I’ve just finished this commission for a client in Suffolk, who wanted an outside fire pit for her garden that celebrated the nature of fire itself. Like many she enjoys sitting around a fire, but wanted something that looked as good as the rest of her home.
Mrs Buckley’s fire basket comes home
Much of the art of blacksmithing involves using symmetry or creating a mirror image of certain forms. But fire is organic, chaotic and asymmetrical with few repeating shapes. So with this piece I really enjoyed creating the shapes required on the anvil as I went.
Creating metal work that is beautiful starts with a pencil, I do a lot of sketching before I ever put any metal in the forge. When a detailed drawing has been agreed with a client, it’s only then that I start to produce a working drawing, often in chalk on a laying out bench so that the curve and shape of the steel I heat matches my original ideas.
A Candelabra that mimics the wind ravaged of trees of mountainous north Wales, where it was sent as a gift
Here are some pictures of some recent work produced over the last couple of months. They were all drawings at some point that slowly came to life.
A window grille that has brought some organic lines to the streets of South London
A heart dream catcher to ensure the sweetest of dreams
There’s no better traditional declaration of love than giving a blacksmith’s heart to your sweetheart. This one marks the fateful day that these two lovers met.
In this video blog entry, Thirsty Bear blacksmith Jake Bowers, explores the paradox of making beautiful metal work
Thirsty Bear Forge from Jake Bowers on Vimeo.
This spring, Thirsty Bear Forge blacksmith Jake Bowers will be taking his bespoke metal creations to two local craft and design fairs. The first will be held this weekend in the Claremont Studios as part of a series of events celebrating local design and creative talent across the increasingly bohemian town of St Leonards. Jake’s work has been selected as part of an exhibition of UPCOMING local designer makers and will on show at the Claremont Studio in St Leonard’s Kings Roads from the 28th to the 30th of March.
On April 21st (Easter Monday) Jake will also be demonstrating blacksmithing at the first Artisan’s at the Abbey event held in the ground of Battle Abbey School right next to the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings.
Just like all blacksmiths, I produce companion sets so customers can have a shovel, poker and brush to tend their log fires or wood burning stoves. These tools together with a stand are collectively known as a companion set. This brief for this set was to produce something which mirrored the client’s love of all things art noveau. The stand, in particular, captures the light, gravity defying lines used in Art Noveau architecture, but gathers them in with simple steel wraps.
I also produce simpler sets of tools or just one off pokers.
When a private client asked for something to brighten up her garden patio in winter, we knew exactly what she needed – a tree that never looses it’s leaves. This traditionally fire welded tree shows the fluid properties of forged steel to great effect. A touch of golden and silver paint makes it feel regal no matter what the weather is.
I’ve just finished this Native American inspired gate for a private client, complete with steel dream catcher. Just goes to show that metalwork doesn’t just have to be traditional or indeed black.
We’ve just completed a great commission for a new shop in Hastings. The Fire Shop will be opening in the new year of 2014 selling a great range of traditional and contemporary woodstoves. The new venture will compliment their existing business fitting stoves and chimney systems. But the shop, which they have completed renovated, needed a new set of railings and hand rails to divide it’s split floor.
So we designed, built and fitted these forged farbicated fire themed railings for them. They looked great in red, but even better in black. We’ll also be making a range of companion sets, fire guards and hopefully our own woodburning stoves for the shop in 2014.
We’ve just completed a very interesting commission for artist Delaine Le Bas. Delaine needed two replicas of some lanterns she had found in the Pitt Rivers Ethnological Museum at Oxford University which were made by Gypsies in the New Forest in 1912. She will be using them in a film she is making.
The video blog below, shows how we made them:
Making a Replica 1912 New Forest Gypsy Lantern from Jake Bowers on Vimeo.
This short video shows how artist Blacksmith Jake Bowers made two replica 1912 New Forest Gypsy Lanterns. They are based upon two found in the internationally renowned ethnological museum the Pitt Rivers Museum by Romany artist Delaine Le Bas.
A Blacksmith from the Thirsty Bear Forge has won two top blacksmithing prizes. Artist Blacksmith Jake Bowers won the much coveted top blacksmith shield as he completed his 2 year extended diploma in Blacksmithing at Plumpton College in Lewes, East Sussex. He also beat hundreds of other students attending the college to win the top practical student cup, the first ever blacksmith to do so in the college’s 100 year history.
He is pictured above with his Blacksmithing tutor Ricky Delaney, Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. Jake Bowers has also been awarded his Journeyman’s Certificate below by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, one of the original craft guilds founded in London in 1299.