The Making Of The Crystal WAR Flowers
Crystal artist Mark Raynes Roberts, designing the WAR Flowers Crystal Collection in his studio.

Crystal artist Mark Raynes Roberts, designing the WAR Flowers Crystal Collection in his studio.

The WAR Flowers crystal collection is totally hand-engraved and was created using the finest optical crystal used in telescope lenses. Before embarking on the design process it was important for me to submerge myself in research material pertaining to Canada’s military role during the First World War to help me build a visual library of war time photography and to develop my own hand drawn sketches which would inform my final designs for the crystal.

In 2015, Canadian Documentary Film Director, Viveka Melki, first heard about the Lt Col. George S. Cantlie WAR Flower letter, from (retired) Lt Col. Bruce Bolt, from the Blackwatch Regiment in Montreal. He was concerned the 100 year old pressed flowers pressed within the letters needed to be conserved for prosperity, which inspired Melki to consider the potential for a unique touring exhibition. The beautiful World War 1 story provided a wonderful opportunity for me to hand engrave a “living” version of the pressed flowers Cantlie  had picked from the battlefields of France, and combine the floral interpretation within the ten chosen human themes capturing both the fragility and emotions of war through the ten-piece collection.

Mark Raynes Roberts process of designing and hand-engraving of the WAR Flowers Collection.

Mark Raynes Roberts process of designing and hand-engraving of the WAR Flowers Collection.

As a crystal engraver I have employed the same two techniques for over 35 years now, combining both  intaglio (three dimensional carving) and stipple engraving (using a diamond point, to create dark and light), which are both ancient techniques. This unique combination creates both strong deep carving with an ethereal quality and lyrical delicacy. By engraving the various faceted surfaces of the crystal this maximizes the refractive properties of the crystal creating an alchemy where images appear and disappear.

Solitude - WAR Flowers Collection, Mark Raynes Roberts. Dimensions: 91/2″h x 12″w x 11/2″d

Solitude - WAR Flowers Collection, Mark Raynes Roberts. Dimensions: 91/2″h x 12″w x 11/2″d

A major consideration in the creation of the crystal collection was that it would be touring from Les Jardins de Metis, in Grand-Metis, Quebec, to four destinations including the Canadian War Museum, (Ottawa) Campbell House Museum, (Toronto) Vimy Visitors Centre, (Vimy, France) and to  the Chateau Ramezsay Museum. (Montreal) So it was important to design the sculptures so they would be consistent in scale, easily transportable yet still be unique in design and shape. Normand Dumont, the WAR Flowers exhibition designer and I agreed on this important factor before I started any of the engraving design, to insure we recognized these parameters and achieved an original collection.

 
Healing – WAR Flowers Crystal Collection, Mark Raynes Roberts Dimensions: 143/4″h x 103/4″w x 3″d

Healing – WAR Flowers Crystal Collection, Mark Raynes Roberts Dimensions: 143/4″h x 103/4″w x 3″d

The WAR Flowers ten-piece crystal collection is illuminated in the exhibition from underneath and the 
sculptures set against a black background to emphasis the detail of the engraving. My hope and aspiration
to to create works of art which symbolize the courage, honour and humanity of those 68,000 Canadian’s 
who died in WW1.

 
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Quick Facts

  • War Flowers will present the letters of Lieutenant-Colonel George Stephen Cantlie and highlight the pressed flowers found in his correspondence by linking them to 10 people - soldiers or Canadian citizens who played a key role in Canada’s contribution to the First World War.

  • It will include crystal art, sound and light effects, as well as fragrances associated with the 10 flowers and people.

  • The WAR Flowers exhibition tour travels to Reford Gardens, Grand-Métis, (June to Sept 2017) the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, (Oct 22 2017 - Jan 7, 2018) Campbell House Museum, Toronto, (Jan 24 - Mar 25, 2018) the Visitor Education Centre, Vimy, France, (April - Sept 2018) Chateau Ramezsay Museum, Montreal, (Dec 2018 - Jan 2020) and to the Borealis Gallery, Legislature Assembly of Alberta. (Spring 2020)

For more information on exhibition details please visit: www.warflowers.ca 

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WAR FLOWERS Exhibition opens at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.
 
