Among her other creations, Aleysha Howarth is the designer of the eight coins which form the Perth Mint’s Australian Opal series. These innovative collector coins represent the first time opals have been set in legal tender coinage of Australia. The first coin of the series featuring the Koala was released in February and received an enthusiastic reception from collectors. The series will continue at a rate of two coins per year featuring different nocturnal Australian animals and all eight phases of the moon.
“Collectors want to see exciting things and The Perth Mint is constantly pushing the boundaries. It’s great to be able to be a part of that.”
Aleysha studied at Central TAFE School of Art and Design, attaining an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design, majoring in Illustration. Since graduating, Aleysha has always leaned towards editorial illustration – something that tells a story – and is inspired by a love of nature and animals. With a background in screen printing, editorial illustration, and design illustration for the development of marketing materials, Aleysha commenced her employment as a designer at The Perth Mint in 2008. Since that time, she has had many opportunities to further discover and explore her passion for the natural world.
For a period of seven months in 2011, Aleysha took up a position of engraver at the Perth Mint, working with computer software to create the 3D relief of coins. She ultimately returned to her position as a designer, after gaining some valuable insights.
“I returned to my position as a designer because I was interpreting other people’s designs and struggled with wanting to change things about them. However, being an engraver was an invaluable experience because I now approach my designs differently knowing the technical aspects that go into producing a coin. I would one day like to unite the two skills.”
Perth Mint Creations
Aleysha has a penchant for many of the coin programs that she has created for The Perth Mint. From a personal view, her favorite coin program to work on was the 2010 Famous Ballets 1oz Silver Coin Set.
“I love ballet and the theater and I was lucky enough to be able to conduct field research by watching the Western Australian Ballet rehearse. I studied their movements and took sketches to assist with my designs. This product was extremely beautiful and I am honored to have been a part of its creation.”
“The Royal Wedding coin was also a particularly rewarding program to work on. I felt like I was a part of history, being involved with commemorating such a memorable occasion.”
As part of the collaborative creative process undertaken at The Perth Mint, Aleysha has been intimately involved in the design of a number of other notable commemorative coin programs. These include the 2012 Discover Australia coin series, the 2011 Dame Nellie Melba coin, and the 2010 Famous River Journeys coin set, and Saint Mary MacKillop gold and silver releases.
Australian Opal Series
Aleysha has recently designed eight coins which form the new Australian Opal series.
“The idea of an opal coin was originally presented by our marketing team. Initially, there was a considerable amount of research and development to be conducted in order to see if it was possible. Once we learned that it could be done, I was provided with a creative brief for the design of each coin. There is a long process from design concept to coin completion, which involves a series of meetings and design changes until everyone is pleased with the finished result.”
“The drawings start out very detailed, with luscious looking flora. It is then the engravers role to interpret the illustrations and include as much detail as possible, before it gets to the stage when the polishers can make something quite special.”
“It is very much a collaborative effort, and I am privileged to get the opportunity to liaise with a lot of talented people, including marketers, the other designers and the Mint’s technical services team.
“During discussions of the initial concept with the other designers, Wade Robinson (Perth Mint Head Designer) and I came up with the moon motif to help link each design with the nocturnal theme of the program and give the series a really cohesive feel.”
“As long as I’m evolving and growing as an artist, I’m happy. My job at The Perth Mint presents continual challenges, so it’s always exciting. To be a part of creating something new and innovative each time, yet not knowing how it’s going to be received, is very motivating.”