I’ve just finished painting this bespoke swinging farm sign for a farm in Cumbria. The customer asked for the sign design to include two specific breeds of Sheep, a Swaledale and a Rough Fell. We already have a Swaledale design, so I just needed to drawn the Rough Fell, which turned out to be pretty straightforward once I had found a couple of good images to base it on. I added the dry stone wall to add a bit of interest to the hanging sign, as they are a typical sight throughout Cumbria so it seemed appropriate and would complete the scene. The customer loved the idea, but asked could we replace our Swaledale with a Sheep based on her prize winning Tup. She sent over a great photo of him so was no problem at all, and the finished result is shown above. Really happy with it and I think it will look fantastic in its location – it will hang from a bracket like the one pictured above.
A bespoke weathervane we’ve produced in the last couple of weeks. When I sent the initial drawing over to the customer, she loved the dog straight away but asked for the man to be altered to look more like her husband (who the weathervane was a gift for). She sent a good quality image of him, so I was able to alter the build of the man, change for a more appropriate hat, and even copy the side profile of his face. It’s fantastic to be able to personalise designs down to tiny details like this! The customer was thrilled with the finished weathervane, as was the recipient. She has sent the following comments:
“I just had to let you know that my husband was thrilled to bits with his bespoke weathervane. The design was perfectly interpreted from the photo image I sent to you, which made it all the more personal.
I was very pleased with the quality of the item and with the service I received from you in the preparation of this gift.
We will, of course, send you a photo of the working weathervane once it is in position.
Once again, Jenny, many thanks for your help.”
Photos of a bespoke swinging sign being painted by hand. The sign is for a pub called the Scroggy dog. When the customer contacted us, the main specification for the design is that it should include a damp looking Spaniel. I knew from experience that wet long haired dogs are difficult to draw as a silhouette because their hair is all over the place and it’s not that straightforward to pick out the actual shape of the dog! Fortunatley though, I had a photo of one of my parent’s Springers, Ozzy, that works pretty well. It was taken at the beach when he had just come out of the sea, looking very ‘scroggy’. We came up with loads of ideas as to what else to include in the image, such as a beer barrel, wellies, a fireplace etc, anything that you might find in a traditional country pub scene, but the idea that stood out for us was the dog on the bar top, with ale pumps and a traditional looking pint glass. We love the design, and are really happy with the choice of fonts too. The Italic one flows nicely and was actually very easy to hand paint, whereas the main lettering used was quite challenging because of the thin shadow lines; I had to take my time and be very accurate with it. Just waiting for this to dry now and then it can be sent out!
We designed and made this bespoke firepit based on a recent trip to the Highlands of Scotland. Hexagonal in shape and cut from 4 mm thick steel, this firepit is high quality, heavy duty and built to last. The six sides each have a different laser cut design; A Stag in a pine forest, a leaping Salmon, Balblair distillery with a background of stormy skies, mountains with Highland Cows in the foreground, Eilean Donan Castle, and an Owl flying in front of a full moon with snow capped pine trees in the foreground. When the fire was lit, the dancing flames made the laser cut designs appear to change and move, really mesmerising. The finish we’ve used is high temperature barbeque paint, which can withstand 650 degrees celcius. After the first use, (a long night with a very big fire!) we cleaned the firepit and there was no damage to the paint work.
These photographs were taken on the firepit’s first outing, on the coast at Toscaig, a remote village on the Applecross peninsula, with views looking out to the island of Skye. We could produce a bespoke firepit based on any theme, and personalised to make a wonderfully unique gift.
A Rugby ‘line out’ weathervane we designed and made at the end of last year. The design was a challenge because line outs are, by their nature a bit chaotic, which does not translate well into silhouette form. I wanted each figure to be distinguishable from the next, while still looking realistic, which took a suprising amount of time to acheive! We decided to mount the design centrally & use a tail in order to improve the balance, as it is quite a tall but not very wide profile. Delighted with the finished result, as was the customer. We have even gilded the rugby ball for an extra special touch.
We love this photo sent in by a customer! Partly because it’s a great photo but also because the design is so funny & unusual; was certainly a challenge designing it. Our customer had asked for a weathervane featuring a vintage Sunbeam motorcycle, and wanted the scene to show a windy day. We tried a few ideas, none of which I was entirely happy with, so we ended up adding the comedy element of the rider struggling to stay on his bike. We’ve put a lot of work into the detail of this design; for example we have tried to keep the rider’s clothing in keeping with the age of the bike, ie a flat cap, scarf and boots rather than modern safety gear and helmet. It’s great to be able to personalise a weathervane down to details like this as you end up with something truly unique.
Check out our current range of motorcycle weathervanes on the link below; we are always happy to work out bespoke designs at no extra cost. https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/motorcycles
One of the more unusual weathervane designs we’ve done! The customer wanted us to create a weathervane based on a vintage Sunbeam motorcycle being ridden on a windy day. Initially we tried ideas such as trees blowing & a signpost bending in the wind, and even a cartoon cloud physically blowing towards the motorcyclist. In the end though, we felt that that all of this took away from this very cool vintage motorbike, so decided to keep the bike and rider alone. Having the rider hunched down trying to avoid the worst of the weather didn’t seem to get the point across very clearly, so decided to add a bit of a comedy element to the design. The customer loved it so this is what we’ve gone for!
A bespoke swinging sign we produced for a Cattery recently. I love the style of this sign, in the way that the design is a part of the bracket, with the text plate hanging below. Though it added complications to the making process, having this as an oval rather than rectagular adds to the originality of the sign. I’ve used our distinctive fern designs to add further interest to the playful Cat design, as it reflects the business name perfectly. This sign is a great example of how a traditional style of metalwork can be combined with contemporary design to produce a really unique and outstanding bespoke business sign.
A sign we produced in the mad rush leading up to Christmas. Not the greatest photo I have ever taken, but at least gives a decent impression of how the design has turned out. The customer asked for a swinging sign with a design similar to our Owl & Moon weathervane. He sent a rough sketch illustrating what he was after, but felt the left side of the sign looked completely empty, and wanted me to come up with something decorative to fill this space and compliment the other side. Initially, I printed off the design as it was and doodled around it, as is often the techique for bespoke designs like this. Scanned back into the computer, I was able to add Oak leaves & acorns, and tweak any areas that still needed work. I think the silhouette of the Oak tree works particularly well here because of the night time impression of the Owl and crescent moon background, and the shooting star gives a hint of something magical.
A customer recently sent us a photo of their Oast house, and asked for a bespoke hanging sign design to be based on the building. Initially they had wanted a ‘front on’ view, but due to some large trees in the way, it was not possible to get a photo from this angle. I tried to draw the property from this angle using my imagination & details I could see, but in the end felt this corner view would be far more effective, which the customer agreed with. The decorative design around the top of the sign is based on Hop leaves and flowers, hinting at the building’s history, and we’ve laser cut two boxing hares from the plate to match a metal profile that sits on the cowl, but was to small to be cut as part of the house itself – a really personalised touch. It’s the second Oast House hanging sign we’ve produced, the first being quite a bit larger than this but with the cowls removed from the two conical roofs. It’s being electroplated today, & am looking forward to painting the text & getting it finished next week.