Another great photo sent in via email showing one of our bespoke weathervanes insitu! The customer had ordered our ‘Cat chasing dogs’ weathervane, featuring a Labrador and Border Terrier, but then realised there was no extra charge for bespoke designs. So he asked if we could alter the design he’d ordered to feature his dogs; a Spaniel, Pointer and Labrador. Though I found it quite difficult to draw the specific breeds in action poses, this was a really fun one to do and I love the result as I think it shows the personality of all the animals. Fantastic to be able to personalise a weathervane in this way!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
And 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!
We’ve just produced a bespoke branding iron for a customer who makes rifle stocks. He asked for a really simple logo to be drawn out and laser cut – he brought the sketch in on a post it note so I could draw it on the computer there and then. Once the piece had been laser cut, I forged the handle from 8 mm round bar, with a long taper to weld to the back of the tiny laser cut brand. We tested it out on an offcut of timber we had in the workshop, see above! A personalised branding iron would make a fantastic & unique gift for a woodworker of any kind.
Our Border Collie weathervane just about to be packaged and sent out. The customer wanted us to show some of the detail of their dog’s markings, but wasn’t too keen when I suggested cutting them out, so I have painted them instead! Looks great, and will stand out better than cut outs would. We could paint the markings of any collie if a photo is provided – a fantastic way to personalise a weathervane.
A bespoke swinging sign we sent out this week with a design to reflect the property’s history! Our customer lives on a farm in a converted barn that used to be a puppet theatre when the farm was a childrens farm, and he contacted us with a sketch showing his idea. It was very good drawing actually; it looked great on paper but there was a bit of work to do in turning the puppets into silhouettes and making the design function in laser cut steel. I made a few minor alterations and added a couple of improvements to the design but this one is largely the customer’s work.
Initially, our customer contacted us asking for a bespoke weathervane for her daughter in law, based around a ‘nail varnish emoji’. Other than this she was not specific, and was unsure as to how it would come together. But we like a design based challenge! So, my initial idea was to take aspects of the nail varnish emoji, so the close up of fingernails and the bottle of polish, and frame these in an ornate, vintage style mirror, which would form the sail for a banner weathervane. I roughly photoshopped it together for the customer and emailed it over, but she wasn’t that keen on the design. We couldn’t think of a better way to depict the emoji, so decided to abandon this route. She then sent over a clip art of two ladies having their nails done, and wondered if we could produce something similar.
So the photo above is the idea we went with; initially I had drawn more traditional looking antique chairs, but we all felt that this made the design look too formal; the customer said she was after something a little more relaxed and fun. So I drew a couple of more modern looking stools, and relaxed the posture of the two women a little, and there you have the final design! A lot of work went into this bespoke weathervane design, partly because beauty salons and nail varnish emojis are not a strong subject of ours, but I think we’ve learnt quite a lot here and have ended up with a unique design that everyone was very happy, & the finished weathervane looks very classy.
A bespoke, personalised hanging basket bracket design with a Tortoise! I drew the Tortoise itself based on our Horsefield named Mr. Percy. I’ve highlighted some of the markings on his shell in the form of cutouts, and the same with his eye. I then printed several copies of this off the computer along with the basic shape of the bracket, which I’ve literally just doodled around in my sketchbook; the photo above shows an example. I felt this sketch worked pretty well, so I scanned it back into the computer to tweak and create the final design. I ended up altering it quite a bit; I felt the solid ground would be more suitable underneath the Tortoise than the plant based filigree you can see in the sketch.
The hook for the hanging basket bracket was made by hand in our coal forge, and the design cut using a nitrogen shrouded laser. It’s all TIG welded together, and the finish is a black powder coat, with a protective layer of zinc electroplate underneath.
We’ve produced this bespoke business sign for a shop in central Edinburgh. All the details were specified by the customer, such as the powder coat colour to match the existing colour of the shop front, the text style and colour, and the business logo in the centre of the sign. So it’s completely personalised to match the customer’s requirements. This was all painted by hand, and the final coat of paint is just drying now, ready to be sent out this evening.
The main difficulty we had with this sign was the bracket from which the sign will hang. Because the building is listed, the bracket had to fit in with planning laws, and approval was given on the condition that no new holes were drilled in the shop front. So when manufacturing the bracket, we had to make sure the holes matched up exactly with the holes aleady there.
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.”