BAMS – Medal project – Updated medal colour designsPosted: May 22, 2015
Ever since I began designing this pair of medals, the design has remained largely unchanged and I have been fairly set on what colouring I want to use for them. However, now that I have the physical objects in my hands it has made me look at the designs in a completely different light and adapt them to the objects themselves. I realised that until this point, I have given very little consideration to the edge of the medal, and have completely failed to include it in almost all of my designs. However, looking at the medals now, and then looking at my previous designs in terms of colouring, I run into a few problems.
I had originally planned for the front side of the medal to be entirely patinated, aside from the touch marks on top of the fingers, and the reverse to be entirely polished aside from the imprints of the touch marks. However, in this case what am I to do with the edge? If I leave it polished, or patina it, either way it will end up matching one of the sides, which doesn’t seem right to me as I want the edge to be more of a separate space rather than an extension of the front or back side. I think the reason I had not considered this so much was in the back of my mind I was still playing with the idea of making a ring of a separate colour which would trim the edge, but the reality is that I’m not going to have enough time to do that without a very clear idea of what I’m doing first.
With this new problem in mind, I went back to the sketchbook to try and figure it out.
With this new design, the two flat surfaces on both the front and the back are the same patinated colour, with the edge and hand itself being polished. I think this works better than the original design, as it contrasts the hand against the surface it sits on, as well as taking into account that the fingers seem to grow out of the edge of the medal when looking at the physical objects
Another thing I was considering with this design is that it is more reflective of the nature of bronze itself. The surface is naturally a dark brown colour when it comes out of the casting process, and the shiny golden colour is only revealed after the surface layer is filed or polished away, yet this can be spoiled and become discoloured over time and handling due to the oil residue of human fingers corroding the surface. Looking at this in terms of the design of the medal, the imprints on the reverse side of the medal are left polished as the surface has been seemingly scraped away like butter, and the polished surface of the fingers has been discoloured where the trace of a touch from another person’s fingertips has been left.
My only issue is that, while this is more representative of the material itself, I’m not sure that it is representative of human skin. The reason that I had always designed the fingers themselves as being discoloured, with the polished touch pattern on their surface was because I felt that the polished surface was more indicative of the light, tingling sensation that remains on your skin after a light touch running across it. As well as this, after having worked on polishing and cleaning my medals for some time now, I do very much like the high polished smooth surfaces, and feel that it would be a shame for them to be made dull and discoloured.
Another option is to reverse this new colouring design, and have it more like the medals are now, with polished surfaces, patinated imprints and fingers, with polished touch marks on the fingers, and patinated edge. While this hasn’t been a deliberate design for the medals as I’ve been working on them, and has purely been a matter of trying to clean and remove the imperfections on the surfaces, I think it works well and still brings together all the elements from the newer design, unifying the surfaces and making the edge a more distinct space.