Lifestyle Archive

Juliet Fishenden

Made by the Forge is your village blacksmiths shop even if it is not in your village! We still use the same tools and the same skills as our ancestors did. ‘The blacksmith, master craftsman throughout the centuries, came into being with the discovery of iron as a workable metal some 2,500 to 3,000 years ago.’ Webber

Historically, Blacksmiths were central figures of the community ‘a man not only a blacksmith and farrier, but, at times, wheelwright, carpenter, tinker, veterinary surgeon, doctor, dentist, sportsman and many other things.’ Ronald Webber
Book and blacksmith
A blacksmith could make anything out of metal and mend anything too. The blacksmith worked iron and shod horses in his own ‘shop’ at the centre of the village. These were places that were once filled with the noise of horses and hammering and the smell of burning hoofs. It was a place to gossip and mostly now these blacksmiths shops have gone to other uses. We are proud to be keeping the craft alive here in Suffolk.

Richard’s life is powered by the fire and drama of the forge and by the beauties and dangers of horses.
Rich FarrierIn the forge he still uses traditional skills but has adapted this craft for the modern day market as seen in our range of iron products for the home. By working with product designer Anthony Dickens we are moving with the times and producing useful objects, that serve a purpose, which are beautifully designed.
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Richard and Anthony Dickens at Heal’s Queens showroom with our new collection of Farrier’s Cage chandeliers which are now available.

The poem attached was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) and describes a local blacksmith and his daily life when blacksmiths were very much the focus of village life.

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling,–rejoicing,–sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Juliet Fishenden

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Duncan Parker, a freelance film maker, and his camera assistant Charlie Nash, interviewed and filmed Richard for a TV programme.

Duncan is making a pilot for a documentary series on country crafts. He is looking across the UK for those traditional crafts that have made Britain what it is today. He is looking at how the crafts have survived over the years and what the craftsmen and women are doing to keep them alive. Richard showed them our Farrier’s Cage Lights, solid curtain poles and pan racks and Made by the Forge’s new range of solid iron lighting, designed by Anthony Dickens, which will launched this summer in Heals. Heals specialise in good design, contemporary lighting and furniture by the best British and international designers.
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Duncan and Charlie spent the afternoon at the forge filming and learning about the art of blacksmithing from Richard who is so passionate about his craft. They were thrilled with the footage they got and we are waiting to see whether BBC Countryfile go ahead with it. When we know we will let you know.

Juliet Fishenden

We have been looking into how we can show off our classic wrought iron curtain poles to their best advantage. There are so many ways to dress a window space we have decided to go for a contemporary, subtle material to achieve a distinctive, luxurious look.

If big bold patterns are not your thing and you are looking for a cool understated look in your interior then you can’t go wrong with a good quality fabric with an interesting texture or pattern. For simplicity I love the Ishida collection from Designers Guild which has a large colour palette and a variety of textures, from a tweedy chenille weave to one with a lustrous sheen.
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For something with a bit of fun there is a playful dotted design from Harlequin fabrics – Artisan Embroideries collection – Bobbin. Shown below in Toast/Linen and Eggshell but is also available in bright raspberry/lime and turquoise if you want to be bold, it would look great with strong paint colours! The artisan quality would go perfectly with our handmade iron curtain poles and a Cannon Ball or Button finial.
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Layering your window fabrics can work well, we can make special brackets and poles to hold a light sheer curtain behind your main curtains. Harlequin fabrics has a range called Momentum Sheers and Structures II – Noa in graphite is particularly striking.
https://www.harlequin.uk.com/shop/fabric/momentum-sheers-and-structures-ii/noa/?code=HMOH131503
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We are always pleased to see any photos of the fabrics you have used or are considering using. So please do share your images and thoughts.

Juliet Fishenden

At Made by the Forge the natural world and all the wonderful animals in it are always close to our hearts. We are so thrilled to be giving back something which will make a difference. We are able to give a lot because of all the orders we have received, from you, for our wrought iron poles, pan racks and new lighting. We plant a tree for each product sold. All of our 2014 tree planting money has been donated to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust for a local project on land the trust have bought at Arger Fen. They intend to safeguard this land for future generations of humans and animals. They have just purchased trees, stakes and guards that are needed to link up two old ancient woodlands. Volunteers plant the trees so the money really is spent on trees.

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The dormouse will benefit from this new hedge. Dormice do not leave the safety of the trees so linking up areas is very beneficial to them. They move about from branch to branch so are easily isolated if hedging is removed.

