Bespoke Witches Weathervane

Witch Weathervane ImageOur witch weathervane, pictured above, has been really popular for a couple of years. We’ve created several variations on it including swapping the cat for a dog or even a rabbit, adding in a cauldron and changing the angle of the broom. So I wasn’t suprised when we had an enquiry asking if we could put four witches on the broomstick rather that one. When he first suggested the idea, I could not imagine how we’d make it work in terms of the balance point, never mind it looking good as well. Thankfully he’d given us plenty of time so we were able to go away and think about it for a week or so…

The majority of our weathervanes are balanced by an arrow cut in 8mm steel, and on our standard witch, the cat acts as this counterbalance to the profile. Here, we have cut the 4th witch in thicker steel instead, with a cauldron to seperate her from her sisters.

Below shows the finished result (which both we and the customer LOVE), plus how we got to the end result. It was actually loads of fun. We decided that rather than trying for hours to draw what I wanted from my imagination, it would be much quicker if I posed in the stance I wanted and drew around the silhouette. So a tuesday morning of dressing up a little bit witchy and posing on a bar stool in our kitchen and we had all the research needed for the design! I’ve added a few warts and bigger noses to the ladies, plus made the hats more pointy than mine, and they look like they are having a great time. The significance of the design is that it was as a gift for a lady who is one of four sisters, a great idea to celebrate a special birthday.

witch photo witch photoWeathervane photo

Blacksmiths Swinging Sign

Bespoke Sign photo

This photo shows another example of a swinging sign being customised to reflect the former use of a customer’s home. Initially, I had wanted to show a small selection of tools such as hammers and tongs hanging in the workshop scene. This had to be left out in the end because when I drew them as if in the background, they were too tiny and delicate, but when I tried to draw them larger as if in the foreground, they looked disproportionally huge in comparison to the Blacksmith, so would not work either way. We love this photo of ‘The Forge’ insitu; this is what the customer had to say about it:

‘Finding Black Fox Metalcraft on line  I approached for a bespoke sign and forwarded a design to Jenny. The draft she came back with was a perfect solution to our description. Jenny kept us informed all the way and the quality of her work was exceptional. Delivery was within the stated time scale.

I have no hesitation in recommending anyone for the quality and craftsmanship from Black Fox Metalcraft.’

After all the hard work that goes into designing and producing a swinging sign, it’s fantastic to have happy customers at the end of the day!

Boat Weathervane

Boat Weathervane ImageA bespoke weathervane we’ve recently designed; based on a Norfolk Wherry boat! These distinctive boats were designed for carrying passengers and small cargoes around the broads in Norfolk and Suffolk. We did a lot of work in making the shape of the sail exactly as the customer imagined it, and she’s just sent in this photo of the weathervane insitu. Looks great!

Have a look at the link below to see our ever expanding range of Boat Weathervanes, and if you have a design idea you’d like to discuss please contact us on 0161 681 4293 – remember there is no charge for design work and these can all be painted by hand in full colour if required.

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/boats

 

 

Gifts for Gardeners

Often at this time of year we find ourselves starting to think about Christmas gift ideas, wanting to buy gifts that are not only unique and personal, but will be kept for many years rather than hidden away at the back of a cupboard before going in the charity shop pile. These days more and more people are moving away from mass produced imported goods, favouring the quality of craft products designed and hand made in the UK. In this blog post we’ll focus on gifts for gardeners for a wide range of budgets.

Hand forged Hooks

Almost all of us will know someone who takes a lot of pride in their shed, either on the allotment or in the garden at home. Why not go for a set of hand forged hooks – a gift that is both practical and unique. Below are photos showing examples of our reclaimed garden shears and vintage garden fork hooks – an idea which came about from clearing broken tools out of my parents allotment shed, and thinking that although they were past being used for their original purpose, it seemed such a shame for them to not be given a new lease of life! There is a link to our website where these items can be purchased below each photo.

