Andy and Jack were in Hereford last month for the AGM of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association as part of Ferrous 2017. There were some fascinating talks and two outstanding exhibitions of work by leading metal artists at the city’s Cathedral and Museum. ‘Transition’ and ‘Forge’ were both curated by Delyth Done, course leader of the Artist Blacksmithing BA at Hereford College, and bring together in one place some of the most exciting contemporary forged metal design around, aiming to ‘represent a paradigm shift from the traditional discourse of the blacksmith and break new ground by synthesising and articulating the practice of creative and conceptual working with forged metal.’ Members of the public had the opportunity to forge ginkgo leaves as part of a sculptural ‘arbour’ designed by Ambrose Burn for St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford.
Andy gave his own talk about the flagship event BathIRON, to be held in June next year, within the context of the National Heritage Ironwork Group’s work. In what many described as an inspiring and thought-provoking talk, he urged fellow BABA members, as the custodians of ancient skills which are at risk of being lost, to keep them alive and pass them on. NHIG are selling hand-forged treble clefs to raise funds for BathIRON and several smiths came forward offering to make batches in their workshops. All in all a great weekend of fun and forging among kindred spirits!
This lovely gate was commissioned by keen gardeners in Holt who brought in a drawing of some bull-rushes. Andy developed the theme to arrive at this delightful gate which Jack really enjoyed making, and which we hope will give great pleasure to its owners for many years to come.
Another Christmas gift idea comes in the form of these beautiful hand-forged treble clefs – perfect for the budding musician or music lover on your list. They would also make a completely original Christmas tree decoration.
Even better, by purchasing one you will help the NHIG to stage a unique event in the centre of Bath which will run from 14th-17th June next year, celebrating heritage skills, promoting the care of historic ironwork and championing the work of the artist blacksmiths who are the custodians of these vital traditional skills.
They were made during a forge-in at Ironart by volunteers who are passionate about their craft and keen to support the BathIRON initiative. So if you want join them in supporting this important grass-roots celebration of our shared heritage, buy a treble clef and help make it happen!
It’s that wonderful time of year again – woodsmoke on the air, brightly coloured leaves, long cosy evenings – when thoughts inevitably turn to Christmas, and soon afterwards to Christmas gifts …
But don’t worry, we have not one but two original gift ideas for you. First off, for those winter get-togethers out in the garden, one of our sturdy fire-pits in a choice of striking designs – the perfect warm focal point for friends and family to gather round: http://ironart.co.uk/product_category/garden-braziers/
We’re very pleased to be welcoming two new members of staff this summer – Rick and Stacey. A keen horserider, Stacey went into farriery after leaving school but soon branched out into other areas of metalwork including blacksmithing and jewellery, until she discovered a passion for historic pieces and ended up on the metalwork conservation course at West Dean. Stacey spent some time at Ironart a couple of years ago and we were impressed by her work on the Bartlett Street restoration project we had on at the time (read about it here: http://ironart.co.uk/bartlett-street-overthrow-restoration-2/ So as soon as she finished at West Dean we were glad to have her back and are sure she’ll be a great asset to the team.
Although he started off as a chef, Rick quickly made the natural transition (?) to welding and spent many years building boats in Wiltshire. He has a strong background in several areas of metalwork, including a spell in a 2CV restoration workshop so he’s certainly had a good training in the art of dismantling and reassembling intricate component parts. In his spare time, Rick plays the synthesiser he built for himself, enforcing his ‘sonic mayhem’ on his patient family (1 wife 3 daughters).
Our clients in Blagdon were looking for a unique balustrade to complement their new staircase, something dynamic and contemporary in design but with solid, firmly traditional construction, emulating the sinuous quality of the staircase. We think the final piece is a striking addition to what will be a beautiful home once finished.
Well, June has come and gone and we did manage to get back to a few of the gardens where we’ve recently installed ironwork – just to see how it’s all looking with the gardens in full flower. In Doynton, the Allium Gates are settling in particularly well – a fitting reflection of the idea of ‘bounteousness’ that inspired them – and hopefully fulfilling their chief purpose of keeping that muntjac out …
It’s always good to be out in the garden in June, especially when we’re installing a magnificent gazebo like this – which is just perfect for the spot that’s been lovingly prepared for it. It’s a great feeling when all the component parts that have been carefully crafted in the workshop come together perfectly on-site, particularly when the finished piece looks immediately at home as it does here.
June 1967 – Sgt Pepper had just been released, Aretha Franklin’s Respect was at number one, protests against the Vietnam War were at their height … and as the first cash machine appeared on the streets of London, over in Bath a metal workshop called Ironart opened its doors for business.
Sam Chantry, the original owner, made some of the classic Bath ironwork that you see around you today, including railings, gates and balconies at the likes of the Royal Crescent, the Theatre Royal and further afield at Bowood House. Our very own Luke worked for Chantry as a teenager and sometimes finds himself revisiting the ironwork he helped to install all those years ago.
And 50 years later in June 2017 here will still are, on the same site in Larkhall, doing what we do best – making beautiful bespoke ironwork that will adorn your homes and gardens for another 50 years – at least…
We bid a fond farewell to Ted and Mary this week as both are off on new adventures. Ted is taking on the dry dock of a boatyard in Bradford on Avon, and Mary will be exploring various artistic ventures via Glastonbury and a seaweed farm in Ireland, finally ending up on an organic farm in Somerset. Luckily there’s a forge on-site …
Here they are with the whole team (minus Alan who is motor-biking around Norway) just before departure.