After an unfortunate driving incident, The Sunflower sculpture created by Ironart and situated at the bottom of Bathwick Hill in Bath has been damaged by a direct hit during the Christmas break. Fortunately, the driver was ok but sadly the level of damage means that it is looking like it is beyond economical repair. We are currently in negotiations with the council as to whether we will rebuild it for a potentially new home in the city. Watch this space…
We have been working on some different Georgian canopy projects. The first is an unusual project. We’ve had parts of a Georgian Canopy in store for a few years, they had been languishing in the basement of a local charity The St John’s Trust and Ironart agreed to store it with a view to selling it on behalf of the charity to anyone that might have a use for it. A client in Devizes who is building a new house using all reclaimed materials is now using the columns and balustrading to create a feature balcony, we are adapting these lovely old pieces to fit this new project. The original pieces are in amazing condition with virtually no corrosion or rust, no doubt having been previously well maintained and then being stored at St John’s. There have also been debates in the workshop about how the Georgian ironworkers created such beautifully neat leaded half-lap joints with invisible seams.
The second project is from Sion Hill, Clifton in Bristol. We are repairing and restoring a large mid-Victorian balcony and canopy from this property. The original ironwork was created between 1845 and 1873. The canopy was in varying states of degradation because of its location with a perfect view overlooking Clifton suspension bridge but in full receipt of the weather from Clifton Gorge for the last 170 years. Now it has been removed and taken back to our workshop, all the paint has been stripped off revealing stamps of Abadaire Ironworks where it was originally fabricated.
It is a beautifully constructed piece, immaculately created and with perfectly fitting joints. The tenons that fit into the stanchion uprights have an incredibly accurate tight fit which impressed the team working on them. Many of the lead flower details and the cross-sections they sit on need replacing necessitating the creation of moulds of the original flowers in order to make perfect copies. Foot details have also needed replacing, this has been done using reclaimed wrought iron forged to match the originals.
And the third canopy project that we have just completed after 2 years in storage is a beautiful Georgian porch structure that we removed and restored in Bristol in 2018. This is the same property that we created an enormous new canopy structure for in the same year. It is great to see this wonderful project finally complete!
In December 2018 we were pleased to finally see the installation and unveiling of a project that has taken 3 years to reach completion. Maid of the Bridge, a unique piece of public art conceived by Anna Gillespie, Bath based sculptor, and commissioned by developer Crest Nicholson was installed on the newly developed Riverside site in Bath to the great pleasure of the team who had worked on the project and of the local residents.
The sculpture was created from the puddled wrought iron bars from the original chains of the old adjacent Victoria Bridge which had been through a process of conservation and reconstruction in 2015. The bridge was originally constructed in 1836, designed and built by local entrepreneur, James Dredge who was a brewer in Bath and designed the bridge to carry beer from his brewery across the river without using a ferry or having to detour through the city centre!
Local Council, Bath and North East Somerset and the developers were keen to use the original wrought iron in some way to show their recognition of the historical importance of this Grade II Listed structure and of the history of local industry in the area. Local sculptor Anna Gillespie has used much found metal in her previous works and she seemed a perfect choice to work with this idea.
The resulting piece of public art steeped in the site history was created by a collaborative of local companies from the city, bringing together art, history, heritage skills and engineering. The team included art consultant and curator, Peter Dickinson; international engineering company, Buro Happold, Ironart of Bath and Sculptor, Anna Gillespie. We all enormously enjoyed and respected the different skills each member of the team brought to the project and ultimately, our challenge was to find a way to use this old wrought iron to make a safe and durable piece of public art that was true to Anna’s original idea and drawings.
Maid of the Bridge is comprised of 172 sections of old wrought iron bar each carefully marked, drilled and tapped with 1398 spacers and 1116 fasteners, there had to be a trial assembly and then a final assembly once everything was correct. It was finally fitted to a very modern galvanised box section steel plinth, all coated with an HMG coach enamel system.
Maid of the Bridge flows in the same direction as the flow of the river which is a nice touch as it has spent the last 182 years spanning the river and now she flows with it! If you fancy a visit to see her you will find her here.
Bath & North East Somerset Parks department have been busy planting around the Ironart Sun Flower sculpture on Bathwick Hill. It’s great to see it looking so radiant in the summer sunshine after months of bare earth and dreary weather. It gets a big thumbs up from all of us, hope you’re enjoying it too!
On Friday the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain bike race kicked off in Bath. As many of you will know (the Wiggo sideburns are a dead giveaway) cycling is something that is very close to Andy’s heart – so no prizes for guessing who took full advantage of this wonderful photo opportunity!
Ironart’s Sun Flower was perfectly positioned as a backdrop as the peloton raced along Great Pulteney Street, zoomed past the sculpture on the Bathwick Hill roundabout, then headed off along Pulteney Road and out of Bath towards Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge. It was over in a flash, but it was a very beautiful moment.
