Historic Ironwork CPD event at Ironart

We hosted an Historic Ironwork CPD event on Tuesday 5th May here in Larkhall and were joined by 70 architects, surveyors, landscape designers and heritage professionals. The Ironart team fired up the forges and demonstrated leaf-making, firewelding techniques, finial making and scrollwork. Some of our blacksmiths were on hand to answer questions and talk about the traditional metalworking techniques that we specialise in here at Ironart, and the restoration projects we have enjoyed in recent years.

Andy gave a 45 minute talk entitled “An introduction to conservation, care and repair of historic ironwork” which (despite one minor technical hitch!) was well received by everyone who came along. A powerpoint copy of this talk is available, please contact us if you would like a link to the file, we are happy to share it.

If you would like to be first in the queue to hear about future events like this at Ironart, please sign up to our e-newsletter here.

 

We’re bananas over our Brompton

Exciting Ironart newsflash! We have a shiny new Brompton bike in zingy tangarine orange to whizz in and out of Bath from our base camp here in Larkhall. No more sitting for hours on the London Road for us, especially with the announcement that there will soon be a new cycle lane along the A4 in Bath. Whoop whoop!

Loving the pics of Luke and Jason discussing the finer points of Brompton assembly… with much head scratching and amusement all round. Give us a hoot and a wave when we fly past you in those traffic jams!

 

 

 

Your invitation to Ironart this weekend

We are hosting two open days this coming bank holiday weekend here at Ironart and would love to see you.

Larkhall Open Studios 2015

On Saturday 2nd May from 10am – 3pm our workshops will be open as part of the Larkhall Festival weekend. 

Larkhall Open Studios 2015

We’re taking part in the Larkhall Open studios arts trail – an intriguing walking trail featuring the workshops and studios of 18 artists and groups in this area, please follow this link for a map of the trail. It’s completely free and we would love to see you.

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Ironwork – Open day and lecture

Then on Tuesday 5th May  we are opening the workshop doors for an educational event, Andy Thearle (owner of Ironart) will be giving a short, informative lecture entitled: “An introduction to Conservation, Care and Repair of Historic Ironwork.”  

Ironart CPD Event 5th May 2015

This event is also also free*, but booking is essential as space is limited in the workshop. There are two sessions. Choose from 10am- 12 noon or from 2pm-4pm. There is currently some space left in both sessions so please let us know if you’d like to come along. Call 01225 311273 or email ironart@ironart.co.uk

 

 

*(We’d like to encourage those who attend to make a £15 donation to our nominated charity-  the National Heritage Ironwork Group and can provide you with details about how to make a donation)

 

Cavendish Crescent canopy restoration

In December and January the Ironart team oversaw the restoration of three zinc canopies decorating Georgian town houses on Cavendish Crescent, Bath. Two of the canopies were very old, with original wrought iron frames of rivetted construction, both covered with solid zinc sheeting. One was clearly a replica, and a recent addition, made from welded aluminium tube frame, also with a solid zinc sheet hood.

The two canopies that were wrought iron were carefully removed from site, and stripped back to the raw metal. They were then re-coated before being sent to another company (selected by the client) for new zinc sheeting to be applied. The Ironart team made alterations to the third canopy (the modern replica) so that it was more in keeping with the rest. The limestone surrounds into which the door canopies were set had decayed, and frustratingly some of the stonework crumbled when they were removed. The masonry was carefully ‘made good’ by a local stonemason once the door canopies were refitted on site.

Ironart’s restoration specialist Martin Smith is of the view that these canopies were probably later additions to the sweep of Georgian houses on Cavendish Crescent. “When you look closely at them there are many subtle variations in design, indicating that they were made by different manufacturers over the years.”

If you are lucky enough to have an historic architectural feature like this on your house and it’s in need of some care or repair, please get in touch because we’d love to help.

