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Church Communion Tray Commission

church communion tray commission custom design flagon chalice
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

Church Communion Tray Commission

In October 2019 the silver communion tray pictured above was dedicated to First Presbyterian Church in Aiken, SC. The entire process from designing it to making it to the dedication was a great experience I so enjoyed! This Blog post highlights this very special commission project for a church my family has been members of for four generations.

silver tray commission custom design flagon chalice
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

The church contacted me in the spring of 2019 and asked if I could make a custom, silver communion tray for them. The current tray they were using was not the right size or shape for the communion bread loaf, so they needed a more appropriate, oval shaped tray. During the communion ceremony the church also uses a silver chalice and flagon, or pitcher, both shown above, as well as small round silver bread trays to pass the bread throughout the congregation. All contributed to the design elements incorporated into the tray.

ecclesiastical church silver communion tray

I worked very closely with the church’s committee on the design and met with them to discuss the project in depth and look at the existing church silver together. One extremely important item was the size and shape of the bread, because it would determine those elements of the tray. I did several rounds of drawings with numerous options for them to choose from. The existing silver pieces were so gorgeous they provided a lot of beautiful design inspiration!

silver tray design drawing design rendering designer maker
Top view drawing of tray by Kaminer Haislip

The drawing above was the final rendering of the top view. I also provided other renderings of additional angles of the tray and all were drawn to scale of the actual object.

silver communion tray first presbyterian church aiken sc church silver
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

The chalice and some of the small, round bread trays have a bead rim in their design, so that element influenced the bead rim on the tray. Both the chalice and the flagon have very curved, flared shapes as part of their surface design that include on the chalice a chased floral pattern and on the flagon around the spout, so the tray handle design is a combination of those two motifs. The tray plate has a very slight curve, so when seen from the side angle it looks like angel wings lifting up. The dimensions of the tray plate were based on the size of the bread loaf used for communion.

silver communion tray bead rim

The chalice and flagon both have an interesting past and during the Civil War they were hidden from the Union soldiers in a cistern. During both the Revolutionary War and Civil War, silver was frequently plundered from churches and private residences. Now it is not uncommon for historic silver pieces from the American South to show up in auctions in the American Northeast and England.

The chalice was made by Rogers Brothers Manufacturing in Hartford, CT between the dates of 1853-1861 and has the date 1856 hand engraved on the front of it. The flagon was made by Reed & Barton in Taunton, Massachusetts with the date unknown. Reed & Barton was founded in 1824 by silversmiths Henry Reed and Charles Barton, so we know if was made after 1824. I am still researching what the numbers stamped on the bottom mean and likely they hold the key to the date it was made.

ecclesiastic silver church silver bread tray

Once the design was finalized and agreed upon, I created the tray out of sterling silver sheet and wire. It was an extremely challenging piece to make! The dimensions are 15.5″ length by 9″ width, so it is a very large and heavy object. The shape and curve to the tray plate required a lot of attention to detail and many rounds of hammering to get it in the correct shallow curve. The bead rim was a careful application on top of the flat, rectangular rim. In order for the slightly curved tray to stay stationary on the alter, I added a silver foot. The handles were the finishing touch to a very complex design.

oval silver tray bead rim

The interior and exterior of the tray has a high shine, mirror finish, which to achieve over that large of a surface required many, many hours of sanding and polishing. The end result is stunning and worth every minute of time!

silver communion tray First Presbyterian Church Aiken, SC
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

The perfect finishing touch was the gorgeous hand engraving on the back done by the very talented Kristina McClure, the only hand engraver in Charleston.

silver tray hand engraved inscription
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography
silver tray hand engraving commemoration
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

The inscription commemorates the dedication of the tray in celebration of First Presbyterian Church being located on Barnwell Avenue in Aiken, SC for fifty years. The worship service on October 27, 2019 was the church’s Jubilee celebration and the tray was dedicated then. It was a lovely service and a special day enjoyed by many. It was an honor to have created this silver tray to commemorate this momentous occasion. I love the idea that it will be used and enjoyed for many generations past mine and likely by my future family members.

script hand engraving
Hand engraving by Kristina McClure
hand engraved silver tray
Hand engraving by Kristina McClure

If you are interested in commissioning a custom object or jewelry piece from me, then please check out my website Commission page that has examples of drawings and finished pieces. My Commission Policy outlines the details of commissioning me to make something unique and special for you. Thank you for your interest in my work!

Processional Torch Commission

processional torches brass silver walnut episcopal church custom design
Processional Torches by Kaminer Haislip in silver, brass, and
black walnut by Moran Woodworked Furniture
Photography by Jack Alterman

Processional Torch Commission

Kaminer Haislip designed and created this processional torch commission in collaboration with Michael James Moran and Celia Gibson of Moran Woodworked Furniture. A group of St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church patrons contacted Kaminer to commission these custom processional torches in memory of Bishop Daly Pope Garnett. Bishop was a dear friend to Kaminer and her brother Wylie’s lifelong best friend, so this project meant a lot and she was committed to making it exceptional. When the wood components were considered during the early design stages, Kaminer knew who to call to collaborate with on that crucial element. She had collaborated with Michael and Celia on numerous occasions before and knew they had an eye and mind for the aesthetic and technical challenges that lay ahead on this complex project.