Ironart’s Martin Smith worked closely with our clients Woodhouse & Law in Bath to design, make and install this amazing ‘found objects’ gate at Zero Degrees in Bristol. This was a really exciting and interesting project which we executed within a very tight deadline.
Martin and our team pulled out all the stops to make this happen, sourcing all component parts from scrap yards, salvage yards and contacts we knew would be hoarding bits and pieces we could use! The gate features Clifton Suspension Bridge, plenty of references to the Bristol Docks, engineering, Brunel, industry and hot air ballooning. We are absolutely chuffed to bits with the results – it look terrific. This completely unique and quirky gate is at the entrance to Zero Degrees micro-brewery and restaurant right in the centre of Bristol at 53 Colston Street Bristol BS1 5BA. We’re sure it will stop people in their tracks for many years to come!
Andy and the team were up at the crack of dawn on Saturday 14th June to set up the spectacular ‘Sun Flower’ sculpture on the roundabout at the bottom of Bathwick Hill in the centre of Bath. The pictures we’ve blogged below tell the story of the sculpture installation. This is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation and we are all incredibly excited about it. We have been working closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council Parks & Grounds department to ensure this exciting new 4.7m high structure is on display for the 50th Anniversary of ‘Britain in Bloom’ in July. Striking pieces of public art always ignite a public reaction and with any luck this will get everyone talking…which is exactly the response we want. Join the debate on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @Ironart_of_Bath
The Sun Flower was conceived by Andy and hand made by the team here in Larkhall. Informed by his love of the natural world, geometry, and engineering, the design continues his exploration of forms and processes used in his everyday work as an architectural ironworker. “I had a completely open brief for this sculpture which wasn’t conceived as a literal manifestation of a sun flower but as an ‘’homage to the sun’, that universal force radiating its energy to us all. It represents life and growth, the fire we work with, an opportunity to fuse traditional skills with contemporary design”(Andy Thearle, Ironart of Bath)
Please spread the word……It’s FOR SALE! It’s anticipated that it will be in situ for 12 months. Ironart and BathNES Council are looking for a company or individual to secure it for the future within the City. The sculpture carries a price tag of £20,000 + vat, but is offered at £15,000 + vat by Ironart to secure it as a piece of public art for the city. Interested parties should contact the Ironart team on 01225 311 273.
More (really techie) information about the Sun Flower sculpture!
The Ironart Sun Flower stands 4.7m high x 4.5m at its widest point and weighs approximately 750kg. It was made in mild steel which has been galvanized. It stems from a 450mm base which is attached to 1800kg of underground ballast to stop it keeling over! The supporting legs are 70 x 20m rectangular sections which were cold rolled with ends that were tapered and scrolled in the forge. The legs are secured to the foundation metalwork by 2 no. M16 bolts per leg. The flame details are a combination of 50 x 10mm and 50 x 20mm sections which have been cold rolled then hand-shaped, with hot forged ends. The petals are constructed from 34mm heavy wall tube which were rolled, mitred and welded. Leg/flower connections have been made with 50 x 13mm metal collars with 3 no. M10 bolt fixings. Absolutely everything was done in the Ironart Larkhall workshop by our skilled team of artist blacksmiths with the exception of the cold rolled 70 x 20mm legs which we outsourced due to their size.
The legs are finished in a combination of Bronze Green and metallic paints from the Ardenbrite range. The stripes are in Light gold and Copper. The flower petals in Green Gold, the flames in Sovereign Gold.
The tricky installation was carried out by a team of five people, using a purpose-built 4.5m high gantry bolted to the foundations, with a block and tackle combined with good old fashioned man power and ingenuity!
The whole Ironart workshop is buzzing with anticipation this week as our huge Sun Flower sculpture nears completion. All elements have been assembled and we can start to envisage the scale and proportions of this beautiful and unique piece.
The Sun Flower sculpture is 4m high and 4m wide and will soon grace the roundabout at the bottom of Bathwick Hill outside St Mary the Virgin church. The Sun Flower sculpture is the vision of Andy Thearle who owns and runs Ironart, follow THIS LINK to a previous blog post. It is going off to be galvanized at the end of this week, and will then receive it’s paint colour scheme here in our workshops in Larkhall before being erected in early June. Follow us on Twitter @Ironart_of_Bath to stay in touch with us about this project as it happens.
Eagle-eyed locals may have spotted us in the Bath Chronicle this week. We’re looking for a company or individual who would like a 12 month high profile branding opportunity and the chance to own this elegant sculpture. The ‘Sun Flower’ was designed by Ironart’s Andy Thearle and will be on display on the Bathwick Hill roundabout right in the centre of Bath from June 2014. The beautiful, dramatic structure is 4m high and 4m wide, and will be planted up by the Council’s Parks & Green spaces department in time for the Britain in Bloom judging in July. Bathwick Hill is on the main arterial trunk road around the centre of town. If you’re interested in discussing this project with us, please get in touch with Alice or Andy here at Ironart on 01225 311 273.