This post aims to give you some ideas & advice for designing a bespoke weathervane, either for yourself or as a gift. Please have a look at the photos below, there are explanations about each one in the text further down the page.
I think the most difficult thing about designing a bespoke weathervane is choosing the subject, simply because the choice is so vast. Common themes are Hobbies such as gardening or sports, Vehicles are a great choice for classic car or bike enthusiasts, while a favourite Pet can be perfect for an animal lover. If the local area is famous for a particular type of wildlife, this can be a really nice touch. We’ve recently sent a Red Kite weathervane to an area of Wales where these rare birds can be seen. You could also focus on the history of the area, or even the past use of the building the weathervane will be mounted on, if it is particularly interesting.
The list of subjects is pretty much endless which I realise does not make it any easier to decide! If you are thinking of buying a weathervane as a gift, why not have a bit of a brainstorming session, focusing on aspects of the person receiving the gift such as their hobbies & interests, do they have a favourite place or holiday destination? A customer recently commissioned a ‘Bear catching a Salmon’ design for his Canadian wife, to remind her of home. Do they have a favourite book or film? Our Mr Toad from The Wind in the Willows is quite a popular design. If the person has a collection of anything this can be a great light hearted option; one of my favourite designs was a gentleman in old fashioned dress pushing a vintage lawn mower; it was given to a man who has a collection of over 300! It does not need to be serious, it can be something to make you laugh and can be as silly as you like. We have even produced a flying pig weathervane for a lady who just felt that she needed a bit of luck.
Another possibility could be based around their working life. We produced an Argosy aeroplane design ordered as a gift for a man who had flown them during the war, and also designed a banner style weathervane with a chemical symbol laser cut into it for a man who had been some sort of industrial chemist, and this formula had been an important part of his career. Quite a funny one was a ‘Pig in a Pipe’ design, which literally showed a Pig running into a pipe, but represented the machine that cleans industrial pipes, known as a ‘Pig’.
A few other things to consider:
1. It’s important to ensure that the design will function – weathervanes work based on balance. The surface area needs to be much larger at the back than the front so that the sail will catch the wind and spin into it, but the weight at either end must be equal. We can make pretty much any design function as a weathervane so don’t dwell on this too much, but is worth bearing in mind.
2. Bold designs work best; the more different components a design has, the smaller each individual component will be. Remember it needs to balance. The letter bars can always be decorated with a design other than the hand forged scrolls – for example we recently produced a design based on a customer’s boat. She wanted her two Jack Russells to be in it, but given the difference in scale, they were barely visible at all aboard the boat. So we put them on the North / South Bar instead, which looked great. Another example of this is a bespoke car weathervane we did for a mechanic; beneath the letter bars were laser cut spanners with his initials. There is an additional cost for custom letter bars, but well worth it if you want a really personal touch that cannot be incorporated into the sail itself.
3. If buying the weathervane as a gift, do consider where the recipient will put the weathervane – though we are happy to swap fixings later, it’s best to at least have an idea of the size they will need. There is some advice on choosing sizes on our weathervanes information page.
4. We are happy to work from as little as an idea discussed over the telephone, or as much as a computer jpeg image showing exactly what you want. There is no charge for design work, though the more information you can give us about what you want the design to look like, the less time it will take, therefore enabling us to keep design work free of charge. Rough sketches are welcome, as are images or links from the internet. Anything to help us get an idea of what you are after! For those of you with an artistic side, why not have a go at designing your own, like the whale weathervane pictured above; it was designed by a lady who is a professional Illustrator.
5. Make sure you allow enough time. Design work is not an instant process, especially when an image goes to and fro a couple of times getting it just right. A bespoke weathervane can take up to four weeks to manufacture from when the design is confirmed, so make sure you contact us in plenty of time.
When your ideas have been discussed, we will then come up with a design or two, & email them over (we can post to those who do not have an email address). You then have the chance to suggest any minor alterations or improvements to the design. We are happy to do this, so don’t worry we won’t be offended! It’s important to get the design just right.
If you have a design you’d like to discuss, please feel free to phone us on 0161 681 4293, or fill out our online contact form.