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Heart of gold

Since their household is pretty complete, Bettina and Stephan asked for money gifts for their wedding. (It's an usual practice in Germany, and it's not considered as bad taste.)

Of course, we wanted their present to be something as special as the love they share, and I began with some research.

Money gifts were mostly made of bills, and the topic was heavily beach holiday-inspired. For the technical part, it seems that many people excel at folding bank notes into deck chairs and boats, but I'm definitely not one of them. Further, neither Stephan nor Bettina counts extreme sunbathing as their hobbies. Stephan being a forest official, their wedding was rather nature and forest-themed.

The requirements emerged during this phase:

  • The gift had to contain real money.
  • The final object had to be solid and big enough to reflect the importance of mariage.
  • I wanted to use coins - and not bank notes - because the overall effect better matches the idea of long-lasting relationship and prosperity.
  • It had to be about love (hey, it's a wedding after all!)
  • Ideally, the present would contain some kind of interactivity.

The heart shape came up to my mind, followed by the idea of wrapping it with coins in some way. Still, something important was missing: action! The gift would have to survive a 2 hours drive to the wedding place, and then again a few hours until the party began. Water and chocolate were discarded. Some object burning would have been nice, but too risky indoors.

The notion of fire lead to the notion of light. From this point, it was easy to imagine an illumniated heart-shaped thing... The "Heart of Gold" lamp was born.

I choose wires, which would provide a solid canvas to support the coins, but at the same time let the light from the inside shine through. The skeleton was made of 4 bigger wires, every 2 of them soldered together to form a heart, still open at its base. The 2 resulting hearts were also separated by cross-beams to provide stability.

The base consisted of a thick oak board with a hole in the middle, where the electric bulb would be placed. The loose ends of the wired frame would be inserted into smaller holes around the middle, so the construction would stand safe.

Once the base would be done, we would use a thinner wire to wrap around the heart's skeleton on the outside. The wire would be tangled to the construction where they met and pulled very tight.

Once this was done, the electric bulb and its switch also in place, we glued the coins to the wired heart. That's it!

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