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We were approached at the end of last year about producing a sign for the village of Crockenhill in Kent, to replace their existing sign which stands on the village green. They wanted the design to reflect the history of the area, and so sent through various documents and photos to help with our research and ideas. The key points to include were fruit picking; the warm climate in the area making it an ideal location for fruit trees to thrive, and the local church built in 1851 is a distinctive landmark. More challengingly from a design perspective was the idea of including a medieval tile Kiln; the name Crockenhill literally means 'the hill where stands a pottery kiln'. This industry was booming by the Tudor period because of the heavy clay soil the village sits on and so makes up an important part of the aarea's history. Finally, it was suggested that we should try to include a steam traction engine. Steam power was introduced to agricultural work in the 1860s, transforming the industry in this area. We used to have a stand at various steam rallies in the Lancashire area, and have produced a few traction engine weathervanes in the past, so I knew I'd enjoy drawing this particular aspect of the design... but how on earth would we fit it all together?
Below is the rough sketch I sent over initially; it was David's idea to have the village name painted in the centre rather than beneath the design, and I think this works really well in creating a break between the industrial heritage at the bottom, and the more decorative trees and church that the village is known for today.
Next to my sketch above, is a drawing of a medieval tile kiln. A fire, made from wood from local woodland, would be lit at the bottom of the kiln, making the air in the top half hot enough to fire the clay tiles. Very interesting, but not at all obvious how I would make this part of the design work in a laser cut silhouette!
Below is a photo of the sign just before it was electroplated, outside of our workshop, so you can see how the final design turned out.
The laser cut sign hangs within a heavy duty frame, which will be bolted to the top of an existing wooden post. Our customer gave us the exact measurements of the post, and we have produced a bespoke cap so it should be a nice snug fit, with bolts going right through for extra security.
The bespoke village sign has now been plated, powder coated and the text painted by hand. In the photo below I am painting the first coat of cream over the red primer coat.