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Holy Tulsi wall sculpture for the Tulsi Restaurant and Bar, Westerham, Kent.

In late June I was approached, via my website, as to whether I might be able to create a sculpture of a Tulsi leaf for the Tulsi Restaurant and Bar in Westerham. The restaurant had been supplying food throughout the pandemic for customers, who now wanted to show their gratitude. The restaurant already had a Papier-mâché wall relief that had been damaged and I was asked to create a replacement in copper.

Existing, damaged papier mache relief.

I discussed the project by telephone and email as Covid19 prevented face to face meetings. I asked for images of the existing relief, with important details such as the size of the piece required. I made proposals as to how the work might be undertaken and an approximate time frame for completion of the sculpture. I was able to provide a price for the work by email, including an itemised quotation detailing cost of materials and labour. Once this had been accepted and a deposit made I began work on the design for the sculpture.

I undertook some basic research, looking at the restaurant website and found that they employ a Tulsi leaf design as a logo on their menus etc. I also researched images related to the Tulsi plant (Ocimum Sanctum) and the cultural significance of the plant. In India the Tulsi plant has been worshipped for thousands of years; It is considered as a Sacred Plant and it is present in almost every Hindu family home, usually in the front, back or inside their house.

Recent studies have also shown that Tulsi plant releases Ozone(O3) along with Oxygen(O2), which is very essential for ecological balance. World ozone day is celebrated on 16th September every year and on that day some environmental organisations in India and abroad also distribute Tulsi plants.

It seemed obvious to me that given the importance of the plant that the sculpture should be naturalistic; the design of the sculpture being taken directly from images of a real Tulsi leaf and that the copper sculpture should be given a verdigris patina prior to being sealed.

This was agreed by the client and I was able to begin work on the sculpture using aluminium mesh over an aluminium framework.

Once this was in place it was covered with aqua resin and reinforced with the quadaxial matting providing strength whilst maintaining a light weight. This was further coated with aqua resin and sanded smooth in order to gain the desired finish. At this stage images of the sculpture were provided to the client for approval. (see below)

The client's response was 'Brilliant Rob, looks amazing'. This allowed for me to move to the copper coating of the sculpture. At the same time I was asked about the possibility of a plaque to accompany the sculpture with an inscription of 'A gift from friends and customers of the Tulsi Restaurant, Westerham for services to the community'. I sourced a suitable plaque, and supplied the quotation for an A5 perspex plaque and fixings. Once approved I placed an order on their behalf.

Once the copper coating had been applied I added the patination before applying Renaissance Wax to protect the patina. Images were then emailed to the client. Once approval had been given the sculpture was securely packaged ready for delivery, whilst I waited for the accompanying plaque to be delivered to me.

On Thursday 23rd July I was able to deliver the plaque and Tulsi Leaf to the client's home along with hanging plans to facilitate accurate placement of the wall fixings, which I also supplied.

The leaf was duly presented to the restaurant and I was informed that the owners of the restaurant 'loved it'.

I look forward to seeing images and possibly reading the story of the presentation of the Tulsi Leaf sculpture in the Sevenoaks Chronicle who attended the presentation.

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