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Medal Design





    AWARD 2011


Promotie van de Medaille, a non-profit organization in Belgium whose purpose is self explanatory, sponsors an annual juried medal design competition among other activities to keep numismatic or medal art in the limelight. In 2011 it  awarded  ''Year of the Forest'' by Teresa Beth Hough.  The video on this page shows the basic process used to create the medal using low relief sculpture technique. Below the video is an excerpt from an article which  describes the thought process behind the elements in the design.

TBH in the studio








Q How did you chose the various elements you incorporated into the design?

TBH:  I will explain from the bottom up by horizontal rungs. First I made horizontal segments in the circular shape like the earth to represent the seven continents. The imagery that fills them is explained per section below:
 Rung 1  Bottom center: The concentric circles form the slice of a tree. From such a cross section one can approximate the age of a tree. I use this to symbolize the time it takes for one tree or many trees to grow into forest.

Rung 2
 During its lifetime devastation as well as nice things occur that affect growth. This could be insect infestation, ravages of natural disasters, or another enemy of nature and to trees specifically which is man. Here we see a positive example of interference in the managed forest  Planting is done for commercial reasons, conservation of the forest, to strengthen the soil or  to restore eco systems.
Rung 3
   Represents the rainforest which is totally unmanaged. Its many subcultures create a chaotic environment with uncontrolled growth and interrupted flow of light. Lower center: An outstretched frog, which procreates very fast symbolizes fertility and the wilderness of nature without interference of man.
Rung 4 a, b, c
Providing a welcomed resting place to the overall design, the next three, similar horizontal rungs represents an aerial view  of the rainforest which disguises the enormous biodiversity and coexistence of many creatures which depend on the thickly populated green richness at the top of the rain forest.

Rung 5   The forest provides an outstanding means of transportation for animals which is represented by the interlocked tails of prehensile animals. Trees jre important for them to get away from danger; provide play and movement for good health
 Rung 6   On the right is a comparison between the tallest and the lowest creatures that are dependent on trees such as giraffe, snake and centipede that morphs into a butterfly for a few short weeks. Left: The face of an imagined animal represents extinct animals or those yet undiscovered. Continuing with idea of animal sizes one cannot miss the elephant but only include  the part of this animal which is the same word for a part of a tree to highlight the English word play "trunk". 

Rung 7
  Nuts, acorns, are a part of tree growth, but I wanted to make a point of the miraculous transformation of a tree from beginning to maturity. A seedling uses the same air as a bird such as a toucan to find its place in a complex world.
   All elements are surrounded by a  rim of decorative leaves, vines, and logs (bottom center). From top center the rim leads the eye in either direction back to the bottom to realize the full growth cycle  from seedling to tree and forest. The thought that trees just as humans coexist as individuals or as part of a group and despite what comes, we find our path of life, completes the metaphor.




  The medal design combines two broad themes to express a modern metaphorical interpretation    
click to enlarge