Darren Crisp and the Cross of Wales
Darren Crisp, Woodturner, Artist in Wood and Tutor, member RPT, Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Turners and regional representative of the AWGB for Scotland, tells us about his historic contribution to The Cross of Wales.
It was an honour to work with internationally renowned master silversmith Michael Lloyd on a collaboration for His Majesty King Charles III. This historic commission by the Goldsmiths’ Company on behalf on His Majesty led the Coronation procession at Westminster Abbey on 6th May.
His Majesty The King hand struck The ‘King’s Mark’ onto the Cross of Wales in November 2022, the first time in history that a monarch has applied The ‘King’s Mark’ (leopard’s head).
The Cross was designed with The King’s longstanding environmental priorities in mind, so was created from silver sheet produced from recycled bullion provided by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, the core of the Cross of Wales and the shaft are made from seasoned windfall Welsh oak.
Michael contacted me to discuss the collaboration in September 2022, back then it was a commission for Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, a gift to the Church of Wales. The following months saw some changes to the brief and the commission developed.
I was asked to turn the the shaft, also colour and finish all the timber used in the cross. Before work commenced I made 8 different colour and finish samples, once the final colour and finish were chosen I got to work on the three spindles that make up the shaft, each one has a silver spigot and socket which fit snugly together. Once complete the shaft and core of the cross were treated and coloured with 10 coats to achieve the desired finish. The cross is removable and has a stand made from Welsh slate; the shaft comes apart into three pieces, all the parts are to be stored in a bespoke wooden box for storage and transport.
On a personal level, I was delighted to receive an invite to the Coronation Garden Party at Buckingham Palace just a few days before the Coronation, to meet His Majesty in person and discuss the project. He seamed very knowledgeable and proud of the Cross, mentioning that he had a hand in the production by hallmarking the silver and letting me know that it would be leading the procession on Saturday. It was a very special day.
In a significant ecumenical gesture, the Cross of Wales incorporates a relic of the True Cross, the personal gift of Pope Francis to His Majesty The King to mark the Coronation.
The cross will be officially received by the Church in Wales at a service following the Coronation and its use going forward will be shared between the Anglican and Catholic Churches in Wales which I believe is a first for a religious Sacred object.
Darren Crisp https://www.darrencrisp.com/
Photographs courtesy of the Company of Goldsmiths and Darren Crisp
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