It was a totally unexpected but exciting call …. Would I be interested in designing another, ‘very different from last year,’ Randox Health Grand National Trophy for 2018? …. A few seconds later, of course I answered yes!! I really enjoy the commissioning process, because when you have to answer a specific brief, you inevitably end up with a design that would otherwise have never existed.
This year Randox wanted the trophy to showcase their most recent breakthroughs in health care – namely: ‘Heart disease, Alzheimers, Stroke and dairy screening’. Initially, it didn’t feel like the easiest brief to work to perhaps, but because they’re a preventative healthcare company, saving and extending lives, I decided to focus on optimum health.
Choosing the theme of ‘Celebration’ and based on the classic ‘coupes’ style champagne glass, the top bowl of the Trophy has a mixture of chased and engraved detail. Healthy brain synapses, form the background, whilst red and white blood cells and (dairy) fat cells masquerade as champagne bubbles. An ECG resting, healthy heartbeat of a thoroughbred provides the top line of engraved detail that spells out the RANDOX . Big thanks to the top equine surgeons at Newmarket for that detail and thanks to Bradley Quinn for the beautiful images (bradleyquinn.com).
The stem is inspired by the DNA double helix. From a distance, I wanted it to look like a typical biological image, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that the two outer DNA strands are covered with racing plates, as if they’re magnetized to the surface …. After visiting the Palace Museum in Newmarket, I was fascinated to hear that 95% of all modern thoroughbreds, can all be traced back to just one unbeaten champion in the 1700’s, so this detail pays homage to that. Also, horseshoes are of course a symbol of good luck and who wouldn’t want some of that.
To give it some continuity from last year, the base reads: 'Randox Health Grand National 2018', with a red crystal for the centre of the ‘O’, to represent the drop of blood in the Randox logo.
I had just 16 weeks to create the trophy and 3 small replicas, so in order to make the very best version ‘in time,’ I teamed up with Andy and Carl at Padgham and Putland once again. Altogether there was about 8 of us, including the spinner, chaser, engraver, polisher, plater and three of us fabricating. This work wouldn’t have existed without their help and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the very best smiths working in the industry today.
Click through the images below to see ‘the making of’ .....
Part of the build up to the big race day was a great school’s tour of the Trophy to numerous schools in Belfast. Never having previously been before, I was overwhelmed with how friendly everyone is there – it reminded me so much of Liverpool. It was so much fun and the children all got to design their own trophies - there were so many great ideas…..
I was also fortunate to be invited by the WIR to an inspirational morning at their ‘Women’s Summit’ on Lady’s Day, with an awesome line up of super achieving ‘rock star’ women on the panel, including BBC Breakfast presenter Sally Nugent, Sam Quek - Olympic gold medallist for hockey, Vicky Gosling - CEO of the Invictus Games and Jo Pavey – 5 x Olympic long distance runner. The gorgeous Laura Wright, who sings the National Anthem for most of the sporting events, also gave a special acoustic performance. (see image below)
The trophy was ceremoniously brought in by three dashing Irish Guards and I was asked to talk through the ideas behind the trophy and how it came together, before we were all taken on a tour of the course.
I can’t go without extending an extra thank you to Randox Health, for asking me to design their trophy for a second year and for being such incredible hosts. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of such a monumental sporting event and especially sharing those few days with the brilliant children and teachers in Belfast.
Having grown up in Liverpool, it also got me a great thumbs up from my extended family! I was lucky enough to be joined on both days, by Ros Atkinson, the very talented photographer behind ‘@her_dark_materials’ who took so many of the awesome images you can see on this blog and on my website. I didn’t win any bets this time round but we had so much fun!!
Please share this blog with anyone you think who may enjoy it and hopefully I’ll see you in my next post, where I’ll be back with some neat jewellery ideas that have come about as a result of this commission. Did you back the winner??
Til next time! X
PS. If you can allow me just one more image from Bradley Quinn,.... just because it's so beautiful and FYI it's was taken where Game of Thrones is filmed!