At School it was Technical Drawing and Metalwork that I enjoyed the most.  Before starting my apprenticeship I had already done 4-5years of working with drawings, different metals and some of the tools of the trade. The Metalwork Department was divided into two, the General shop and the Forge.My five year apprenticeship was in Welding and Fabrication at a local Engineering company, they mainly specialised in making boilers, tanks and chimneys for the petrol/chemical industry worldwide. After six years there I moved on to another local company doing much the same thing for eight years, but the work was much more diverse, which now included giant coal hoppers, all the ventilation ductwork for Rolls Royce at Crewe, the San Francisco bridge film set in the James Bond film View to Kill, numerous steel hulled boats including a canal boat and the three access bridges for the Thames Barrier.From there I worked in a company who built commercial and military flight, tank and submarine simulators for countries all over the world, replicating exactly the cockpits of the Tornado fighter jet, the Airbus and the new shaped Jumbo jet, also the Tiger tank and Nuclear Submarine training simulators.It’s difficult to condense forty years working with Metal into a few paragraphs but alongside the commercial I always had an interest in Modern Sculpture which was ignited by a derogatory remark from a fellow worker back in the seventies about a piece of work by Sir Anthony Caro. The comment of “I’ve seen better than that in our scrap bin” stirred up my curiosity to delve further into Direct Metal Sculpture.From 1994 I was fortunate to have worked with a local Blacksmith and Master Farrier rediscovering and honing my skills in the Blacksmith’s craft. Together we worked on numerous projects including the British Artist Blacksmith Association’s project of the Globe Theatre Gates. I suppose it was inevitable for me to combine my interest of direct metal sculpture, forgework and metal fabrication to produce sculptural work culminating in the nineties having a piece accepted in the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition. At the other end of the spectrum at that time I was also doing solo Blacksmith demonstrations at the Weald and Downland Museum and for Historical re-enactment societies.In 1999 the time was right for me to branch out on my own harnessing all my skills I had learnt and becoming a self-employed Blacksmith producing both traditional and contemporary ironwork along with the commercial work. On the Art side i’ve had joint and solo exhibitions of my Sculpture in Art Galleries and Museums.Alongside the day to day work of general Smithing, repairing and making garden tools or welding up the occasional bench seat or knocking up the odd boat hook, I have also for the past five years been teaching Welding and Blacksmithing to students at Oak Grove College in Worthing. After having built their own forge from scratch out of a dustbin, some pipe and a hairdryer they produced some great work from cooking tripods to medieval bodkin arrow heads and general ironmongery like period window catches. I taught the students both MIG, MMA Welding resulting in them making several sculptures around the grounds and an oak tree sculpture on the A259 Littlehampton road/ the Boulevard roundabout Worthing.

Five of those students all having mild learning difficulties went on to Further Education: Camelia Botnar Centre for Blacksmithing and Fabrication, Chichester College Brinsbury Campus Blacksmithing, Plumpton College Blacksmithing and Jewellery making and Northbrook College Shoreham Campus Mechanical Engineering.

Time permitting, I can offer one to one tuition in Blacksmithing, Welding and General Metalwork for the budding Artist who chooses to work with this medium, or the car enthusiast who just wants to learn how to use the mig welder they’ve just bought, or even if you just fancy giving Smithing a go for a project you’ve always wanted to make. Contact me for details.

Copyright © Dandelion by Pexeto