The Forge

It is situated in an ancient building in the village of Buxhall, Suffolk, England. The hand forged creative ironwork made within uses traditional methods as far as possible.

Customers arrive with a notion or two as to what they require, we sit and talk it over, make sketches and drink a little tea. What they get is something highly personal, something which cannot be created by machine, something which can be passed down the generations and will appreciate in value.

Furthermore; I have made another friend.

A little bit of history.

Many years ago my father ran an agricultural engineering works in our village. Around this time steam radios were in use; twenty shillings made a pound, there was three feet in a yard and a pint of ale cost one shilling.

The huge anvil, hammers and various tools in his forge attracted me like a magnet. The hammers were so heavy to me then that I could hardly lift them, even so with some oddments of iron, plenty of pumping the bellows I could flatten anything into oblivion at white heat.

Discovering that I was artistic in some ways, all I had to do was combine the two and 'Hey presto' - another mistake! Eventually the skills improved, the burns diminished ad at last I was creating artistic things, sort of?

A few years later I had my own forge and anvil. After school was tremendous fun, mates came round to watch the sparks fly, scrolls, leaves, little statuettes and things being forged. Millions of tiny holes appeared in clothes as if by magic - I got myself a leather apron.

Reading and learning from our village blacksmith - farrier, and working with others on repouseé work, this ancient trade and its magnetism has never left me.

Time moved on and well over forty years later I am still bashing hot metal into artistic shapes.

Skills from this trade have been passed down through generations over hundreds of years. Improvements and adaptations to modern day techniques, but maintaining the ancient methods widened the scope for sculptural work.

Over those years my work spread around the globe, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Germany and even to Australia. The majority was within the UK and still is. My work has also taken me to the fields of advertising, magazines, TV and film.

However, nothing much has changed at my forge, my mates still come to watch the sparks fly. Nowadays though radios are digital, there is 100 pence in the pound, the yard has been replaced by something called a 'metre' , a pint of beer is still a pint for now, but to get merry costs twenty pounds. Why can't the authorities wait for all the old people die off before making these changes?

Graham Chaplin.
BA (hons) Fine Art.

Website designed and maintained by Gary Chaplin. I am not responsible for the content of this site. The design and layout is old and I simply don't have the time to update and maintain. Hosted by Chaplin Oak timber framing, which has no association with Ironoak forge.