Remembrance Bells

Published by Les on

I’ve just finished a very special commission!

Last March, at a meeting of the Register of Professional Turners in London, I learned of a project to use pieces of timber taken from the bell-headstocks of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and to recycle them by distributing them among numerous woodturners throughout Great Britain.

The bells were destined for major restoration work, which commenced in June and included the removal of the old, elm headstocks and their replacement with new timber. One of the Register’s turners, Gabor Lacko, took control of the process of cutting the old timber into blocks and then distributing them amongst us.

Each turner would make, from carefully numbered blocks of wood, mini-bells which would then be returned to London and to Saint Paul’s, to be sold at the Cathedral’s gift shop to help to raise funds towards the restoration project. I was happy to volunteer to join the list of turners involved in the project and made my three bells a few weeks ago, but decided to hang onto them to use them as a part of my Remembrance window display to mark the Armistice.

The bells of Saint Paul’s were scheduled to be reinstated this week, ready to be rung on Sunday morning, just as they had rung out exactly 100 years earlier. During the First World War, church bells throughout the land fell silent, principally because they were to be rung to inform people of an invasion by hostile forces, so when the war ended, church bells rang vigorously to mark the cessation of the conflict.

The three bells that I have turned now sit in my shop window, along with a brief, bilingual description of the project, a candle, and a black wooden silhouette of “Tommy”, and every day, the display is drawing the attention of passers by.

Here in Bala we have a very active branch of the Royal British Legion and every year they hold a display at our heritage and arts centre, so I called in there today to see what had been included this year.

I was delighted to see that as well as the usual display of Armistice-related material, two other local artists had completed work to mark the occasion. Melanie Williams specialises in encaustic art, a medium which I knew a little about, having seen the work of another local encaustic-wax artist, but Mel’s work is in a different league. I’ve (briefly) watched her working a few times and am amazed by the way that she manipulates hot wax to create her artworks.

You can view more of Mel’s work, here!…

Finally, we have a piece by Seth Earl, who runs “Capel Clay”, a local centre for painting ceramics. Seth had made a very distinct panel comprising a square grid of white poppies, with a central area, shaped as a poppy, accentuated with red glaze.

You can view more of Capel Clay, here!…

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