Matthew will be working on a map of Australia etched into a bronze disc. An inscription summarising his achievements will be made around the outer portion of the disc. To do this, we have to sand-cast a large base, 1755 mm in diameter, in one. In order for the inscription to read, I have to leave the surface of the bronze unpatinated - raw metal in other words - and any welded joins will show up.
The first step is to make a pattern and I am lucky enough to be working with a couple of truly wonderful artists. Letter designer, John Neilson, and wood-carver Barry Davies. John has designed an original font for this work; this will be named Matthew Flinders Sans The letters capture something of Matthew's era, have a hint of the swashbuckle in places and the design is peppered with nuances that delight the eye. John was given a great many words to fit into a limited space and has done so magnificently.
Barry will be carving the letters into a giant mdf disc which he has constructed so that it is workable, flat and easily fixed to a backing plate for transport and casting.
From left to right, me, John and Barry in Barry's studio overlooking the Tanat Valley. What a place.
John has digitised his design and has printed it out to align with the disc. Here it is on the template which will be used to position the figure. This will ensure that the contact points do not encroach upon the lettering.
Once I have marked off on my template, the position of John's design, he traces it down onto Barry's mdf former.
A week later, I visit Barry to check on progress and am astounded at the quality of his work He has not only revealed the beauty of John's design, but has added to it by cutting the work with vigour and panache. He got a hug, which he was certainly not expecting. In my experience, the Welsh don't really do man-hugs off the field of play.