Curator, Viveka Melki, introduces the WAR FLOWERS creative team, (from left to right) Alexandra Bachand, (Perfumer) Celine Arsenault, (Conservator) Alexander Reford, (Historian) Mark Raynes Roberts, (Crystal Artist) and Normand Dumont. (Exhibition Designer)

Curator, Viveka Melki, introduces the WAR FLOWERS creative team, (from left to right) Alexandra Bachand, (Perfumer) Celine Arsenault, (Conservator) Alexander Reford, (Historian) Mark Raynes Roberts, (Crystal Artist) and Normand Dumont. (Exhibition Designer)

WAR Flowers | FLEUR D’ARMES opened on October 20th, 2018, at the stunning Canadian War Museum designed by architect Raymond Moriyama. The building which rises in the east to a large fin, clad in copper with small windows that spell out in Morse code “Lest we forget” and its French equivalent, “N’oublions jamais,” was the perfect venue to showcase the WAR FLOWERS exhibition.

Stephen Quick, the Director General of the Canadian War Museum, and Alexander Reford, WAR Flowers historian and Director, of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens welcomed guests to the the World War 1 inspired touring art exhibition. This exhibition being the first Les Jardins de Metis/Reford Gardens has produced for touring internationally.

The WAR Flowers exhibition was located in the LeBreton Gallery where the Vimy Memorial sculptures are usually on permanent display by the late Canadian sculptor Walter Allward. (which he created between 1925-30) Four of Allwards masterpieces had been sent to Vimy, for exhibition in France, allowing the WAR Flowers Crystal Collection to share the space with several sculptures that remained.

The WAR FLOWERS Collection is seen among Walter Allwards’ sculptures created for the Vimy War Memorial.

The WAR FLOWERS Collection is seen among Walter Allwards’ sculptures created for the Vimy War Memorial.

Viveka Melki and Alexander Reford worked closely with the Canadian War Museum team of Stacey Barker (Historian) Caroline Dromaguet (Director of Exhibitions) and Molly McCullough, (Content Supervisor) in creating this unique and moving exhibition.

During World War 1, Lt. Col George S. Cantlie has plucked flowers from the fields of war-torn Europe, sending them home to his baby daughter Celia in Montréal. Those 100 year old flowers have now been preserved, and are part of this unique multi-sensory exhibition curated by Viveka Melki, who uses floriography – the Victorian language of flowers to create an immersive experience featuring Cantlie’s letters, Mark Raynes Roberts, specially commissioned crystal sculpture, and original flower-based scents, created by Perfumer, Alexandra Bachand, which have been interwoven with the personal stories of ten Canadians directly involved in the war.

Alexandra Bachand, (Perfumer) with Viveka Melki, (Curator) and Mark Raynes Roberts. (Crystal Artist)

Alexandra Bachand, (Perfumer) with Viveka Melki, (Curator) and Mark Raynes Roberts. (Crystal Artist)

“WAR Flowers is the story of humanity’s unfailing ability to find beauty, even in times of war. If war is a story we are doomed to repeat, then innocence appears to be its eternal partner. As these flowers have never been separated from their letters, so has war ever been part of humanity’s story. It has left its imprint on our earth, as pollen stains paper…”
                                                                             Viveka Melki, WAR Flowers, Curator.

 
The VIP opening reception attracted hundreds of guests, along with several Ambassadors and  Members of Parliament including Denis Lemieux, (MP Chicoutimi- LeFjord) Diane Lebouthillier,  (Minister of National Revenue) Rémi Massé (MP Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia)  Alexander Reford, (Director Jardins de Metis) and Jean Rious.  (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.)

