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)

NADFAS podcast – apprenticeships at Ironart

We were really thrilled to feature in a NADFAS podcast about apprenticeships.  James Cuthbertson and Cecilie Robinson are both recipients of NADFAS Patricia Fay memorial fund grants.

Please click on the link below to take you to the short film that was a made a few weeks ago here at Ironart.

NADFAS podcast

Congratulations Paul Ashmore and Rowan Taylor

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Our very best wishes to Paul Ashmore and Rowan Taylor who both received awards at the National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG) awards ceremony last month. Both Paul and Rowan were on placement here at Ironart earlier in 2013 and have now graduated from the second and final year of the NHIG Heritage Blacksmiths Bursary programme. The training was the first of its kind in the UK and set up by the NHIG as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Skills for the future programme.

The prizes awarded were ‘Best Blacksmith’ which went to Paul Ashmore, and for ‘Best Portfolio’ which went to Rowan Taylor.  For information on the National Heritage Ironwork Group please take a look at the website:



Collaboration with Bristol-based designer John Packer

Announcing a collaboration between Ironart and John Packer, a talented designer based in Bristol. John’s unique, contemporary style adds a whole new dimension to the design service we can offer here at Ironart. His work is visually intriguing, often with a complex mathematical element. John’s work is mainly in the field of Public Art, ranging from functional items such as railings, street furniture and bridges, to kinetic, musical and static sculptures.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of John’s projects:

  For more information about John, please follow this link to the Bespoke area of our website.

“My inspiration is taken from natural forms and phenomena, such as the fractal geometry of shells and plants, and the dynamic patterns of water ripples. My fascination with structures and engineering has also led me into designing bridges as well as experimental structural sculptures.”

We’re excited about the possibility of working with John, combining his contemporary design skills with the manufacturing expertise of the team here at Ironart. If you have a project in mind and would like to talk to us about it, please get in touch.

Ironart in Period Living magazine – June 2013

We were included in a feature in Period Living this month all about Garden furniture. We are listed on the fab website Made By Hands of Great Britain, which is well worth a look as it champions British makers that you won’t find on the high street. CLICK for a link to their site.

Douglas Kent who is Technical and Research Director at SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) also wrote an article in the same issue entitled “Ironwork. Repair or replace?” which is well worth a read.



Ironart Open Workshops, Friday 12th July – book now!

This gallery contains 3 photos.

We are hosting an open day here at Ironart on Friday 12th July. Come and meet the entire team, see what we get up to and take a tour of the brand new workshop. Andy will be giving a talk entitled “The preservation, creation and symbolism of architectural ironwork”.  There will be two sessions, one […]

The Meadow Gate

We are currently making a truly unique, contemporary gate for a couple who live on the outskirts of Bath. So much of what we make in and around Bath is based on heritage designs and every now and then we are commissioned to design something fresh and exciting and full of organic shapes,  that fires the imagination of everyone in the workshop.

The Meadow Gate is a stunning 4.5 metre wide sliding gate which will be constructed using a combination of traditional forgework and modern techniques. Andy’s design was inspired by the rural setting of the house and incorporates bulrushes, poppies, buttercups, snowdrops, blue-eyed grass, two butterflies a caterpillar and a snail.

Here are some pictures of the Ironart team – mostly Jim, Woody and James – at work on the Meadow gate in the Ironart workshop this week. We’ll post some more as the project progresses.


Bray and Co Lantern Restoration

There are some really interesting restoration projects on the go in the Ironart workshop at the moment. One of which is this huge antique lantern from a beautiful private house on Widcombe Hill in the edge of Bath.
The lantern has been hanging in the porch at the front of the house. Last week Martin, Rowan (a visiting student from the National Heritage Ironwork Group programme) and James carefully took it down and transported it back to the workshop for a full assessment. As soon as they started to remove the thick layer of  black paint, it was clear that it had not been originally made for the house, but was reclaimed from somewhere else. One clue was that it had obviously been converted from a pillar lantern to a hanging lantern at some point in it’s lifetime. The team think this huge and handsome lantern may have come from a train station, and think they have found LMS painted livery –  the colours of the London-Midlands-Scottish railway line which extended all the way down to Bristol and Bath. Apparently the LMS shut five local stations between Bath and Bristol when it was abolished in 1947. The lamp makers mark is identifiable as George Bray & Co who was based at Leicester Place in Leeds and there is a patent mark on one side. George Bray and Co started making these lanters in 1879 – which gives an indication of how old the lamp could possibly be.

We’re currently sending paint chips off for analysis and will post more pics and update you when we progress to the next stage of the restoration.