To mark Mother's Day this year, think about signing mum up to become a Friend of the Sarjeant Gallery.

"If your mum is not a Friend of the Sarjeant already you can join her up now for the yearly rate [$30 for an individual] and get 14 months membership," says Jaki Arthur, Sarjeant Gallery relationships officer.

"Being a Friend of the Gallery means you get all the news and mailings, invitations to the events and openings, and various special opportunities as well as a discount at the Sarjeant's gorgeous shop."

"Then, as the cherry on the top, a contribution to the Friends of the Sarjeant Chandelier can be made."

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The Friends Chandelier will be made by the Crystal Chain Gang and the Sarjeant will invite contributors to join an organised road trip to see it being made in the group's Martinborough studio.

The unique chandelier will be a handsome birthday gift from the Friends to the Sarjeant on the occasion of the gallery's 100th birthday. It will be unveiled at the opening of the anticipated "Centenary Exhibition" in September this year at Sarjeant on Quay.

An example of a Crystal Chain Gang chandelier currently hangs in Sarjeant on the Quay in the form of the Co-Lab Chandelier - though the Friends Chandelier will be radically different as it will directly reference the unique architectural details of the Sarjeant Gallery in Queen's Park, Pukenamu.

Jim Dennison, of the Crystal Chain Gang, taking moulds at the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queens Park for the Friends Chandelier. Photo / Supplied
Jim Dennison, of the Crystal Chain Gang, taking moulds at the Sarjeant Gallery at Pukenamu Queens Park for the Friends Chandelier. Photo / Supplied

Leanne Williams and Jim Dennison, of the Crystal Chain Gang, visited the Sarjeant Gallery earlier this year and took moulds of the gallery's fine detailing using a fast-setting rubber mix that peels off easily and can be used to make a more robust mould.

"We got up ladders to get close to lots of nice detail, particularly decorative plaster work that looked a bit like chandelier drops. We took quite a lot of moulds in the entrance area, which is heavily decorated," Leanne said.

Exploring the now empty basement of the old building with Greg Donson brought to light some original castings from the construction so they have also been used to take moulds back in the studio.

On site they took moulds of decorative beading and oblong shapes that repeat throughout the Sarjeant. Semi-botanical, floral shapes are another ornate feature they will use in the chandelier.

"We are also making moulds for hollow cylindrical shapes that will be blown to make three-dimensional drops out of two-dimensional features," Leanne said.

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The mould-making is a lengthy process. They make a series of wax, plaster, and metal moulds.

"We have to create a negative of the shape in steel so we can pour glass into it.
There are no undercuts and it comes out easily."

Once the moulds are made, a team of five will work on making the chandelier forms and at that stage it becomes a highly skilled factory process.

The hot glass and studio time needed to make the chandelier have been donated by New Zealand Glassworks.

Jaki Arthur is relationships officer at the Sarjeant Gallery.