Author Description

Juliet Fishenden

Here, you’ll find a news feed straight from the forge posted by myself, Juliet, Richard’s wife and business partner. Here you will find updated product information as well as personal observations about Richard’s craft.

Famous for its design potential, the bathroom provides homeowners with a chance to be different, an opportunity to reveal a playful side. You might say that bathroom design has very few rules so feel free to break all of them. For example, what might look out of place in any other room, may be perfect for the bathroom. Some bathrooms I’ve visited had an on-it-side, old fashioned trunk as the under-sink cupboard which not only works surprisingly well, it’s a nod to the past which is practical and somewhat distinctive. A lot of show business folks like to adorn their smallest rooms with any awards they may have won. Often you will find autographed photos of famous people in people’s bathrooms. On any other wall in the house, it may be seen as not the done thing, a sort of visual namedropping but in the bathroom, it’s forgiven and enjoyed.

But what if your own bathroom could do with a bit of design, pieces that fit together as a range but also stand alone as desirable bathroom accessories? As a small family business, it’s always a thrill to work with talented, award-winning British designers. We are welcoming back Chris Eckersley who has designed a number of pieces for the bathroom. Titled ‘The Forge Shapes Bathroom Range’, it consists of five pieces and each is linked by the design of three shapes that reoccur throughout the range. Small, metal circles, squares and diamonds all feature on each piece providing a subtle theme if any are placed together. 

The range includes a towel rail, loo roll wall brackets, single hooks, a combination set of 3 hooks and a toilet roll ‘Butler’.

Each will be hand made by our expert team at the Forge. The pieces will gift your bathroom with a ‘contemporary designer’ ambiance, that is wholly practical but also visually arresting aspect, a merging of the modern rustic with an up to date sensibility.

For this bathroom project we also worked with the interior designer Jane McIntyre to create a space where there was a calm practical overall theme. Jane suggested a large mirror and a French style curtain pole for the window opening. Also long, light weight curtains for privacy and peacefulness and lots of hooks to hang dressing gowns, towels and clothes on. It all works beautifully and is such a joy when in the space.

With a little creativity and care, you may want to spend more time indulging in beautifying your bathroom. We like to adorn spaces with useful items that last. All the pieces in the ranges are designed and made to last a lifetime so once purchased thats it other than treating yourself to some beautiful towels and gorgeous products to make your space truly luxurious. Perhaps now is the time to ‘shape’ up your bathroom.

 

Great storage space is like gold. I recently took a measured tour of our house. I put my mind to it and found all sorts of spaces, nooks and crannies that could be transformed into viable storage spaces. If living under the stairs was good enough for Harry Potter, it’s good enough for all those winter jackets during the Spring and Summer. This space can be transformed with a carefully placed rail under the stairs. All you then need are hangers and voila a clear hallway.

What about that alcove in the spare room, a confined space not earning its keep? Both of these spaces can be transformed by a rail from one enclosing wall to the other or supported by ceiling brackets. Then perhaps a curtain to contain the space? And we know where you can get your bespoke curtain rail from too!

Has there ever been a wardrobe in your home that you haven’t had to force clothes apart to fit in that ironed shirt? We accumulate clothes without accumulating the space in which to store them. An extra rail or two in unused spaces is a sensible and obvious answer. Made by the Forge provides you with bespoke length rails of 16mm diameter, strong enough for a wardrobe full of jackets, coats and shirts with one advantage. No sagging. You put your clothing on one of our rails and that rail stays ramrod straight.

With a rail you can be creative, arranging items so they are at once to hand. Give it a go. Your inner voice of tidiness will thank you. Any questions do call or email.  Click here to go to the ordering page.

Politics aside, there are few subjects that generate news more than the threats to our home planet. The proliferation of plastic is choking the oceans and burning fossil fuels for energy is causing global warming. We are reminded of the sorry state of the planet at every turn. Whether it’s Greta Thunberg sailing the Atlantic to make a point to those in power, or the many alternate sources of energy we are desperately trying to invent to solve one thing – the carbon emission problem.

But it’s a fact that any modern human production process creates carbon. I had the pleasure of listening to a Climate Change Webinar hosted by The Sustainability Centre at West Suffolk College. Its sole aim is to help empower individuals and businesses into thinking that making changes to help our world is everyone’s concern and in everyone’s best interests. They highlighted that we need to consider what is important to us – as a planet – not as individuals – and that everyone can make a difference.

