Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Making Pieces

Continuing with one of my current projects, I have, so far, this week made two of three crucial elements that will support the table area.

These verticals, which I have been referring to as lollipops, are important as they are the element that rises to meet the person interacting with the table. They are each individually designed with decorative motifs taken from medieval architecture- reflecting their setting once installed. The pieces each seek consideration from the viewer; they each ask to be inspected - feeling the forms, precision, the intervals between surfaces, changes in geometry and texture. These are elements of my personal style that I keep coming back to. I enjoy the visual tempo of objects that are varied, detailed and that enjoyment spills into my work.

It is my eye for decoration that first drew me into study antique cutlery and also the baroque era of wrought ironwork- two areas that inform my creative process. The work is meticulous, labour intensive, intricate and skilled. The style, for me encapsulates the ethos of what I am trying to achieve through my work.

These pieces have been produced entirely by hand using traditional methods of forging and filework, the result is components that have personality but also a vibrancy that I feel is imparted to things when made with a level of total concentration.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Fermentation and fancy file-work

Well, the blog has been quiet lately. I’m not sure why, as I have been very busy. Maybe that’s the reason.


Either way, it’s time for an update.


For my on-going commission I have produced all of the leaves that I require for the design.

Here we have 24 unique and individually forged oak leaves. They have been manufactured with and “upset” identifying the position of each leaf on each ‘branch’ (left, central and right). These “upsets” are in anticipation of the forge welding method of assembly that I am going to use to manufacture each branch.  The sudden increase in mass allows piece to survive the solid fuel fire as well as the gentle hammer blows with make the joint. Without the upset, the branches would be deformed and not elegant.
The leaves will be joined to vertical sections using hand-made bolts or rivets.


Here is the first of those vertical elements in progress; the design uses architectural motifs from the 12-13th centuries to evoke feelings of scale and height. The piece also uses techniques such as hot file work and engraving to achieve lush, layered decoration.

The leaves will be formed and textured once the they are fixed,  but for now they are essentially flat to make them easier to grasp during the forgewelding.


I hope that the piece when assembled will impress with an overall “busy-ness” whilst maintaining modesty due to the earthy materials of iron and copper used.

I have been studying medieval metalworking techniques and artistic styles for several years and whilst Hollywood would prefer to display a dusty and dank history made of crumbling castles I know that the reality was much more vibrant and lavish than most would believe. The image we hold of a medieval past void of colour stems from the romanticism of 18th and 19th centuries.

Aside from producing components for this commission I have also progressed with the cuff, having rolled the stock to the desired thickness and length, ready to be trimmed and formed.

The uneven edges will be trimmed of from this piece of Shibuichi allowing me to finish the cuff off.

Another project that I have bubbling beside me is three gallons of mead.



I began these two Fridays ago and they are bubbling excitedly. I have no experience of making mead, but have produced cider and Perry in the past. I only hope that it’s drinkable!


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Shibuichi Forging

I recast the billet for the cuff commission some time ago and got better results.

The piece was forged from the edges towards the centre before beginning the long and delicate process of thinning the ingot down to the desired sheet that can be worked into the final cuff.

Unfortunately, the project has slowed down a little as it required a wider rolling mill than I have so I am using one at a local technical college,  which is only available once a week for an afternoon.  I missed the chance to use their facilities yesterday so I will have to get it completely done next week.




I have also begun forging oak leaves for a separate commission that I have been designing for several months. It’s a really nice change of pace and technique compared to the blade work and non-ferrous work I have been doing recently.