silver and brass candleholder processional torch bespoke ecclesiastic commission
Silver and brass candleholder for processional torch by Kaminer Haislip
with black walnut stem by Moran Woodworked Furniture
Hand Engraving by Kristina McClure
Photography by Jack Alterman

The design for the custom processional torches began with looking at the church’s existing collection of ceremonial objects and torches, so the new, handcrafted torches would be unified in the environment. Measurements were taken of existing torches and Kaminer, Micheal, and Celia considered the ergonomics when finalizing the dimensions, since these torches were intended for the youth church members to carry. The silver and brass candleholder was inspired by a previous silver candlestick Kaminer had created, but reimagined with a smooth, round dish referencing angel wings. Due to the slight tilt in each silver dish, when the two are placed together (see first image above) they symbolize angel wings soaring high.

The brass cylinder of the candleholder was beautifully hand engraved by the talented Kristina McClure, who does all of Kaminer’s hand engraving. The inscription credits Bishop’s mother’s afternoon tea group as “The Teabags” for their generous donation of the processional torches to St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church.

processional torch candleholder hand engraved custom commission bespoke church design
Silver and brass candleholder for processional torch by Kaminer Haislip
with black walnut stem by Moran Woodworked Furniture
Hand Engraving by Kristina McClure
Photography by Jack Alterman

The black walnut too has special meaning and contributed immensely to this incredibly well thought out and meaningful project. Michael and Celia wrote:

“These pieces of Black Walnut came from one specific tree blown down by a storm on a friend’s cattle farm in Central Kentucky, close to where Michael grew up. We worked closely with Jim (the farmer) and his wife Deb to save as much of this tree and a handful of others trees befallen by similar circumstances. We spent seven days at the farm cutting/moving/milling trees into logs and then into boards. Next, we stacked all of the wood to dry for a year in a nearby barn then transferred to a kiln to finish drying. Each step of this long process we put our hands on every board, with care and concern for its well being and future. To date we’ve built many pieces from these trees that have found themselves all over the US, in homes, places of work, and now a place of worship.”

brass, silver, and black walnut base for processional torch
Brass and silver foot for processional torch by Kaminer Haislip
with black walnut base by Moran Woodworked Furniture
Photography by Jack Alterman

The base for each torch was created in brass, silver, and black walnut to harmonize with the torch design through the repetition of material and form. The hammering, raising, and forming of the heavy 10″ diameter brass dome was a physical and technical challenge for Kaminer, because brass is much harder than silver and not conducive to raising. She applied her traditional silversmithing training to it and was able to make not one, but two that are identical in shape and size. Her arms were ringing for days after the final planishing!

St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church Aiken SC historic sanctuary processional torches
Processional torches at St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church in Aiken, SC

The numerous right angles in all components of the torches was also a very difficult technical challenge. Each part when put together has to fit and stand up at a perfect right angle and they had to be the exact same height for the dishes to match up, so attention to detail was of the upmost importance. The candleholder, stem, and base components all come apart for easy cleaning, polishing, and future repair if needed. Kaminer, Michael, and Celia thought through carefully how all the elements would work together not only aesthetically, but also technically.

The end result is not only stunning visually, but includes symbolic significance to commemorate and celebrate the life of an incredible individual, Bishop Daly Pope Garnett, in a church he loved dearly.

Bishop Daly Pope Garnett
Bishop Daly Pope Garnett with his wife Katie,
daughter Graceyn, and son Thaddeus

50th Wedding Anniversary Gift Commission

50th Wedding Anniversary Gift Commission – Custom Jewelry Collection

Recently I had the pleasure of working with a gentleman on a custom jewelry collection as a 50th wedding anniversary gift for his wife. The traditional gift to commemorate a 50th wedding anniversary is gold, so this jewelry collection consisting of a cuff bracelet, pendant necklace, and set of post earrings was made from 14k yellow gold. The concept  for the Interlocking Jewelry Collection was inspired by two wedding bands interlocking and overlapping with open space between the two rings. The shape of the gold wire is a slight half round shape that I formed to look like their gold wedding bands.

interlocking gold pendant

In addition to hand drawn renderings, I also created prototypes to work out the forms in copper wire before moving on to the precious metal gold. I emailed my client the drawings and prototypes and we worked together closely over the course of several months to develop this exclusive collection for his special wife. The amount of thought and detail he put into it was very sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him to develop this unique jewelry collection!

interlocking gold earrings

For more examples of my custom commission projects and how to commission me to create a custom design for you, please visit my website Commission page.

Corporate Gift Commissions

oyster earrings

Corporate Gift Commissions

Kaminer Haislip offers services for corporate gift commissions that include custom designed jewelry and silver products. A recent custom corporate gift that is featured on this post was commissioned for a company retreat held at the resort Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC.

Kaminer was inspired by the shape of a Lowcountry oyster shell and designed these silver Oyster Earrings and Oyster Dish specially for the group in attendance. The ladies were given the silver earrings and the men the silver dish as the company retreat gift.

Additional previous corporate gift commissions include silver condiment spoons for the ladies and silver bar or cocktail spoons for the men, custom designed Christmas ornaments, and cufflinks.

Visit the Commission page on this website to find out how to commission Kaminer to design and create a unique gift for your company or corporation!

 

oyster dish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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