I bought this beautiful cat plant support today from my friend that runs #Sculptedsteel (on Instagram). I already have a larger cat sculpture from her but I think this is really elegant especially with the curl at the end of its tail. It’s about a meter tall and ideal for a climbing plant to support it as it grows. I will find something to train up it.
One thing that was missing from my drawings today were people. And the museum area and festival were crowded. I tried to rectify this by drawing a woman in front of the steam roller and a couple walking hand in hand away from me towards the forge that is on site. The blacksmith there, Charis Jones, runs a business called Sculpted Steel. I am sorry I didn’t get to see her but I spent most of my time drawing as you can see!
It was probably the biggest gathering of people I have seen for months. I wasn’t quite as nervous today, but my heart was still in my mouth!
This is the cat sculpture my friend from Sculpted Steel made for me from a sketch I drew. It’s lovely and she just shared her photo for international cat day. It cost quite a bit but it was worth every penny. It now lives in my garden with plants growing through and round it. I am very grateful to my friend for creating it for me. She is a brilliant blacksmith.
The cat sculpture by Charis Jones, of Sculpted Steel based at the Forge at Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, has settled nicely into the greenery of our garden. It stares out from between geraniums and lilies. The light glints on its glass eyes and shows off the lovely green coppery finish.
I don’t commission art very often, but Charis translated my two dimensional drawing into a remarkably beautiful cat. Proud and purrfect. It’s crinkly whiskers full of character. I’m pleased to possess it.
We went to a blacksmithing workshop today and bashed metal with hammers between heating it up in a forge. It took a few hours to learn how to make a coil of metal as a keyring and a letter opener.
Our tutor was Charis Jones, who runs Sculpted Steel at the Forge at Etruria Industrial museum. She patiently talked us through the many steps to turn both a bar and a strip of mild steel into the objects we chose to make. Other choices included a snail and a poker.
I don’t have the grip I used to have and trying to hold a piece of metal in a pair of tongs was very difficult. I dropped my work on the floor a few times, and you can’t just bend over and pick up red hot metal, you have to be very careful. Luckily no one got burned despite handling white hit metal.
The hardest thing is being able to hammer properly, my wrists felt weak and my arms were aching. (They still are).
You can see our efforts and what we were trying to do in the photos. They are next to the examples of how they should look. I overheated my letter opener blade and the tip broke off. Luckily Charis sorted it out (which is why it’s shorter than my hubbies work). He seemed to take to it naturally and it helped calm him down. Very good for concentration and ‘flow’.
I think having an experience like this gives you an insight into how difficult the craft of blacksmithing is. What you realise is that it may look simple, but it isn’t!
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who is the sweetest of them all?
This is a mirror and surround made by Sculpted Steel at the Forge at Etruria Industrial museum. The actual mirror is a quarter of this but I was playing with duplicating photos again.
The blacksmith, Charis is very talented and has had work exhibited at Tatton Park, I think at one of the garden shows.
My cat sculpture that I bought from a local blacksmith has moved since we had the shed put up. You can rest a plant pot on its tail. I love the glass eyes that she put in.
I would love to do a blacksmith workshop and learn how to do some basic twirls and twiddle.
I was so impressed by the skill of my friend. She has also got the ability to translate a 2d sketch that I did to a 3d sculpture.