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.
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.
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 ….
From the initial design brief – based on the concept of ‘bounteousness’ – to final installation, these ‘allium’ gates for a vegetable garden in Doynton have proved a challenge and delight in equal measure. Our client wanted the design to reflect the bounty of nature which immediately prompted the idea of a swelling onion bulb. Once the design had been refined in collaboration with the clients, each aspect was hand-crafted in our workshop, where the onion leaves were forged in the fire in the traditional manner and bent into shape. We were thrilled to receive this message a few days after installation:
“I finally got to see the gates properly yesterday and we are absolutely delighted with them. You and the team have put a huge amount of ingenuity and creativity into producing an amazing feature and talking point for our garden. We wait to see what the muntjac will make of it – they are resourceful little critters!”
As ever, we left site without being able to capture the gates in their full glory when the garden is at its most bounteous, but we look forward to sharing more images in the summer months.
We were recently asked to restore the original gates to Burwalls, an impressive 19th Century listed mansion perched on the edge of the Avon Gorge in Leigh Wood, Bristol. Originally built as a private house in 1872 the property has passed through media and tobacco families before being requisitioned in 1939 by the War Office and then acquired in 1948 by the University of Bristol. The gates, which are likely to have been made by Singers of Frome, were in need of restoration and widening to fit their new setting at the entrance to a development of private luxury apartments within the grounds.
The restoration process included straightening crash-damaged sections, the reversal of previous poor repair work, replacement of missing parts, treatment of corrosion, and new extensions to both gate leaves to complement the original gates. We were also asked remove the original acanthus leaves and make new copper Tudor Roses to replace those that were missing, as well as restore and repair the remaining roses. Finally, new lockboxes were made and the gates sandblasted and re-painted prior to fitting.
You can read more about the intricate process of making a Tudor Rose here …
We were recently approached to design and make a set of gates for a substantial 18th Century property in Oxfordshire. Required for the property’s courtyard, the gates were to be made in the traditional manner with their design reflecting the style of the front gates. Made of mild steel, the gates featured mortice and tenon joints, individually hand forged finials and fire welded rings, as well as traditionally made snub-ended scrolls. To finish, the gates were thermal zinc sprayed and painted. We’ll post photos of these stunning gates in situ soon.
We are delighted to welcome Jack Waygood to the Ironart team for a 5 week stint on his journeymanship. He joins us after smithing at numerous workshops including with Ian Moran in the Black Country, Jo Williams at Bristol Docks and Roberto Giordani in Cesena, Italy. Jack’s goal is to head back to Italy early next year to work with Georg Reinking for two months.
“I’m really enjoying working at Ironart; it’s great to work as part of a such a busy team with such a variety of commissions going through the workshop.”
Good to have you with us Jack!
We are often contacted to make bespoke balconies and balustrades for period properties.
Most recently we have been involved in a comprehensive project to design, make and fit a decorative and highly detailed external staircase, landing and balustrade for a townhouse in Clifton, Bristol.
The structure includes a landing radiused at one end with cast iron landing plates, a staircase with decorative cut stringers, cast iron treads with custom made bull nose edging to the sides.
The wrought iron balustrade features a convex handrail, traditional hot forged scrollwork, lead cast fleur de lys details and cast iron newel posts. The design of the balustrade was taken from the existing balustrade to the front of the property which the clients were keen to mirror this design in the new balustrade.
Overall a stunning piece and beautiful exterior showcasing the property.
Hard to believe but almost a year has passed since journeyman blacksmith Thomas joined us back in September 2015, as part of his apprenticeship with the Compagnons du Devoir (also known as the Compagnons du Tours de France).
You’ll recall from an earlier blog that the Compagnons du Tour de France is a French organisation of craftsmen and artisans dating from the Middle Ages. The aim of the Compagnon guild is to train young men and women in traditional trades by acquiring experience by working in various workshops throughout France and internationally. Their traditional, technical education includes taking a tour doing apprenticeships with masters.
As his year with Ironart draws to a close and with the next stage of his journey lined up, Thomas tells us how the last 11 months have gone:
“Looking back, the year has really been a great experience for me; I’ve worked on and seen so many interesting projects as part of the Ironart team, first working closely with Dominic then more independently. It has been such a busy environment. Everyone has been so helpful, welcoming and supportive. My English was very basic when I arrived – school level – now I can say a full sentence or two and have picked up some technical blacksmithing terms!
I came with only a small amount of ironworking experience and had never worked in a blacksmithing organisation. One project that stands out for me was making a balcony and balustrade for a property in Lansdown, Bath – learning new techniques and seeing the finished piece was amazing.”
Thomas leaves us in mid August and will move back to France, settling in Strasbourg for the next two years as he takes up a teaching role at the city’s Compagnons du Devoirs. He will be teaching 16-18 year old metalworking apprentices basic skills and techniques, as they embark on their own journeys.
“I am really looking forward to the next stage in my learning – and also a little nervous! It will be a very busy two years and I have never taught before so again I will have a lot to learn myself.
The confidence Andy and the team at Ironart have shown me has helped me already and I’m looking forward to talking about and sharing my experiences with other compagnons when I return to France. I am very lucky to have had this experience and would definitely recommend it to other apprentices. Thank you to Andy and everyone at Ironart for everything – I can actually speak English now!”
We wish Thomas all the very best!