blacksmith Archive

Juliet Fishenden

All of us in the U.K. have lived with wrought iron for most of our lives. It’s found everywhere. Ancient ironwork smashed into pleasing shapes, structures and intricate patterns is still with us, the march of time barely giving it a second glance. Wrought iron hangs up our bread boards, stores our wine, clads our ships and provides France with her most enduring icon.

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The industrial revolution may have turned our heads towards the new mechanical means of production but handmade, handcrafted ironwork still holds an incomparable allure. In fact, in the 21st century, wrought ironwork and its blacksmiths have returned with some vigour as the desire for material permanence has trumped the built in obsolescence of the poorly made product.

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The last commercial wrought ironworks factory closed in 1974 but despite this, the skill of ‘working’ iron (‘wrought’ is an archaic form of ‘worked’) is still with us and the products highly prized and appreciated for their quality. From the beauty of the Farrier’s Cage Six Circle Globe Chandelier to the humble handle, iron still just works.

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Juliet Fishenden

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As a small but dedicated-to-quality company, exposure in magazines and indeed any media is invaluable to us. Any opportunity to gain more publicity for the company increases our profile. It’s not all about business and sales though of course these are important. But mostly we care that as many people as possible be aware that these age-old traditional skills are still with us in our iPad, screen dominated world.

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In November 2015, Made by the Forge was graced with a company profile in the rather beautifully designed newspaper-like magazine Warehouse Home which you can see here, (first column, fifth box down). The magazine exploits the relatively new market of converting spaces usually associated with the storage of products into living areas. So it was thrilling to be back in Warehouse Home’s pages again.

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Beautiful photography and snappy prose are unified to give the reader a peek of that lifestyle experience that may only exist in a homes magazine but certainly seems more and more attainable. If that’s your goal, we can certainly help.

 

Juliet Fishenden

The Beehive is a hand-forged lamp using both traditional blacksmithing and modern metal forming techniques. The metal is hot forged and the edges hammered giving it a unique wavy line finish.  The design is a result of Anthony Dickens’ continued exploration in creating contemporary forged metal products with Richard at Made by the Forge.

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Previewed at the Heal’s Festival of Light in October, the Beehive Pendant is based on the classic layered beehive shape, finished with beeswax straight from the hive and given some individual character by Richard’s craftsmanship.

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The Beehive range will launch in February both in Heal’s and on our own website. The design is available in seven distinct variations. Showcasing two of them here, there’s the Beehive-Three-Cluster, a group of touching bulbs (illustrated below); and the Beehive Five Line Chandelier (above) which subverts the classic circular luminaire with a line of lights.

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All will be revealed in February and if minimalism is your goal then there’s a single Beehive pendant suspended from a ceiling rose or free standing, bulb-up on a table along with the larger pieces.

Juliet Fishenden

Some of our clients send in images of their new ironwork and the image below is from a customer who wanted brackets for a wooden shelf he wanted to mount on the wall. His idea was simple and stylish and the handmade brackets bring a touch of individuality to his home with the added benefit of supporting us British Blacksmiths and helping keep our craft alive.

 

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The testimonials below are from two satisfied customers and an image showing how artisanal touches can add to any room making it feel and look special:

Dear Richard
Many thanks for the curtain pole. All safely received and “aesthetically’ mounted on the living room wall. Really nicely made and looks great.
Loved the clear instruction leaflet..
Regards
Mark

September 2016

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Morning Richard
Just to let you know that our order arrived yesterday, I am delighted with the curtain poles and ties backs.
The chap will fit them next week, and then the curtains soon after that.
Your company has been a pleasure to deal with, very approachable, reasonably priced, excellent service, and made in Great Britain which I am very passionate about.
I will have no hesitation in recommending you.
Many thanks and kind regards
Katrina

August 2016

Juliet Fishenden

There is something wonderfully decadent about silk. It is so beautiful to touch and always a delight to see framing a window or a cushion. It is a timeless, natural fabric which works well in soft furnishings for both contemporary and country home interiors.

Natalie Canning, a curtain and blind expert, generously shares her views on Dupion silk and the silk worm with us;

“Dupion silk is one of the most popular silk materials as it is easy to sew, drapes beautifully and is wrinkle resistant. It is created by two different silk worms spinning their cocoons closely together and their fibres tangling.

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The thread created is rougher than other silk materials and the finished fabric contains bumps and irregularities called slubs which are part of its unique charm.

