handcrafted Archive

Juliet Fishenden

If you are looking for a curtain or blind maker, then you’ve come to the right place. Despite one of our customers saying that it’s “…almost a shame to hang the curtains on them, the rods look so good as they are,” our curtain poles are crafted with curtains in mind. And we are thrilled to be working with one of the best curtain makers out there.

Natalie Canning has a passion for exquisite window treatments. She is a renowned specialist in the design and creation of beautiful, unique curtains, blinds and soft furnishings. She founded Natalie Canning, The Soft Furnishing Experts in 2005 and has developed a reputation for her ability and dedication to the craft.

Natalie is continually working with Made by the Forge as her customers love the clean lines and simplicity of our made to measure iron poles. Richard often creates bespoke brackets to accommodate the unusual shapes and dimensions of the windows Natalie has to work with.

Traditional skills and expertise form the cornerstone of every project Natalie undertakes. She works with the finest fabrics, a talented close knit team of seamstresses and exacting standards. This commitment and devotion ensures beautiful results every time.

If you want to arrange a consultation contact Natalie at https://nataliecanning.co.uk/pages/contact-us

Make a window, make a room!

 

Juliet Fishenden

Kitchen specialists and furniture designers par excellence, Martin Moore, share our philosophy and love of traditional, British-made handcrafted products. Yorkshire based for 42 years, their superbly made and beautifully finished work speaks for itself. In the Supplement to this month’s House and Garden magazine, one of their bespoke kitchens is featured and it’s a real beauty.

Set in a former church hall with lighting issues and great length but not width, the kitchen designer had to overcome a few not insignificant, practical hurdles. With a fusion of contemporary and traditional styles, Toni Silver’s elegant, informal design makes it a tremendous space for people to gather and not just one in which to prepare food. Made by the Forge was commissioned to handcraft the pan rack, which is fixed to the large mirror. As Toni says, “…the mirror is antique. So fixing a rack to it took on a special care and importance!”

It’s good to know that our classic ironwork fits in so well with such a contemporary kitchen. Clichés are clichés for a reason but it really is true that classics never go out of style. It’s also very satisfying to contribute to such a project and an honour to be associated with such a fine company whose work echoes our own passions and goals. To see the House & Garden Kitchen & Bathroom supplement article, July 2017, click here.

 

 

Juliet Fishenden

New Product Launch – The Forge Shelf Brackets

There is something extremely satisfying about robust, reliable shelving and a shelf’s best friend is what it’s supported by. Made by the Forge’s Forge Shelf Bracket is a product that conveys simplicity first and foremost. There is no tin it comes in but if it did, it does exactly what it says on it. It’s there to do a job, and once installed properly on a wall, it’ll take the heavy load.

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There are few homes in the land that could not use a little more shelving. These durable and extremely strong brackets are made of solid wrought iron and despite their rustic simplicity, they are rather attractive and come with a choice of black or natural beeswax finish. They are handcrafted in bespoke sizes to perfectly match your choice of shelving.

So why not let this sturdy support inspire you to action? Space may have been Captain Kirk’s final frontier but for the rest of us, it’s at a premium. So save time, save space and reclaim that floor area, maximise that wall space and put up that shelf.

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Juliet Fishenden

Prior to the industrial revolution, the humble blacksmith was installed at his forge in every country village throughout the land. His bread and butter trade was practical ironwork producing horse tack, farm tools and ploughs and in the less enlightened ages, swords and armour.

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People soon started to employ the local smithy to make decorative objects that would adorn any home, objects that would be passed down the generations. And where does a blacksmith derive his inspiration for such objects? Out of the window.

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Mother Nature features a near infinite range of shapes and forms but the most pleasing to the eye become the classics whose design weathers the years just like the iron they are made of. One such classic is the Ram’s Horn.

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The pleasing curves leading to the sharpened tip is one of Made by the Forge’s signature pieces and can be found as a curtain pole finial (above shown in beeswax), a curtain hold back (below shown in matt black finish).

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It is also the decorative centre to Chris Eckersley’s Standard Floor Lamp. It is extraordinary how a still powerful and classic design can be forged to compliment contemporary lighting and as a fusion of both past and present, it creates its own unique identity.

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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

We often turn to talent and craftsmanship in other disciplines to set off and compliment Made by the Forge’s products. For our new wrought iron standard lamps, designed by Chris Eckesley, we needed appropriate lampshades. When we saw the lovely work of Annette Rolston, we were compelled to collaborate with her and Mike Fenton to use their playful, artistic and distinctly British lampshades.

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Annette and Mike specialise in painting and printmaking and take their inspiration from where else but the East Anglian countryside. Mike’s expertise is in his depiction of animals in the tiniest detail and both are experts in the craft of linocutting, the intricate art of creating an image by cutting into lino and taking prints off it.

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Annette is drawn more to the abstract and creates patterned work though still based on nature’s varied landscapes especially trees and leaves. Sometimes her inspirations come from the cellular level where the abstract thrives in endless detail. The lamps and lampshades are available now (please email us for full pictures) and the relevant website pages will be up in the next week.

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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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