Made by the Forge Archive

Juliet Fishenden

Another fun day out with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and some hardy volunteers – or rather that was the plan. It was Saturday 27th January 2018. The Trust’s Education Officer Lucy Shepherd had organised a Tree Planting Event in Alexandra Park, Ipswich, Suffolk which Made by the Forge had sponsored. There was an open invitation to families to come along and help plant the trees to improve and enhance the park. There was another park that scuppered my attempts to be there on time to help and take some photos.

Portman Road is the home of Ipswich’s football club and they were playing Wolves there that afternoon. And if any of you know what it’s like travelling through football traffic, you’ll understand that by the time I’d got to my destination, all the planting was complete. My belated apologies to Lucy for not quite making it. And Ipswich lost, 1-0… Lucy and the team of volunteers managed to plant 250 trees in about 3 hours. That’s about one and a half trees a minute!

Lucy said it was “A massive community effort with about 40 people attending to come and help. It was such a lovely day with people popping by who couldn’t plant trees but who just wanted to see what we were doing…. Some wildflower seed was also planted near the trees and this will be such a lovely area for wildlife when it has all been established.”

 

Lucy was very grateful for our support because it gave the Suffolk Wildlife Trust the opportunity to plant much needed trees in the park. I’m sure the pictures speak for themselves. There’s something enormously refreshing about young people doing things that involve no screens or computer code although I am well aware of the irony saying that in a blog…

Juliet Fishenden

As you probably know, for every order, Made by the Forge pledges to plant a tree to give back to nature what we’re taking from it. We assign this important part of our business to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Rather than plant one tree at a time, we let the Trust choose the best location and then on a certain day, volunteers who care about the environment come along and plant hundreds of trees at once.

 

 

We are indebted to Michael Strand the Trust’s Development Officer whom we meet usually every year at tree plantings. Alas both he and Site Manager Alan Miller were not available for this years’ plantings but there as the Trust representative was Sam Hanks, the Coastal Reserves Assistant and it was a pleasure to meet him.

While at Thorington in Suffolk, I was struck by the generosity of the volunteers. It’s such a good feeling to know there are dedicated and committed people out there who will give their time on a chilly December morning to plant trees given that the simple reward for their actions – a line of proud trees – will be years in the future. We’ve credited the volunteers at the end of this short 2 minute film to mark the occasion. (Click on the picture below to watch) I hope you enjoy it.

 

Juliet Fishenden

In the words of the BQ website (www.bqlive.co.uk), “We celebrate and inspire entrepreneurship to help businesses succeed and grow…” There’s a really nice article on BQ written by Chris Middleton on Made by the Forge and our relationship with the Manufacturing Growth Programme. The programme is a government initiative that supports manufacturing businesses and identifies where improvements can be made. Have a read…

http://www.bqlive.co.uk/manufacturing/2017/12/12/news/suffolk-blacksmith-forges-strong-growth-29447/

 

Juliet Fishenden

It’s always a great validation of our work at Made by the Forge (and to be honest, a great thrill) when one of our pieces gets media coverage. We’ve had our share of magazine exposure, and we’re very grateful for that publicity. But a few Wednesdays ago on Channel 4, we were lucky enough to have one of our leading lights featured in the clever and entertaining series Ugly House to Lovely House with George Clarke.

Frame grabs from Ugly House to Lovely House with George Clarke © Channel Four Television

 

Our Farrier’s Cage Five Bar Long luminaire, designed by Anthony Dickens, hung decorously from the ceiling of a converted St. John ambulance station of all things. The filmmakers really showed off the piece shooting it from lots of different angles and in its first prominent shot, the Five Bar Long fills the frame albeit showing only four of the five lights.

Frame grabs from Ugly House to Lovely House with George Clarke © Channel Four Television

 

It’s a very good feeling to have Made by the Forge associated with lifestyle programmes that point people at products that make for better interiors. The relevant episode, series two, episode two, is still viewable on the Channel 4 website until 24th November here:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/ugly-house-to-lovely-house-with-george-clarke/on-demand/65271-002

If you’re not logged in to view Four On Demand, then that simple process takes a few seconds. Hope you enjoy it.

Juliet Fishenden

In this modern, interconnected world of ‘Now!’ or even sooner, it pays to keep an eye on what the current groundswell of opinion is, what people are thinking and what’s trending. To us, a trend is an ephemeral thing, born fast and soon passed. But it pays to know what is currently of particular interest. Made by the Forge’s products have a timeless quality to them, built as they are to last a lifetime. Wrought ironwork has been taken up by contemporary consumers who recognise that authenticity and superior craft can bestow on – even the most humble product – a veneer of ‘cool’. Turning to a search engine of choice, I was surprised to see one aspect of ironwork poking its head above the parapet as a modern object of desire.

The definition of a balustrade is as follows; a railing supported by balusters, especially one forming an ornamental parapet to a balcony, bridge, or terrace. The elements of a balustrade are; the handrail and its parallel baserail; the spindles are the supporting rods attaching the rails and the extra supporting pillars are known as newel posts. To you and me, we call all that ‘a stair rail’.

Over the centuries, ironwork has been spectacularly wrought into ingenious designs (just visit Barcelona and let your eye wander up the frontage of buildings) and there doesn’t seem to be any limit on human imagination when it comes to decorative ironwork. At Made by the Forge, we favour simple lines and clean designs, an approach that has acquired the word ‘minimalist’. But whatever your preference, whatever your own unique design, we can make it a reality. Get creative!

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

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

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.