Metalwork Objects in Focus, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Gryphon Knife and Dragon Fork, made in Sheffield (1997)
This cutlery set made from silver and stainless steel was designed by Stella Campion for the Millennium Canteen. The Millennium Canteen is a canteen of cutlery that was commissioned as part of the '700 Years of Sheffield Cutlery' celebrations in 1997.
This set is called Gryphon Knife and Dragon Fork.
The objects were initially carved in wax and then cast using the lost wax process, a technique most often used to create sculptures. Gryphons (or griffins) are mythical beasts combining the rear body of a lion with the head, wings and talons of an eagle. In heraldry they symbolise strength and vigilance.
The use of heraldic symbols for decorating metalwork was very popular between 1200 and 1500, when personal objects first began to be passed down in families. Coats of arms and badges of allegiance were engraved onto objects to communicate the owner’s social position.
You can find out more about the lost wax process by following the website link here or below ('The Mysterious Lost Wax Process' on My Learning). This includes video clips of the step-by-step process and an interview with a contemporary sculptor talking about his work.