At Made by the Forge we knew from the very first hammer blow that our processes would generate carbon. Right from the very start of our journey, we made a serious commitment to plant hedge trees to help absorb some of the carbon dioxide produced during the manufacturing process but we can still do more.

We are in the process of auditing everything we do so we can make more changes. Just small tweaks in our working practices will make a difference. If every business does this then it will be easier for all of us to choose – and be knowledgeable about – the items we are thinking about buying. My latest change is to buy my books from World of Books. They have built their used book business based on the circular economy. Once the book has been read it can be bought back and so the cycle continues and the books stay out of landfill. What is there not to like?

A Circular Economy delays the moment of throwing things away as long as possible by encouraging re-use, re-purposing and even after that ‘in the bin’ moment, a Circular Economy still encourages recycling and repurposing. Working with metal means that Made by the Forge is operating within a Circular Economy and you as a customer are choosing to buy an item just the once, an item that lasts a lifetime and beyond.

This is part of the overall solution but you can also repurpose items you might otherwise discard. I mean who doesn’t love the idea of welly flower pots? Cast your eye about your house and think twice before dropping something in the bin. Its a mindset thinking about alternative uses for things. It’s actually quite a lot of fun. As World of books underline “A little win for you and the planet”.

The recent COP 26 conference in Glasgow, uniting world leaders to find immediate solutions to the runaway climate change problem, yielded mixed results. At Made by the Forge, we feel that we each have a responsibility to do our bit to offset carbon emissions both at home and at our business. We started our own offset efforts 13 years ago, aware that making our products requires energy that produces carbon, something unavoidable in fashioning ironwork. Since 2009, we have stood by our pledge of planting a tree for each order received. In the early days, we did this by hand by ourselves and as the business grew, we relied on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and teams of volunteers to plant thousands of trees. We have now formed a relationship with Houghton Hall Estate and contribute to the extraordinary environmental work that’s an ongoing project in Norfolk, planting trees for hedgerows and creating specific areas for wildlife.

With all the media coverage of global warming issues reporting on so many floods and fires that just over three decades ago were rare, we have reached a tipping point. We now want to step up a gear and aim at the holy grail of environmental responsibility –  emissions as low as possible before a set date. But what exactly is a carbon footprint? Well, you’re adding to it right now by just breathing out. But industry and manufacturing companies emit a great amount of CO2 and that’s where the principal problem lies. To this end, we have made a commitment to the SME Climate Hub (Small and Medium Enterprises) to follow the ‘Ten Steps To Net-Zero’ plan. We thought that a series of blogs explaining these steps might help people to understand the importance of what the individual is capable of. Add those people up and making a huge difference together is possible and to be frank, urgently needed.

You may think that some environmental initiatives by food companies and manufacturing firms are ‘green washing’, paying lip service to needed changes by providing money to soothe consciences and then just carrying on business as usual. But at Made by the Forge we want Net-Zero (in a few years) to actually be business as usual. It’s going to be challenging, a word we use when we want to put a positive face on ‘hard work’ but in the 21st century, we want to be a company that takes its responsibilities to our customers as seriously as we need to take our responsibilities to the planet. Join us on the journey.

Windows are very idiosyncratic. There’s no such thing as a standard window. They need to let the light in but also have the curtains drawn to keep the cold winds out and the dark at bay. They can be huge in some interior spaces and all windows however large or small are going to need a curtain rail to compliment that size. Made by the Forge has been quietly but determinedly urged by our customers to make a thinner curtain rail and corresponding finials available. We listened.

Let me introduce you to our 16mm range. Of the six finials now available, three are familiar designs and three are new additions. Rather than name them corresponding to their shape as we do with the 25 and 20mm poles, we thought we’d associate them with our tree planting pledge. Each finial bears the name of a location in the UK where we have planted trees. So while the Alexandra may look like our best-selling cannonball finial, it now has a name to remind us of what we must put back into the environment as do all the others. There’s the button finial now christened the Bradfield and the mini take on the Honey Dipper now known as the Carlton.

Even the standard bracket has had a makeover. It now projects from a flat disc and encompasses the whole pole.

