IRON ORE ART
A BRIEF HISTORY
I was born in Hampshire, England. At the age of 15, I entered into an apprenticeship and after five years I was awarded a degree in metalsmithing - metal fab and machine shop. After this I became a journeyman and worked in various metal shops. I was then offered a position by the West Surrey College of Art and Design to take charge of the renovation of an 19th century welsh woolen mill. The mill was to be used by the students to design yarn for the textile department. This was a life altering situation that took me from modern technology to that of an 19th century millwright and into the world of art; it was here that my journey into blacksmithing began.
To make the parts for the mill machines I had to acquire a working knowledge of how machines were made in 1845 and how they were used. The National Museum of Wales "Welsh Folk Museum" had a working mill and were agreeable in letting me work in the Museum under the guidance of the two fine gentlemen that ran it .
Having gained some understanding of what the machines should do I went back to the art college to start the project. The sculpture department had an area for forging and a great blacksmith named Fred Bott; who took me under his wing and inspired myself and others to explore his wondrous craft.
Soon after I started to acquire the tools of the trade and a small forge in the village of Frithend; my career as a blacksmith was under way. At this time I was living on a farm in Hampshire; we grew most of our vegetables and raised goats. Not quite self-sufficiency but a great life, it was the seventies.
We moved to the United States in 1981 joining a group of artisans in Webetuck, New York; this is where I started to get acclimated to the ways of the new world. After a few years it was time to move on, it was hard to work in a craft village. I was beginning to get larger commission work and needed a workshop away from the tourist trade.
I moved my business into Connecticut, to the Village of Gaylordsville; we were there until we built the shop in New Milford. That is where we are today, the shop is situated on the west bank of the Housatonic River about two miles North of town.