The Anemone Gate in Larkhall

This morning we celebrated the unveiling of the lovely Anemone gate with a round of coffee and croissants! This quirky and unique gate was commissioned by a creative local couple who wanted a striking piece for their period property located just around the corner from our workshops here in Larkhall, Bath.

Andy’s lovely anemone flower design was realised on the forge by Simon Bushell, Cecilie Robinson and Jason Balchin in the Ironart workshops, galvanized and then handpainted by Cecilie.  The gate has already caused a flurry of interest and positive comments from passers by. The garden is also an eye-catching design, even in it’s dormant winter state it’s easy to tell that a great deal of thought has gone into the layout and planting. The garden design is the handiwork of Louise Bastow who runs Alchemy Garden Design in Bath and Bristol. Louise’s work is lovely, here is a link to her website.

If you are looking for a unique garden gate or structure for your home and garden please get in touch with us here at Ironart – we really enjoy this type of commission! Our thanks to the Davies for their hospitality and enthusiasm, and for the opportunity to make this gate, we love it.

Restoration of the gates at Burwalls House, Clifton

We are delighted to have been commissioned to restore the lovely main gates and other ironwork from historic Burwalls House in Bristol.

Burwalls Estate is located in Leigh Woods, a residential suburb lying approximately 2.5 miles west of the city and overlooking Bristol’s iconic landmark Clifton Suspension bridge. The estate comprises of a Grade II listed Jacobean baronial style house built in 1872 by Joseph Leech a local entrepreneur and owner of the Bristol Times and Mirror, alongside a range of annexe buildings and a detached lodge.

Burwalls was requisitioned by the War Office in 1939 and used as the HQ of the Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, before being purchased by the University of Bristol in 1948.

Here are some pics of the gates arriving earlier this week – more news on this when we start work on them.

 

 

A masterclass with Martin Smith

So much fun this morning at the Blacksmithing workshop run by Martin Smith here in our Larkhall forge.

The students picked it up incredibly quickly and after a morning of scrollmaking and twisting bars they went straight into a session of making toasting forks, letters and knives! Very impressive stuff.

 

 

 

Team day trip to Wolverhampton!

On Thursday the entire team downed tools and headed off on a sunny day trip to Wolverhampton! Andy wanted to introduce the Ironart team to some of our suppliers, to give everyone an insight into different aspects of the architectural metalwork “supply chain” and how it all works.

First we visited Legg Brothers steel rolling mill and soaked up the atmosphere inside their vast workshop. An awe-inspiring series of complex industrial machinery and some seriously heavy-duty manpower in full rhythmical production. It was an impressive sight.

Next we headed over to the fascinating Aladdin’s cave that is Barr and Grosvenor casting foundry on Jenner Street, where we met with Dominic and Lynn Grosvenor and their team for a full tour of their casting workshop. Dominic is a passionate advocate of traditional casting techniques and it was an absolute pleasure to meet him and a real treat to see his team of craftsmen at work in this unique environment. They kindly topped off our visit with a delicious lunch for which we were really grateful.

Finally our day ended with a whistle-stop tour of Edward Howell Galvanizing plant in Wolverhampton courtesy of Jim Lindsay and Kevin Addiss, where we all gazed in wonder at their enormous warehouses full of acid dip-baths and vats of hot moulten zinc. They were hard at work dipping rack upon rack of metal palisade fence posts…we’ll never look at palisade fencing again without remembering this experience!

Thank you so much to our generous hosts for giving up their time and energy to enlighten us, we absolutely loved it!

 

 

 

The ‘Sun Flower’ Sculpture, Bathwick Hill

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

Ironart Bathwick Hill Sunflower Sculpture 2014

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!

 

 

 

Bathwick Hill Sun Flower sculpture nearing completion

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.

The Sun Flower model The Sun Flower under construction (1) The Sun Flower under construction (2) The Sun Flower under construction (3)The Sun Flower Mocked up (3) The Sun Flower Mocked up (2) The Sun Flower Mocked up (1)