The three new designs are striking in different ways. The Houghton is a large button design, very simple and proud. The Levington is a three button finial with the larger one sandwiched by the two smaller. The most eye-catching is the horse bit design known as the Offtonian. This was chosen to represent the equine foundation of farriery. It never hurts to be reminded of the craft’s roots.

I hope our 16mm range is to your liking and as ever, all the details of the new range are here…

There are few things more satisfying in our business than finding talented interior designers who understand what we do and how and why we do it. Knowing that our products are gracing interior spaces all over the world gives us a warm glow of satisfaction. Professional respect in a mutually beneficial relationship makes everyone feel good. Both Nicolas of Boxx Creative (Nicola Keenan and Nicola Lindsell) understood Made by the Forge’s spirit immediately. Our work and commitment to both excellence and the environment complemented their own design philosophy to a tee. One look at Boxx Creative’s project page tells you all you need to know about the company’s skill, creative flair and fine taste. We are thrilled to be in collaboration with them.

We were delighted to provide café rods, bespoke brackets and a crescent door pole for a most dramatic tartan curtain that greets you as you enter The Hunter’s Moon pub and restaurant in South Kensington. Its interiors look really stylish and inviting.


Photography: Annabel Moeller. Design: Boxx Creative.

Café rods or café poles are now becoming quite the ‘in-thing’ in restaurants, pubs and homes across the land. They attach halfway down either side of a window allowing light in but maintaining privacy from the drawn half-curtains. The poles are very slim with a diameter of 12mm and look very sleek once installed. We offer two different styles of brackets; the first is on a flat wall plate which can be discreetly attached to the recess of your window. The pole then sits inside the cup. The second is a small round bracket which is attached to the outside of the window frame (we call it face fix) and the pole fits neatly through it. To keep it simple, there is the option of no finials or one very small button end. We now have a new dedicated page offering these café poles so it is easy to order them from our website. Take a look here >

Nicola Lindsell commented on our collaboration. In her own words…

‘At Boxx Creative, we’re driven to find suppliers who align with our ethos of ‘consciously creating’ and who’s products complement our interior design schemes. Having been referred to Made by the Forge by another interior designer, and after further investigation into their set up and background, we knew we wanted to collaborate with them on our project.  Their passion for their craft, personal service, and friendly team delivered a high quality product, on time and to budget. 

Our design for The Hunter’s Moon, the British country pub in the heart of South Kensington, champions comfort and cosy get togethers. As part of the scheme we installed a large double sided woollen  entrance curtain that hangs from a semi-circular wrought iron curtain pole.  Made by the Forge crafted the fixing to look elegant whilst sturdy enough to withstand the job in hand – no mean feat.  Cafe curtains in the front window added to the intimate setting and created a soft barrier between the busy Fulham Road and cosy pub within.  Again, a subtle fixing method that was both practical and refined in design was lovingly created and installed.

Made by the Forge are trustworthy and reliable suppliers who create sustainable and artisanal products.  We’re proud to install and commission their products in our projects and look forward to the next time we will work together.’’

There is a pertinent phrase attributed to no less a figure than Leonardo da Vinci that most creatives apply to their own endeavours. It is that “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Deadlines focus the mind and often this is helpful to actually get things done. Being a small business taking care of marketing on a very modest level, we have no deadlines. And so we come to the creation of the second Made by the Forge poster, a work that spanned too many moons to count as we finalised the images, the text and the arrangement of both to create a pleasing whole. You could say that it’s one work of art that was less abandoned than most.

Poster_Blog_03.jpg

Summing up our business and our product line in an eye-catching and modern way is a great pleasure because we know exactly what we stand for. Richard’s own blacksmith grandfather allows us to evoke the timeless aspects of the craft while superb photography shows you how our products fit effortlessly into twenty-first century lifestyles. We are blessed to work on a raw material with such an authentic history and designs that have proved to be evergreen.

On one side of the poster, we illustrate this history together with photos of our products in a variety of environments. On the other side, we state our ethos which includes our commitment to sustainability by planting a tree for each order received and we promote our  work with designers to broaden our range. And for those detail oriented sticklers out there, there is a small error on the poster which managed to get through our stringent checks. See if you can spot it. You get a poster with every order and please get in touch if you’d like one sent out to you.

enquiries@madebytheforge.co.uk

Poster_Blog_07.jpg

If measuring up your standard window for a curtain pole was easy, measuring up a bay window involves a few more steps and measurements to take. Bays can be curved or have a number of bends based on the number of windows contained in the bay. The more bends, the more measurements are needed. To take a typical example, let’s go through measuring up a four-bend bay.

