In 2017, two sculptors (David Paton from Cornwall and Stephane Rouget from Brittany) were commissioned to create a giant 3.7m stone statue of St Piran, the Patron Saint of Cornwall. This huge statue was to become the 100th saint at La Vallée des Saints in Brittany, where it would be the first of many sculptures linking the Celtic nations.
For more than a year, the two artists carved the statue out of rugged Cornish granite, working outdoors in all weather at Trenoweth Quarry near Falmouth. To symbolise St Piran's Irish roots, they carved the millstone around St Piran's neck out of Irish granite. The statue's base was carved on site at the Vallée de Saints from Breton granite.
The statue was completed in April 2018, in time for its sailing to Brittany aboard La Nebuleuse, a Breton fishing boat. A few weeks before the statue sailed, Pewter Sky was appointed to create the official pewter miniatures of the giant St Piran. The process of turning a 3.7m granite sculpture into a pewter cast was a complex one.
The first step was for Phil Atkin to take hundreds of photos of the completed statue. He then used those photos to build a 3D computer model, much as Hollywood does with its digital recreations of superheroes. The easiest way to generate the photos would have been to use a drone but Phil was on a very tight schedule so he did the photography himself, using an iPhone at the end of a long stick!
The resulting photos were then put into a computer application that created a scaleable 3D model of the statue. Phil designed three different versions of St Piran: a pendant, an amulet and a statuette. The computer files of those items were turned into high resolution plastic models via 3D printing, and Phil then used the plastic models to create the rubber moulds he needed to make his pewter casts.
All of the St Piran miniatures were made using the ancient method of gravity casting, i.e., Phil hand poured molten pewter into the moulds. He also finished and polished all the pieces by hand. Pewter is a particularly apt material for the St Piran miniatures because St Piran is the Patron Saint of Tin Miners and modern pewter is composed of approximately 95% tin.
Pewter Sky's St Piran miniatures have been created in Limited Editions of 100, to commemorate the statue's sailing to Brittany in May 2018. These Limited Edition pieces can be purchased directly from our Pewter Sky online shop. They are also available from the Artisan shop at the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Nr Gulval, Penzance, Cornwall, TR20 8YL.
Pewter Sky is proud to have been involved in The Giant's Crossing, a unique event linking the ancient Celtic cultures of Cornwall and Brittany. For more information about the giant St Piran statue and its new home at the Vallée de Saints, visit The Giant's CrossingFacebook page: https://tinyurl.com/GiantsCrossing.