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Piece of Shropshire on latest luxury cruise ship

Workers at a Shropshire company are on the crest of a wave after playing a key role in the interior design of the latest cruise ship to hit the high seas.

Spirit of Discovery set sail on her first trip, a round-Britain cruise from Dover, in July following a fireworks display over the port to celebrate the landmark event.

The Saga Cruises ship has been five years in production, a luxury vessel tailored for the British Market and catering for nearly 1,000 guests. Sister ship Spirit of Adventure is due to make her maiden voyage next year.

Bishop’s Castle based company Feathercast was called in to help create the ‘bronze’ atrium artistic feature spanning three decks of the ship and visible from a number of onboard locations.

Emma Pearson, managing director of Feathercast, said: “This was an amazing project to work on and our whole team is absolutely delighted with the result – it’s a truly incredible focal point and something which takes the breath away when you see it.

“The bronze relief was two years in the making with Feathercast working closely with SMC Design who were tasked with overseeing all aspects of hospitality design, artwork procurement and onboard branding for the Spirit of Discovery.

“Working with SMC and using plans direct from the shipyard in Germany, we were able to construct moulds for panels which, when cast in Jesmonite, were assembled onto aluminium frames to create the finished piece over 12m high.

“We used Jesmonite because of its unique properties which make it easy to work with, is light and can be made to replicate any material. In this case bronze.

“With over 70 per cent raw bronze in the Jesmonite product, once polished it mimics the appearance and texture of real bronze – even remaining cold to the touch.

“Feathercast works entirely with Jesmonite because it enables us to reproduce an infinite number of incredibly detailed surfaces, designs and finishes accurately, and safely – when compared with working with other materials.

“In the case of the Spirit of Discovery it also meant we were able meet International Maritime Regulations and also keep the overall weight down which was another important factor when considering the scale of the artwork.

“It was exciting to follow the path of the project as each of the panels were designed and then created before being finally assembled.

“Our client was thrilled with the final result and it’s amazing to think how many people will be viewing our work on board the Spirit of Discovery in the many years ahead.”

The atrium is a celebration of British artists and landscapes – a collage of images from around the British Isles which have been incorporated into the design.

The Spirit of Discovery, officially named by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 774.3ft long and has a maximum beam of 102.4ft.