First of all, rustle up someone to help with the measuring, as bays are usually too large for one pair of outstretched arms to manage. The most important thing to bear in mind when measuring is that true symmetry rarely exists in the real world. Never assume one measurement is the same as another because they look symmetrical. Measure each line to the nearest millimetre. And if you have to bend the tape to get a measurement, start the tape at that end. If the tape has to be bent, the reading cannot be trusted. Use a pencil to mark where you are measuring to and from for accuracy.

As the diagram shows, a four-bend bay has six points, A to F. Measurements are needed for the following:

A to F, the width of the window.

A to B (including finials), B to C, C to D, D to E and E to F (including finials).

In order for Made by the Forge to produce a single accurate bay window curtain pole, we also need the diagonals measured:

A to D, A to E. C to E, C to F. B to D, B to E, B to F.

Have a look at the top left and right of the diagram. The ends of the pole that wrap around to re-join the wall line are called returns. If you want returns, we need two more measurements:

1 to A and F to 2.

If you visit our bay page here, you will see many types of bay. Click on the one that you have and the measurement boxes are all ready for your figures and the online calculator will show you the price.

As ever, any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call on +44 (0)1473 487118 or contact us via email.

 

There are subtle differences between these two finishes as illustrated in the images which show both colours alongside each other. The beeswax finish on the right is a natural wax that is applied to the metal as soon as it is forged, while the iron is still hot. Once cool, it gives the metal a protective coating yet has no colour. The result is a piece of ironwork with a very dark, luxurious ‘sheen’. It allows the natural colour and grain of the metal to stand out.

Our matt black finish on the left above, is is an all over paint. It has a consistent finish that will wear well and not change in colour over time. It can be wiped clean with a damp sponge and is more suitable in a damp area than beeswax. The paint covers the iron completely giving it a uniform, slick appearance and looks incredibly smart framing a window or on any piece of ironwork. The beeswax or matt black paint will enhance the beauty of the metalwork.

It is well known that black never goes out of style but which shade is always the most pressing question? That’s your choice and we hope these pictures have helped you decide.

If you have any other questions regarding the finishes please do send us an email to sales@madebytheforge.co.uk or call 01473 487118 for more information.

Tree Planting collaboration February 2021

Conservation takes work. It takes commitment. It’s not enough just to plant a tree. It has to be nurtured and tended to. While we at Made by the Forge take our pledge of ‘one tree planted for every order’ very seriously, we know that’s just the start of the story. Your tree begins a decades long journey and it’s as important to know that it’s in good hands. Details mean a great deal. Houghton Hall Estate insisted on buying biodegradable tubes to keep the saplings safe, a gesture that convinced us more than ever that we were working with people who care as we do, like-minded custodians of the natural world.

On a bright but cold spring day in February this year, Robert and company from the estate geared up and began planting.  Made by the Forge donated the trees, which were planted using the previously mentioned biodegradable tubes and cones. The planting conditions were perfect and the task was only completed when the three thousand or more young trees were firmly in the ground. Approximately one kilometre of double row hedge trees was installed across the established beetle bank which already houses over-wintering insects and will provide much needed habitat for the surrounding birds and wild inhabitants.

Established beetle bank, Houghton

There are many advantages to this addition of a hedge across the beetle bank. A number of smaller fields are created and will act as important windbreaks, which will, in turn, help prevent soil erosion. The species already living in the adjoining landscape are numerous and beautiful to witness. They need any help they can get and tree planting gives them so many more options for food and shelter. A few of the birds spotted recently searching for seeds, invertebrates and a suitable home, were corn buntings, yellowhammers, stonechats, wagtails, redwings, fieldfares and lapwings, all of whom are a delight to see.

Soon the growing season will be upon us and the life of the new trees will begin. We are just so pleased and thrilled that we have been a small part of providing a little more shelter, more biodiversity and some extra carbon storage for our wild countryside. Our gratitude goes out to Robert and his team of committed conservationists.