The humble silkworm is blissfully unaware of its importance to the natural fabric industry. It is said that a Chinese Empress discovered a silk worm’s white cocoon after it fell into her tea cup. The Empress was a keen weaver and after noticing a strand coming away from the fuzzy object she began to study it more closely. She unwound the cocoon into one long filament and the rest is history. The amazing silkworm caterpillar feeds on mulberry trees until it is ready to pupate and then uses huge silk producing glands to spin a cocoon. The clever caterpillar adds a protective gummy protein to the thread which makes the silk cocoon rigid.

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The Chinese Empress had accidentally discovered a way to remove this hard coating and release the fine silk thread….immersion in hot water! Or in her case a cup of tea! The Chinese kept the source of this beautiful, natural silk thread secret for well over one thousand years. There were many speculations and theories but the penalty for sharing the secret was death!”

We love the contrast between dupion silk and our solid iron poles so if you would like some help combining the two we would love to hear from you.

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Juliet Fishenden

We are forging ahead with new ideas for more wrought iron products which we will offer you in 2016. In the spring we will be meeting up with our collaboration partners Anthony Dickens, Gareth Neal, Chris Eckersley and William Warren to bring you the best of British design made by British blacksmiths.

Richard is looking forward to the festive holiday and seeing the new Star Wars movie!

Let the Forge be with you

If you have a project you would like us to quote for? We are always happy to help. If you have an idea, email a sketch and we can take a look and let you know if we can make it. Alternatively just call us on 01473 487118 to talk it through.

Juliet Fishenden

The new Made by the Forge brochure has arrived. If you would like one please just send us a note, with the address you would like it sent to, and we will post it to you.

It showcases all our ironwork products and is designed to give you ideas for styling your home.

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If you need any help, just call us on 01473 487118 or email sales@madebytheforge.co.uk. We are always happy to answer any questions; we pride ourselves on an efficient caring service.

Made by the Forge is different because we believe in making high quality ironwork that will last and last. All curtain poles are made to measure, so a perfect fit for your window is guaranteed. Simply key in your measurements online, using our helpful measuring guide, and see the price before placing your order.

It is always comforting to know that a tree is planted for every product sold, the ironwork is hand-crafted in our Suffolk forge and the beeswax, we use to finish the ironwork, is collected straight from a local hive.

Juliet Fishenden

Table and bench display Heal's

Using mixed materials to create something different has brought a wow factor to the above table and bench. The wrought iron legs are hand forged in our Suffolk forge using traditional, age old skills. There has been a lot of interest in the Tree to Table range which is a collaboration between Made by the Forge and the designers Anthony Dickens and Sebastian Cox.

Made by the Forge already plant a tree for every product they sell and have pledged to plant a tree for every table or bench sold. The planting takes place in Suffolk with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

The table and bench are available to view at the Celebration of Wood event in Heal’s, Tottenham Court Road store now. You have a choice of 4 beautiful table and bench tops, Ash, Sycamore, Beech or Oak, hand picked by Sebastian, and completely unique. The official launch is Spring 2016 but they are available to order by special arrangement.

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Juliet Fishenden

If you are thinking of restyling a room and your window needs a curtain pole we can offer some poles immediately. For that desperate rush when one needs to get a pole fast we can now offer you a variety of express pole kits.
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You can now order the same handcrafted quality in a pre-defined size, shipped to you to arrive within 48 hours if you are in the UK. This is ideal if you decide to do a quick make over for those short notice visitors!
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The packs feature our popular Cannon Ball or Button finials in 1.2 metre, 1.5 metre or 1.8 metre lengths complete with all brackets, rings, fixings and a pictorial guide to help you put the pole up.

Please note that if you order at the weekend or on a Friday then your poles would be despatched on Monday to arrive with you on Tuesday.

Below is the Button finial curtain pole.
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Juliet Fishenden

Made by the Forge has recently begun a new venture with our known and trusted designer Anthony Dickens and another award winning designer and craftsman Sebastian Cox. The idea is to design a table which combines wrought iron and wood and fusing them together in a totally contemporary and stylish way.

Sebastian and Anthony below, hot from the forge, hammering and making design decisions and adjustments to the iron legs.

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Another day was spent at Sebastian’s design studio and workshop where further adjustments and improvements were made until everyone was happy.

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The table will be launched later this summer and will be available to buy exclusively from Heal’s.