Made by the Forge 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

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.

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

Natalie Canning is passionate about beautiful materials and we are delighted to share her 5 top tips to help you choose the best curtain and blind fabric for your home.

1.    CONSIDER THE LOCATION

  • If the window is in a sunny location, does your curtain fabric or blind fabric need to be thick enough to reduce some of the light?  Would you prefer a lightweight material offering privacy but still allow the light to come through?
  • Silk fabric is always a luxurious choice but will rot if exposed to sunlight…always interline and line silk curtains or silk blinds.
  • Is the window draughty?  Heavy weight curtain fabrics or blind fabrics help reduce draughts.  Lighter weight materials may still be used but it would be advisable to line and interline them.
  • What is the style of the room?  Country home or contemporary? Consider patterns and colour.

 

CustImage1Thumper finial above.

 

2.   CURTAINS OR BLINDS?

  • A heavy cotton fabric will hold it’s shape beautifully in a roman blind, whereas a lightweight fabric will appear more floppy and potentially lose shape over time.
  • If the material has a pattern consider how it will look on the finished item e.g. if the pattern is large, will you see enough of it in your chosen window dressing?
  • Far more fabric is required for making curtains, than roman blinds see 3. below.

 

my-home-unboxedHoney Dipper finial above.

 

3.  THINK ABOUT YOUR BUDGET

  • If you are trying to keep your costs down, I would recommend that you buy inexpensive fabric for making curtains but have them lined and interlined for that luxury feel.  A more expensive coordinating fabric can then be used for smaller items e.g. cushions or roman blinds to complete the overall scheme.

 

Curtain in alcoveRecess Pole above.

 

4.   MEASURE

  • Always measure your windows with a metal rule.
  • Measure once, write down the amounts, then measure again to be sure.
  • Always check the width of the fabric you are going to buy as these can vary greatly.

Please use this link to see Natalie Canning’s helpful measuring guides for How to measure for curtains and How to measure for roman blinds.

 

5.   ALWAYS LOOK AT A FABRIC SAMPLE

  • Before you buy your curtain fabric or blind fabric, it is always best to order a fabric sample.  This allows you to see and feel the material before you make a decision to buy.
  • If you are buying curtain fabric or blind fabric, hold your fabric sample up to the light in the position you would like it to be. For all soft furnishing fabrics place the fabric sample next to any other colours and patterns that will be used in the room.

Natalie takes great pride in designing and producing, the most beautiful and unique soft furnishings. She is always available in her Suffolk work room to discuss ideas and requirements. All of her curtains and blinds are hand made to the highest standards using traditional skills and craftsmanship. Contact Natalie on 01379 668170 or natalie@nataliecanning.co.uk.”

If you are considering Made by the Forge’s solid curtain poles and finials we are always happy to help. These poles are made to measure especially for you too.

 

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

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

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.

Seb,Ant,Rich at design studio

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