Just read last months The Economist this week about how Ireland is gaining recognition as a global diplomatic powerhouse despite it's small size, with recent developments such as our finance minister, Paschal Donohoe being elected president of the Eurogroup/Eurozone finance ministers, winning a seat on the UN Security Council in June and Philiip Hogan held a key role of trade in Brussels until recently.
The article acknowledges Irelands lack of colonial baggage and strong history of overseas development and educational links to the third world, making it a voice that is often listened to, diplomatically.
As so many of our diplomats and ministers travel far and wide to serve the Irish Republic and the European Union, I am reminded that the work we do in our workshop is a small but significant symbol of home, no matter where in the world they are. For any citizen the symbol of their country holds a special place in their heart. For others a gold harp on a blue background may not seem like the most obvious symbol given that there is no green present but for an Irish citizen, this is a symbol of comfort when abroad, especially in distressing times.
We were delighted to get the contract a few years ago to produce these embassy escutcheons for the Department of Foreign Affairs. We have teamed up a few times with the Athy Co-operative Foundry Ltd in Kildare to use their casting expertise to cast these in solid aluminium. The plaques then come to our workshop in Duleeek to go through many rounds of, sanding, sealing, finishing and finally lacquering with associated metal brackets to hang on embassies at 15 degrees. This gold harp harbours very little colonial baggage and seems to be respected worldwide. These gold harps go to service the 57 embassies and 109 consulates around the world, from Figi to Finland.
Source: The Economist, July 18th 2020, Article - Charlmagne, How Ireland gets its way. pg.23
Green Image: BenJennings
As an element copper has been used for millennia as a useful tool for creating bronze implements before we got to grips with iron. Copper has always been an expensive comodity. I remember being at an exhibit at Expo 2000 where a large block of recycled copper sat in the middle of the room with an explaination that the block could have traces back to the egyptians in 2000BC, where copper was being smelted and re-smelted each time a new use is found for an object, thus showing its importance and value.
This resonated and as in so much of my work I try to re-use and recycle and I do love visiting recycling facilities to see the different objects which come in only to return to melted down copper for a new life in what might be a copper reincarnation. Just now we are using various pipes for copper and brass for a large chandelier in a private house on the North Dublin Coast, just one story for this versatile element.
We do like copper due to its colour and tone but its different finishes from patination, torching, annealing and darkening from verdigris to just dark brown. The fact that copper is a huge conductor lends itself to electrical elements and all of our wires and telecommunications and has helped modernise our society through electricity, a momentous momement in itself even if it is sometimes upstaged by optic fibre or gold but as a workhorse copper and its alloys are really the things that keep things moving.
Brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc offers great decorative possibilities and the ease of machining that copper can faulter upon in the workshop. But in terms of alloys I think bronze is my favourite due to its permanence in the elements and the ease of machining and casting along with the salmon lustre in its natural state and its sense of luxury. The difficulty of keeping copper from tarnshing can also be addressed with lacquers or microcrystaline waxes but ultimately gold or chrome or nickel over copper can provide the ultimate protection.
In days of Covid and its particulars I was heartened to learn that compared to stainless steel, copper and presumably brass and bronze have just a 4 hour retention of covid spread threat compared to up to 72 hours or 18 times that of stainless steel (according to www.hse.ie) thus making a plausible argument for more copper based door handles and equipment. I had always made an inverse connection to stainless as the more clinically clean metal but not so.
Congratulations to all who won at the AMPC 2020 virtual award ceremony yesterday, we have happily completed the stars in our workshop and here's a quick video of the black star which is the Grand Prix won by Honey and Buzz, Henieken 0.0% Drive Through.
If you need an award or trophy for an upcoming event please check our website, www.shanehollandawards.com
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org