The VIP opening reception attracted hundreds of guests, along with several Ambassadors and
Members of Parliament including Denis Lemieux, (MP Chicoutimi- LeFjord) Diane Lebouthillier,
(Minister of National Revenue) Rémi Massé (MP Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia)
Alexander Reford, (Director Jardins de Metis) and Jean Rious.
(Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.)

The themed WAR FLOWERS stations for MEMEORY (Elsie Reford) Forget-Me-Knot and ETERNAL SLEEP (John McCrae) Poppies.

The themed WAR FLOWERS stations for MEMEORY (Elsie Reford) Forget-Me-Knot and ETERNAL SLEEP (John McCrae) Poppies.

The WAR Flowers exhibition tour travels to Reford Gardens, Grand-Métis, (June to Sept 2017) the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, (Oct 22 2017 - Jan 7, 2018) Campbell House Museum, Toronto, (Jan 24 - Mar 25, 2018) the Visitor Education Centre, Vimy, France, (April - Sept 2018) Chateau Ramezsay Museum, Montreal, (Dec 2018 - Jan 2020) and to the Borealis Gallery, Legislature Assembly of Alberta. (Spring 2020)

For more information visit: www.warflowers.ca

 
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Canadian WAR Flowers Return To Vimy, France, 100 Years Later.
 
Alexander Reford, (far left) Director, Jardin de Metis, at the opening of the WAR Flowers exhibition at the new Visitors Education Centre, Vimy, France, with David Stevenson, (relative of Lt. Col. George S. Cantlie) and curator Viveka Melki.

Alexander Reford, (far left) Director, Jardin de Metis, at the opening of the WAR Flowers exhibition at the new Visitors Education Centre, Vimy, France, with David Stevenson, (relative of Lt. Col. George S. Cantlie) and curator Viveka Melki.

Alexandra Bachand, perfumer of the WAR Flowers exhibition, enters the Visitors Education Centre at the Canadian War Memorial in Vimy, France, on the official opening on May 3rd.

Alexandra Bachand, perfumer of the WAR Flowers exhibition, enters the Visitors Education Centre at the Canadian War Memorial in Vimy, France, on the official opening on May 3rd.

The WAR Flowers touring art exhibition opened in the new Visitors Education Centre, at the Canadian War Memorial, in Vimy, France on May 2nd, and will run for the whole of the summer until September 2nd, 2018. The new Visitors Education Centre was opened by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, last year, and presents the unique exhibition containing the 100 year old 
pressed flowers plucked from the battlefields of France, by Canadian officer, Lt. Col. George S. Cantlie.

Illuminated visitors at the official opening of the WAR Flowers exhibition in Vimy, France.

Illuminated visitors at the official opening of the WAR Flowers exhibition in Vimy, France.

The multi-sensory World War 1 exhibition was opened with fanfare by officials at the Visitors Education Centre, at the Canadian War Memorial, and by Alexander Reford, Director of Les Jardins de Metis / Reford Gardens, Quebec. This is the first traveling art exhibition Jardins de Metis have produced, which presents the 100 year old World War 1 pressed flowers alongside ten original hand-engraved crystal works of art by Mark Raynes Roberts, and olfactory perfumes by Alexandra Bachand, with historical artifacts and an original soundtrack.

Over 1000 daily visitors are expected to view the exhibition which will return to the Chateau Ramezay Museum, in Montreal, opening on October 24, 2018, and running until January 5th, 2020.

“Mother’s Love” created by crystal artist Mark Raynes Roberts, one of the ten WAR Flowers crystal sculptures now on display in Vimy, France, until, September 2nd, 2018.

“Mother’s Love” created by crystal artist Mark Raynes Roberts, one of the ten WAR Flowers crystal sculptures now on display in Vimy, France, until, September 2nd, 2018.

For more information on the exhibition please visit: www.warflowers.ca

 
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Pegasus World Cup Invitational the world’s richest horse race.
 

