During my first exhibition at Art Source in the RDS, I couldn’t help but notice that there was an international rugby match happening that same weekend. A thought popped into my head – perhaps I could create a rugby ball using stainless steel?
I knew it was going to be a difficult task, particularly as I lacked access to large presses and had to rely solely on cold forming.
Experimenting with various methods, I did manage to get compound shapes, but nothing resembling a rugby ball! I created jigs to hold the steel in place and fashioned specialized tools to hammer the form into the contours I needed. Eventually, after nearly giving up, I finally achieved the shapes and size I wanted.
As a child, I remember playing with an old leather rugby ball that featured traditional lace stitching. I decided to incorporate this classic design element into my stainless steel rugby ball, but instead of the classic eight sections, I went for a more contemporary approach with four sections and a copper stitching effect. This was a design choice that I felt would appeal to rugby fans both young and old.
Creating this stainless steel rugby ball was one of the most challenging tasks I’ve ever undertaken. And you know what they say – ‘if you can imagine it, you can create it!’
The ball adheres to all size parameters for a standard size 5 rugby ball in girth, length, and circumference. It is made from 2mm marine grade stainless steel with a traditional copper stitching effect.
Each corner seam has a recessed groove with punch marks to emulate actual stitches.
The lace stitches are designed in copper with a wave effect as seen in the old-style laces.
Images show the various stages of the process of creating the ball and the result!