Volunteer Weekend event. I will be displaying samples of my carving as well as the progress so far for the 2006 plaque. If you are an SPS Alum and will be attending the event be sure to stop by and see the display.