Photo of garden shears hookshttps://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/forge-forged-hooks/garden-shears-hooks.html

Garden Fork Hooks photohttps://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/forge-forged-hooks/garden-fork-coat-hooks.html

The fantastic thing about the hooks below is the way in which they can be personalised to suit the recipient. The designs are cut by a computer guided laser, therefore it’s relatively straightforward to make minor alterations. We’ve designed a huge number of variations on this design, for example including different breeds of dog, a Cat, a lady gardening rather than a man, and also a couple. We can even change the style of their clothing if you like! The hooks are forged by hand from 6 mm round bar, with a traditional rats tail end to avoid clothing being snagged.

Gardener Hooks Image

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/indoor-metalwork/gardening-coat-hooks.html

Hand Forged Hanging Basket Brackets

Though it’s the time of year when most gardens are dormant, it’s refreshing in the depths of winter to be able to start thinking about spring and preparing your garden for summer. Why not check out our range of stunning & unique hanging basket brackets:

Fox Bracket Photo

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/hanging-baskets-brackets

Weathervanes

As with the laser cut hooks, our weathervanes can be easily personalised and therefore make wonderful Christmas gifts for someone special. There is no charge for design ammendments, so if you have a cat rather than a dog let us know and we’ll swap it over! We offer four standard sizes, to suit buildings from the smallest garden shed right up to a mansion, with fixings made to order depending on requirements.

Gardener weathervane imagehttps://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/weathervanes-dogs-hobbies/couple-gardening.html

Our weathervanes can also be produced in miniature to sit on top of a garden obelisk; with it’s hexagonal frame and hand forged curves this piece is guarenteed to stand out.

Obelisk WeathervaneAnd last but by no means least, what about a personalised shed sign? As with the weathervanes, there is no additional charge for design work, and text is painted by hand to order. Please do contact us on 0161 681 4293 to discuss your ideas. As all of our products are designed and made to order in the UK, they generally take 3 – 4 weeeks to produce, so it’s best to leave plenty of time!

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/wall-mounted-names-numbers

Village Sign

Allington Sign imageHere’s a large village sign we recently produced for Allington, Lincolnshire. The parish council ran a competition to design a sign for the village, and the winning image was sent to us in sketch form. The final piece is pretty true to the original drawing – I made a couple of alterations to add strength in a few places, and also altered the perspective of the well to suit the scene better, but other than that is very much as it was. The design includes various well known local sights such as the old salt well and manor house. The path and walker depicted represents the Viking way, which used to run through the village, and the plant in the foreground is a Teasel, a large thistle that is plentiful in the area. Is great to see a design go from a rough sketch on a piece of paper all the way through to a finished sign like this!

Bespoke Farm Sign

Farm Sign image Bespoke Farm SignA bespoke Farm Sign we designed and made last summer. The brief for the design was to include Swallows, wildflowers and a pond, to reflect the customer’s garden. Drawing the individual Swallows and wildflowers, including Cranesbill Geranium and Oxeye Daisy was straightforward enough, but working out how to show a pond as part of a black silhouette image was far more of a challenge… In the end, I reflected the flower pattern across the diagonal, as if shown in reflection, so the water idea is more of a subtle suggestion rather than literally being pictured. We love how this design has turned out.

The other challenge with producing this bespoke sign was the bracket. It is an unusual one because it is fixed into the dry stone wall, beneath the coping stones. So its got a very unique bracket, mostly hidden from view, welded to the bottom of the sign itself. It is bolted to the wall, and the weight of the coping stones ensure it will be there for a very long time!

Thatched Cottage Sign

Another swinging sign design based on a photo of a customer’s house – a beautiful listed thatched cottage. I found the design quite challenging because the outline of a thatched roof is not a straight line, its very organic, and it was hard to draw a slightly wobbly line without making it look wonky! The rose design around the frame of the sign is based on Roses, to match the name of the cottage. We’re both really pleased with the end result, as was the customer, and it was nice to be painting in such an unusual style of text as well.Bespoke Swinging Sign Image Swinging Sign Image

Wall mounted Name Plate

House Sign Image Name Plate ImageHouse Name Plate Photo

Just packaged this huge wall mounted name plate, another variation on our original Art Nouveau sign. At nearly a metre across its pretty grand! I altered the original design to accomodate the much longer name – the original was ‘Belmont’, and I did the design to fit around the seven letters, so it did need quite a bit of work to suit this customer’s house name.