I’ve just finished painting this beautiful piece of laser cut wall art. The idea of the circle is that it represents the sun, with the birds flying in front of it. As standard this piece would be powder coated black, showing the Swallows silhouetted against the sun, but here I’ve painted the birds in full colour. I love painting swallows as they are so pretty! This piece of wall art could be mounted in a living room or garden; the finish is durable and hardwearing enough to withstand the British weather. One of our best selling weathervanes features three swallows; it’s lovely to have a reminder of them once they have migrated south for winter. We have even done a couple of variations on this theme for customers, with the swallows flying over an oak tree and a weathervane with the swallows flying over terraced rooftops.
We designed and produced this beautiful bespoke house sign at the end of last year. The design features our customer’s rust coloured Border Collie lying in side profile, and the top of the oval sign is framed with an ornate Rose and Ivy design. Initially we discussed with the customer having her house name around the top of the sign and the number at the bottom, but with it being quite a long name the letters ended up tiny in order to fit, so we decided against it. The ornate Rose design came about because the dog’s name is Rosie. We think this makes the sign such a unique and personalised piece rather than just having the name, and a piece of wall art in it’s own right as well as being a functional house number sign.
The house sign is cut using a nitrogen shrouded laser in 3 mm steel, and the finish is a layer of zinc electroplate followed by a traditional looking but very hard wearing black powder coat. The customer specified an RAL code to paint Rosie the Collie which closely matches the colour of her coat, this was mixed and painted by hand in outdoor paint.
Here are some photos of a fairly epic project that’s been nearly a year in the making. This week past couple of weeks we’ve taken a bit of a departure from our usual weathervanes and swinging farm signs, and filled the workshop with these enormous bespoke pieces of wall art. The theme for this project was ‘The Seasons’, and the sizes range from 160 cm high up to 210cm for the gate so there hasn’t been a lot of space for anything else recently!
We’re used to producing bespoke weathervanes drawings, where I’ll have to create a design based on a model of car, or breed of dog, but this project has been on a different scale altogether. The Spring mural shows a tree going from winter on the left, with all it’s branches bare, into Spring on the right of the piece, with buds, leaves and blossom developing. There’s a bird sat on a nest, and swallows returning from their winter migration. The focal point at the bottom of the piece is two star gazing Hares. The Summer mural shows an Oak tree in full bloom, with a design inspired by wildflowers around the base. Field mice, poppies and corn are also included as things associated with Summer, and the centre of the wall art depicts the legend of the Green Man. The Autumn Mural shows the leaves falling, and the full moon background suggests the nights closing in, with the Fox in the foreground as an example of a typically nocturnal animal.
The bespoke gate and side panel depict winter; a snow covered tree, the fox asleep below ground, and the whole piece decorated with snowflakes and holly. The top panel shows the phases of the moon. Phiz has done an amazing job in welding all these pieces together; it doesn’t look like it from the photos but the tolerances were actually very tight as it all needed to bolt together, and fit exactly in between the customer’s house and garage. The design work especially has taken absolutely ages, but we’re really proud of what we have created here, and it’s shown us what is possible both in terms of laser cutting and our skills in bringing a customers ideas to life. I’ve no doubt that these will look amazing on the wall in Carlisle when they are plated and powder coated, and would definitely take on another bespoke wall art project like this in the future.
And now back to the workshop where there are a large number of weathervanes and farm signs needing our attention!
Here’s a couple of photos from our first show of the year, the BASC gamekeepers fair in Derbyshire. We’ve updated our stand a little, including a new banner showing some of our favourite swinging farm signs, and also an example of what we can do in terms of laser cut stainless steel wall art. ‘Name’ wall art has been quite popular recently, we’ve had a few ordered in chrome, and we wanted to promote the option of using brushed stainless steel instead, as we personally prefer the look of it. I think its just a bit more subtle and less blingy; entirely a matter of taste though!
So the show itself turned out to be a really good one; the weather was kind to us, we got a few sales, and gave out a loads of leaflets ( in part thanks to a little boy who joined our team for a short time! ). The Hare weathervane design was popular this weekend, as name and number plates though rather than weathervanes. And it helped being next door to a couple selling whisky and sloe gin, who were happily very liberal with the free samples! There were also plenty of dogs to make friends with, and we really enjoyed watching the Gun Dog events, both for the experienced dogs who knew exactly what they were doing, and also the comedy value of those who didn’t. So despite stupidly setting off late afternoon on Friday and spending several hours stationary on the M6, and as a result setting up the stand pretty much in the dark, this turned out to be a really good weekend, and will definitely be on the list for next year.
So we had an extremely busy few weeks in the run up to Christmas! Hope you all had a good one and Happy New Year and all that. Loads of exciting new designs & products not yet on the website that I’ll post in the coming days / weeks… plus photos of our products insitu and some lovely emails from happy customers. It was a very exciting time for us as the phone didn’t stop ringing, but were really glad of the time off over Christmas so we could catch up on some sleep.
Here’s one of the projects that we were working on during the last few months of 2013; our first piece of Industrial scrap metal wall art. Its quite a departure from the sort of work we normally do, both in terms of style and materials used. As such it was a challenge in many respects, but both we and the customers are delighted with the end result, and we look forward to another similar project.
It is made largely from scrap material we had lying around in the workshop, from box section and chequerplate to large rusty bolts, copper wire and even part of an old ray burn. The piece as a whole explores the contrast in colours and textures shown by different metals. Up close you can see grind marks and other textures; I basically left the back pieces in the workshop to be treated like a workbench top for a couple of months, so its got a lot of character to it. You see more of this as the light hits it from different angles too. The only piece that was made especially is the bit of stainless steel in the middle; we think its clean, shiny texture contrasts beautifully with the industrial looking, gun metal grey of the back pieces.
We also used a smaller piece of stainless as a background for the number above the door. The number itself I made from off cuts of mild steel box section, which has blued nicely from welding. The numbers are removable, and the fixings are hidden beneath them. The whole piece (excluding the stainless steel) has been powdercoated clear, which enhances the natural colours and textures of the metal, but also protects it from rust.
Our first piece of chromed metalwork! The customer asked for this name as a piece of metal wall art, as shiny as possible, to be mounted indoors. I sent several options for fonts, and he chose this one. When it arrived in after laser cutting, Richard spent a couple of hours polishing the front of it, as chroming will show up the slightest imperfection in the steel underneath. Originally we planned to weld tabs onto the back for mounting to the wall, but realised that with such a delicate font, they would be visible. So we chose instead to use four little clear plastic ‘cup and peg locators’, one part of which is glued to the back of the piece, and the other sits in a small hole drilled in the wall.