Mint Talk with Eric Riley – Sculptural Art of Parliament
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Mint Talk with Eric Riley – Sculptural Art of Parliament

November 26, 2019

Hi, I’m Eric from the Royal Canadian Mint I am here today in the Mint’s engraving department with Konrad Wachelko. Konrad worked on the new Sculptural Art of Parliament series, a three coin series featuring interpretations of sculptures present at Parliament. Konrad, what can you tell me about the engraving process? How do you take a drawing and turn it into something three dimensional? We’ll start off with the image and bring that into ArtCam, which is our 3D modelling software. Once the model is ready, we send it over to the CNC that carves out the model in steel, which becomes the Matrix. Once we’re happy with the Matrix and after it’s been worked over by hand, we’ll create a punch and once the punch is ready, we’ll create the die. Once the die is read, it’s used in the presses to strike the coins. For this set you didn’t have a design to go by. The original design was actually inspired by a sculpture. How did that change the process for you? We got to meet Phil White, who is the Dominion Sculptor at Parliament. He took us on a tour and we were able to see all the different sculptures. Phil explained all the different techniques and textures that were involved in the process thanks to that, we were able to create more dimension and more texture in our model, which makes the model more unique and creates a beautiful coin. Did you run into any challenges when you were working on this series? When you look at the grotesques at Parliament you’re seeing them from meters away. When we’re working on a coin we’re seeing them from inches away. So, our biggest challenge was creating the illusion that you’re seeing the grotesque from meters away, and that makes the coin very unique. These coins are ultra high relief, meaning the design projects even further from the coin itself, almost like a sculpture would. What in your mind is so special about working on this type of coin? When we’re working on a coin we’re creating the illusion of dimension. In this case, we have the dimension to work with and are able to create more texture. We’re able to create more depth and it ends up begin a very special coin for the collector. Thank you so much Konrad, it’s been great speaking with you today. The Sculptural Art of Parliament coins are available now on Also, be sure to follow us on YouTube and on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the latest coin news.

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