Kelly, Rod (5 of 5) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts' Lives

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  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Metal work

  • Recording date

    2011-09-07, 2011-10-05, 2011-10-27, 2012-07-19, 2012-10-12

  • Interviewees

    Kelly, Rod (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Wright, Elizabeth (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 5: Approach from Martin Stancliffe [MS], architect, to design a hanging pyx for Saint Paul’s Cathedral; description of what a pyx is; Mention that the Dean, The Very Revd John Moses, wanted the pyx to hang in the chapel that is reserved for silent prayer; challenge of this given the mechanism of the pyx; description of the counterweight system. Description of the pyx; size and weight; weighing it at the local butcher’s shop. Process of having the steel counterweight made; having the steel wires made at a ship’s chandler’s; iron link chain designed by RK and made by a blacksmith in North Norfolk. Installation of the pyx at Saint Paul’s Cathedral; seeing it used for the first time; returning to clean the pyx, which is now classed as part of the building. [0:12:48] Developing the suspension mechanism; reasons for choosing a non-motorised system; mention of currently working on a similar system for a sanctuary lamp for a church in Romford, Essex; description of what a sanctuary lamp is. Reasons for designing simple mechanisms when making things to be used in buildings; response to the pyx when it was first used. Becoming better as a silversmith with age and experience; slow learning curve of silversmithing. Further comments about returning to clean the pyx; description of the cleaning process. [0:24:37] Story about cutting the wrong part of a piece; problems caused by distractions. Making judgments about designs or works in progress; difficulty of making aesthetic judgments under pressure; importance of having time to think; feelings about arbitrary deadlines. Sheila’s preference for tight deadlines. [0:31:46] Cost of gilding and polishing; pricing for crafts in comparison to works of art; setting a price; time planning; working out costings. [0:38:31] Packaging pieces to give to people; RK’s letters from clients including Edward Heath, the Princess of Wales, Tony and Cherie Blair; being invited to dinners; recent dinner in Exeter for the Incorporation of Weavers, Fullers and Shearman, where RK’s loving cup was used; traditions surrounding this; more modest hand-overs. [0:44:46] Bursary from Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust [QUEST] to study inlaying gold and the making of large dishes in 2000; commission from the Royal Warrant Holders to make a gift for the Royal wedding in 2011; timescale for this; creating design for a goblet whilst in Shetland; imagery used on this; piece of calligraphy and wooden box that were made to go with the goblet. Mention of making a bowl for the Princess of Wales, given to her by the Merchant Taylor’s Company; not knowing where either this or the goblet are now. Description of the goblet. [0:52:45] Decisions involved in the process of making the goblet; caulking process; modeling parts of the goblet. [0:56:26] Buying and renovating a croft house in Shetland; getting to know the families who live there; workroom there; sea view from this room; Shetland weather. Building a workshop there with the intention of working with younger silversmiths from Bishopsland Educational Trust there. [0:59:20] [Microphone adjustment] Reasons for wanting to work with young silversmiths; buying equipment for the Shetland workshop; thinking about own process by explaining it to others; solving own problems this way; enthusiasm of young makers. [1:04:33] Description of RK’s croft house; conservatory built by RK from oak cut in Norfolk; mention that the sea is about a hundred yards away; peat banks; Ivor Wood, formally a ship’s captain, who taught RK to cut peat; feeling of Shetland home. History of the house, once the largest in Muckle Row; stonework. [1:11:10] Plans for the next few years including doing more design work and teaching as well as making major commissions; mention of giving a lecture last year in New York with Jane Short and Hiroshi Suzuki; idea of being an artist in residence in another city. Feelings about achievements to date; having pieces in museums including the V&A, Birmingham Museum, Norwich Castle Museum, National Museum of Scotland and ten or eleven livery companies; wanting to teach independently rather than in the education system; further comments about reasons for this. [1:15:50] Feelings about recording this life story interview; thinking about the recording between sessions; story about driving to see childhood home in Reading. Idea that relatives and descendants in the future might listen to the recording.

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