Gromit unleashed – the making of ‘The National Treasure’

When The Royal Mint was asked to take part in the ‘Gromit unleashed’ exhibition, we were excited by the opportunity to do something really special.

We knew we had a lot to live up to, being in the company of people like Aardman’s very own Nick Park and Peter Lord, iconic designers Sir Paul Smith and Cath Kidston, illustrators Sir Quentin Blake and Martin Handford (creator of ‘Where’s Wally’) and many more besides.

So what could we do? Well it had to include coins, of course, and with mosaic artist Stephanie Roberts involved the ideas quickly began to flow. To add a finishing touch to the masterpiece, the Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers was tasked with creating a medallion from a design crafted in plasticine by Nick Park himself!

Would it all come together? Read on to find out.

The process begins

The first part of the process began when the giant fibreglass Gromit arrived at The Royal Mint. Both Gromit and Stephanie were escorted to a highly secure area of the Mint in order to start work in absolute secrecy. Stephanie began by creating a plan; working out the detail before placing a single coin in position.

Meanwhile, a plasticine model of Gromit was delivered to the Chief Engraver’s office so that Gordon could start work on transforming it into a medallion.

Artist Stephanie Roberts begins work on The Royal Mint's Gromit
Artist Stephanie Roberts begins work on The Royal Mint’s Gromit

Stephanie had this to say about the process,

It took 71 hours to make I can honestly say I am filthy upon his completion…and exhausted! He needed to be grouted 3 times and polished…mainly with a tooth brush and a large amount of elbow grease…so many times I have lost count! However, I am happy to announce that he is very, very shiny and is looking properly ‘Minted’.

 

Gromit takes shape
Gromit nears completion…only the grouting and polishing remains!

We asked Stephanie what inspired the patterns she has created with the coins.

I was inspired by the coin’s appearance, surface design within architectural columns and the wallpaper of Gromit’s bedroom!

You can see more of Stephanie’s artwork at her website

The finishing touch

The final finishing touch was the application of the medallion. Crafted entirely from scratch just for the occasion, it took many hours of work. The task was entrusted to Chief Engraver Gordon Summers, the only man for any job of such vital national importance!

Gromitus Magnus - The Royal Mint's medallion for 'Gromit Unleashed' 2013
Gromitus Magnus – The Royal Mint’s medallion for ‘Gromit Unleashed’ 2013

The big reveal

The finished item was unveiled by Nick Park. He was delighted to be reunited with his fibreglass friend!

The Royal Mint's Gromit is revealed by Nick Park
The Royal Mint’s Gromit is revealed by Nick Park

 

After a short time on display at The Royal Mint, and after posing for a few photos, Gromit was carefully transported to Bristol.

You can see him for yourself at the Gromit Unleashed exhibition which opens on the 28th July 2013. Individually designed by top international and local artists and designers, the Gromit sculptures will become a major tourist attraction for Bristol in 2013 and will help raise funds for The Grand Appeal.

The Royal Mint's Gromit with his co-creators Nick Park and Stephanie Roberts
The Royal Mint’s Gromit with his co-creators Nick Park and Stephanie Roberts

What do you think? Did we do a good job? Leave your comments below.

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