St Johns Gates Renovation & Installation

Renovation complete of the beautiful hand-forged side gates at St John the Evangelist in Bath with gold touches.

Two years ago, the main Rood Screen at St John the Evangelist in Bath was fully conserved and re-gilded.  Since then we have been commissioned to undertake the conservation of the beautifully made traditional iron folding gates on either side of the Rood Screen. We have really enjoyed having the opportunity to work on such a stunning piece of local heritage ironwork. The gates were originally made in 1905 and each gate has slightly different designs and motifs. The gates were covered in an old shellac lacquer which has been removed along with minor corrosion and the one or two missing parts were hand-forged and replaced and then repainted in a matt black paint with gilded highlights to reflect similar gilding on the rood screen.

There is a scattering of shrapnel pockmarks from when the neighbouring presbytery was badly damaged by a bomb in the Baedeker raids of 1942.  Because of the bomb damage, one of the gates had lowered which meant we had to extend the hinge journal and heel pivot, allowing the renovated lockboxes and latch to line up nicely and work as they no doubt originally did.  Whilst odd missing parts were replaced, the shrapnel damage was left alone, a historical marker left for future generations to find. 

It was great to discover more about the history of the building and the ironwork through this renovation project. Click to see this film of St John’s the Evangelist Church after being bombed in some rare documentary footage from the BFI library archive that was found by Martin Smith one of the blacksmithing team who worked on the conservation of the gates. Martin was curious to find out more about the bombing that impacted the heritage ironwork they were working to conserve.

Parade Gardens Balustrade

Over the last 3 and a half years, Ironart of Bath has been involved in a project called BathIRON. BathIRON was the brainchild of Andy Thearle, owner of Ironart of Bath and secretary and trustee of the National Heritage Ironwork Group. The NHIG’s aim is to raise awareness of heritage ironwork, the skills involved in creating it and also that enable its protection and conservation. The focal point of the BathIRON project was to create a brand new bespoke, musical themed balustrade for the bandstand in Parade Gardens, Bath, as a means to raise awareness of heritage ironwork to a multitude of audiences. 
 
Last June alongside The British Artist Blacksmith Association, Hereford College of Arts and lots of artist blacksmiths, Ironart of Bath participated in the BathIRON festival of ironwork in Parade Gardens in the centre of the City of Bath. Over the 4 days of the event, all the bespoke panels were forged live by master blacksmiths and their teams.  Following on from that, after a winter of hard work and thousands of hours of forging, galvanising, finishing and painting, this April saw the final installation of the balustrade and it looks amazing! It is now in situ and you can go down anytime to Parade Gardens in Bath and have a look. 
 
This May Ironart joined the final celebrations to mark the project’s completion, at an event called FireFOLK in Parade Gardens, Bath. FireFOLK was an evening of live folk music, forging demonstrations, a silent auction of traditionally, hand-forged pieces, a bar and local food stalls. It was a family-friendly event as part of the Bath Festival and welcomed people of all ages and backgrounds. It was great to be mixing with artist and master blacksmiths, families who had sponsored notes on the balustrade, folk music enthusiasts, regulars to the park and visitors to the city.  We were very lucky with a balmy, sunny evening and much fun was had by all, the mayor came to cut the ribbon and accept this amazing, bespoke gift on behalf of the city of Bath and the evening ended in suitable style with lots of happy folk dancing around the beautiful, newly adorned bandstand. Read more about the project here.

It has been amazing to be part of this project, that leaves a legacy that will be seen and enjoyed for hundreds of years by many thousands of people visiting and living in the city of Bath. The opportunity to be involved in something that allows people to understand the incredible creative possibilities of working with metal was very exciting and a privilege. This kind of bespoke work is something that Ironart of Bath specialises in. Do get in touch if you would like us to come and talk about a creative idea you have for some bespoke ironwork creation!
 

Brompton on Brassknocker

Brompton signpostThe World Heritage Site Enhancement Fund recently commissioned us to refurbish the cast-iron signposts at the top of Brassknocker Hill, which will be familiar to many stuck in rush-hour traffic queues across the top of Bath.  After stripping them down in situ, we took them away for painting, but then came the issue of how to get them across town from workshop to paintshop, with Grosvenor Bridge down to one lane and Bath at more of standstill than usual.  Luckily the trusty Ironart Brompton came to the rescue – proving the perfect vehicle (who’d have thought?) for transporting cast-iron signposts about town.  The signposts are being painted as we write and will soon be back in place at the top of Brassknocker Hill, gleaming more brightly and ready to point Bath drivers more clearly in the direction of the right traffic queue.  Maybe they should get on a bike instead … (Before below, After to follow)

Oct 17 signpost Brassknocker Hill

Ironart at BABA AGM

Ferrous2017-main-image-smallAndy 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! 

Ideal Christmas Gift for the Music Lover in your Life!

Treble Clef Score Bath IRON

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! 

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Seasonal gift ideas

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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/

Or if you’d rather buy your loved ones an experience to remember, why not book them onto one of our blacksmithing courses http://ironart.co.uk/blacksmithing-workshops/ and let them make their own gift.  

Both guaranteed to warm heart and soul!  But hurry, before they sell out … 

Blacksmithing Course - Jan 15 (10)Blacksmithing Course - Jan 15 (7)

Sinuous internal balustrade

Wroath web 1

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.

 

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Allium Gates in Summer

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 …

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Perfect Spot for a Gazebo

Cox Gazebo main pic

 

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.

 

Watch it go up ….