The world’s richest thoroughbred horse race, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational was run on Saturday, January 28th, at Gulfstream Park, Florida, and was won by 2016 Breeders Cup Classic Champion,  “Arrogate” owned by Juddmonte Farms, winning the eye watering $12 million purse and the new trophy created by Mark Raynes Roberts.

The Pegasus World Cup Invitational trophy was commissioned by Frank Stronach, Founder and Hon. Chairman, The Stronach Group, and created by crystal artist, Mark Raynes Roberts.

The Pegasus World Cup Invitational trophy was commissioned by Frank Stronach, Founder and Hon. Chairman, The Stronach Group, and created by crystal artist, Mark Raynes Roberts.

The vision of Mr. Frank Stronach, Founder and Honorary Chairman of The Stronach Group and Ms. Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President; the race attracted 17,000 race fans on race day to the world’s premier thoroughbred racing event at Gulfstream Park. With twelve owners having reserved their spot in the starting gate for $1 million USD, the race was run over a mile and an 1/8″ on dirt. The 12 places in the starting gate have been purchased for $1 million apiece the profits from the entire day were divided up among the gate owners, with the $12 million in entry fees making up the race’s purse. An innovation in horse racing and an exciting new spectacle on the racing calendar.

Mr. Stronach commissioned world renowned crystal artist and designer, Mark Raynes Roberts, to create the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational crystal trophy, who was inspired by the 112ft tall “Pegasus” bronze sculpture, which Mr. Stronach had erected at Gulfstream Park, Florida, which is part of The Stronach Group’s mission to attract a new audience to horse racing with the addition of a full entertainment package including luxury shopping and casino.

The inspiration and design process for the creation of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational crystal trophy, which incorporated 10 hand-cut pieces of optical crystal which were hand-engraved by artist, Mark Raynes Roberts.

The inspiration and design process for the creation of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational crystal trophy, which incorporated 10 hand-cut pieces of optical crystal which were hand-engraved by artist, Mark Raynes Roberts.

Mr. Stronach has known the artist for many years having first commissioned Raynes Roberts back in 1986 for Magna International Inc., the global auto-parts company he founded and ran for over fifty years which now has annual sales of $30 billion. Now focused on The Stronach Group and the evolution of horse racing into fully packaged entertainment experience, the artist created several crystal designs for Mr. Stronach to review which would capture the imagination of the race going public for the world’s richest horse race.

Mark Raynes Roberts, artist and designer of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational crystal trophy, puts the finishing touches to his trophy on race day morning at Gulfstream Park, Miami, Florida.

Mark Raynes Roberts, artist and designer of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational crystal trophy, puts the finishing touches to his trophy on race day morning at Gulfstream Park, Miami, Florida.

“The trophy is an iconic symbol of the excitement, dedication and ultimate achievement of our sports’ athletes and owners. Befitting of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the world’s richest thoroughbred horse race, the grand, unique and multi-dimensional sculpture created by Mark Raynes Roberts, represents a new pinnacle of accomplishment for our fine sport.
Belinda Stronach, Chairman, The Stronach Group

Arrogate wins the 2017 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park with Mike E. Smith up for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Juddmonte Farms, 2017 Pegasus World Cup. Trophy: Mark Raynes Roberts

Arrogate wins the 2017 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park with Mike E. Smith up for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Juddmonte Farms, 2017 Pegasus World Cup. Trophy: Mark Raynes Roberts

“I am very proud to have created this prestigious thoroughbred trophy and it is an honour to be part of this exciting new event for thoroughbred horse racing in North America”
Mark Raynes Roberts

The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakeholders, together with The Stronach Group, are on the leading edge of an industry game-changing catalyst to modernize the sport and engage a new generation of fans. The inaugural running of this industry-leading thoroughbred invitational exemplifies The Stronach Group’s commitment to modernizing and elevating the sport of horse racing for the next generation of fans, while providing lucrative opportunities for thoroughbred owners.

For information on the Pegasus World Cup: www.pegasusworldcup.com

 
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