Fiona was preparing for the Cullivoe Up Helly Aa, one of the many that happen in Shetland in January and February each year. Her husband James and their son were in the Jarl Squad that dress up as vikings and lead the celebrations.
To mark the occasion, they wanted to make badges for each child on the island. They also wanted souvenirs for the 12 community stop offs of the viking procession including the school, and some stainless steel souvenir hip flasks.
Celtic bull artwork
Fiona sent me a file of a wonderful Celtic bull that the Up Helly Aa Jarl Squad were decorating their shields with. Celtic artwork always looks amazing when vector engraved, especially on wood!
This bull has a lot of detail in its hooves, head and musculature. I was concerned that some of it might get lost when reduced in size for the 40mm in diameter badges.
I engraved some samples for Fiona at different power settings to give different depths of engrave, and she was really happy with the result. She preferred the one on the right engraved with the most power, yielding the deepest engrave and the darkest mark. It was the look that they wanted.
As the engravings on the hip flasks and large ply discs would be bigger than these, I knew that the artwork was fine for what we needed .
Stainless steel and plywood
First, I cut and engraved 400 badges from 3mm ply. Then I cut and engraved the 12 souvenirs for the Jarl Squad parade stop off points. They were 300mm in diameter, so the artwork was much bigger. And I could engrave them much faster as the detail wasn’t as fine.
Finally, I engraved the stainless steel flasks. I painted Thermark onto each flask, allowed it to dry, and engraved the flasks as usual. Wherever the laser engraves, it melts the glass particles in the paste. This forms a thin black enamel layer on the surface of the metal. As you can see in the title picture, the black mark gives excellent contrast. It’s also highly weather proof and scratch resistant.
Happy Up Helly Aa!
Fiona was delighted with her parcel. The extra badges that I thew in were cunningly used as cloak clasps. The whole day was a great success and the weather was kind!