Jewellery designer tom Rucker creates bust of Nelson Mandela

It is made from platinum wire using an intricate laser-welding technique
Jewellery designer tom Rucker creates bust of Nelson Mandela

Jewellery designer Tom Rucker has created a bust of Nelson Mandela, prompted by his urge to do something on a subject that has influenced world history. The inspiration to choose Nelson Mandela as the subject was the children in Khayelitsha Township who explained Nelson Mandela to be their hero.

Rucker comments that ‘Nelson Mandela has inspired millions of people in the world to live together in peace and freedom. Rucker’s bust creation is a life-sized, three-dimensional sculpture of a head and face. The unique structure of the piece is inspired by visionary architect Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome in Montreal. Rucker has worked for a number of years perfecting an intricate laser-welding technique to create similarly hollow and light but very strong jewellery pieces using platinum wire, because of the metal’s strength and durability.

Rucker uses a laser beam to fuse segments with intense heat. Working under a microscope Rucker was able to work without any computer programme to create the face of Mandela. An amazing 1.9 million laser spots were used to create the piece.

The back of the head is made from white biscuit porcelain and the sculpture features eyes set with black diamonds. The artist explains his choice of black and white as symbolising the absence of any one colour, ‘Mandela stands not just for one colour so I have deliberately used black and white which sit outside of the colour spectrum to represent Mandela’s vision of unity’.

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