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It is not only the dormouse which will benefit either. The more habitat for all the other birds and animals will just make their homes and their lives better.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves are some of the county’s most important wildlife places. Arger Fen and Spouces Vale is free to visit and enjoy. We visited last year when the bluebells were in full bloom and it was an amazing spectacle to see such beauty. The area is a fascinating mosaic of ancient woodland alongside fen meadow and regenerating woodland (and not forgetting new hedging). Why not treat yourself to a visit?

http://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves

Juliet Fishenden

House Beautiful magazine have featured Richard as one of their ‘New Artisans’ all of whom are working hard to show case their craft skills and new lighting products. The article is in their March 2015 issue from page 28-31 and is an interesting and informative read.
Ideal Home for blog

Juliet Fishenden

Hanging a horse shoe over your door is said to bring you luck. The proper way to hang them is with the heals facing up to ‘hold in’ the luck. The only place for them to hang with the points down is at the entrance to a blacksmiths shop. The legend goes that Dunstan a famous Minister and Blacksmith ‘nailed a horse shoe to the Devil’s hoof when he was asked to shoe the Devil’s horse. This caused the Devil great pain and Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after he promised never to enter a place where a horse shoe is over the door. This is claimed as the origin of the lucky horse shoe.’ St Dunstans Episcopal Church.

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Richard has horse shoes which have been worn by a horse or pony which he is happy to give away to anyone who would like one to place over their door or just have one for luck. If you have an order being made he can add a shoe into your parcel. Alternatively if you would just like one but have not ordered anything then we would be happy to send a shoe but would appreciate the postage paid. Call Richard on either 07787 542860 or email me at juliet@madebytheforge.co.uk.

James pulling shoe off

It is fascinating to watch a farrier at work shoeing a horse and little people are very keen to help if they are allowed!

700x400hooves in sand

Juliet Fishenden

Ideal Home magazine has run a feature on Artisan Lighting. (March 2015, p16) They claim it as the ‘Next Big Thing’. We hope so and were thrilled to see our Farrier’s Cage Long light, designed by Anthony Dickens, featured alongside 4 other designer pendant lights. Ideal Home state that: ‘The Backlash to a throwaway society has prompted the revival of artisan craftsmanship. The latest luxury items are made using expert skills and traditional materials to create sustainable, memorable and unique pieces’.

“Re-imagining an everyday cage light by using design details unique to the forging process.” Anthony Dickens

Farrier's Cage Light Long

Juliet Fishenden

We love these beautiful fabrics from Mulberry and Linwood which both use game birds to create a country house style. There are plenty of colourful pheasants around us in the fields in Suffolk so its a perfect match for our home. Our classic wrought iron poles are simply perfect for showcasing luxurious drapes and our choice of finials means that you can choose be discreet or make a statement. Both materials have quite a large pattern which gives an immediate impact to any upholstery or curtains.
Mulberry

We find it’s always worth getting a selection of fabric samples and pinning them to your existing curtain or chair to see how it looks and to see if the scale of the pattern suits the size of your room. It is also useful to see the fabric in different lights throughout the day.
linwood chair
http://www.linwoodfabric.com/sporting-life

If something more contemporary is more your style then sign up to this blog and watch for updates where we will be showcasing more of 2015’s fabulous fabrics.

Juliet Fishenden

One of our customers lives in an old cottage and is used to draughts but the one through the front door into the hall was becoming a problem. Richard made her a new curtain pole and Cannon Ball finial to replace the old wooden one which didn’t support a thick curtain very well as the fixings were not strong enough and were pulling away from the plaster.
MBTF_hot cannonball

“With a recess bracket on the left the curtain can sit tight to the wall now and the strong solid pole with a robust bracket supports a heavier curtain. With a classic Cannonball finial it looks really smart and adds a finishing touch”. Thanks G from Suffolk
Cannon Ball Finial on slate
Made by the Forge’s Style Tip: We in the office felt that, if there was enough room, the curtain and space may benefit from a tie back hook and a separate tie back. In the summer months when we look for drafts the curtain neatly tucked away could be of benefit. There are lots of different options for tie backs. They can be made from the same curtain material or there are many tassels on the market to choose from. A door curtain can have that finishing touch and be really quite decorative.
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Juliet Fishenden

Game pie Rich4

At this time of year wild birds are often available from a local butcher or farm shop. It is the season for pheasant and partridge so it is a good time to eat this sort of meat if it is your fancy. Richard prefers making pies, rather than cooking it another way, because he thinks it keeps the meat from drying out. So below is his very own Game Pie recipe. An easy to make and deliciously warming meal for cold winter days.

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”Game is wild, natural and free range. It is low in fat and cholesterol and considered a healthy alternative to other red meats. Pheasant and partridge also contain a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B(6) and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Leatherhead Food International Research 2006

Game pie mix2