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I was delighted to receive a very interesting brief for a commission of cufflinks and a pendant for the founder members of a business as a celebration of their success.

The business is called ‘Mudskipper’; a name carefully chosen for its associations with some of the remarkable qualities shared with the Mudskipper family of fishes.

My Client explains, ‘Mudskipper was founded primarily by our son-in-law and our daughter in 2001 as the first of a cluster of agencies delivering consultancy and value-added services to clients in the international pharmaceutical industry.  We now have operations in the UK, the USA, Shanghai and, most recently, Singapore.  Mudskipper was named after small air-breathing fish, which use their adapted pectoral fins to move on land.  We liked the idea that fish able to walk have many more positioning options to them than most of their competitors.  They also have eyes which enable them to see both above and below the surface of the water.  We thought that such a versatile creature was a suitable symbol for our company.”

The design process was interesting as I explored the amazing adaptations that these creatures have, and was able to incorporate these (such as their eyes, movement and even the pattern they make as they ‘walk’) into various ideas to discuss with my client.

The design process was interesting as I explored the amazing adaptations that these creatures have, and was able to incorporate these (such as their eyes, movement and even the pattern they make as they ‘walk’) into various ideas to discuss with my client.

 

 

 

I made the mudskippers by forging a square cross-section bar of gold with a hammer, into the taper that I needed. After filing and bending into shape, I soldered on the triangular fins and round eyes. I had to work carefully to make a mirror-image pair.

 

 

 

 

Soldering the finished mudskippers onto the silver background also had to be a careful job so that the join was neat, as any extra solder on the background would ruin the surface. To do this, I sweated the solder onto the base of the mudskippers before cooling, cleaning and placing them accurately onto their backgrounds. Then I was able to re-heat the whole piece and the solder flowed to join the two in exactly the right position.

The contrast of polished 18ct yellow gold and frosted silver let the mudskipper stand out from its background.

We thought that such a versatile creature was a suitable symbol for our company.  We think you have captured the idea very well.’

For the pendant, I wanted to represent the mudskipper having an advantage over ‘normal’ fish – or on another level, the business being above its competitors and better adapted to its business environment. To do this, I designed the mudskipper in 18ct gold at the top of the tapered background. I emphasized its eyes and claw-like fins, in contrast to the ‘normal’ fish underneath it. I also sought to capture some of its movement.

 ‘I have been in touch with my son-in-law who was the lucky recipient of your workmanship and he reports that he loves the cufflinks and wears them more or less every day.’

The finished pendant was worn on a silver torc

‘We are thrilled to bits with the necklet and the cufflinks – beautifully made – many thanks’

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