New Commissions?
Is your project of interest to me?
I started my first metalwork generally, blacksmithing specifically, about 1978 (so at point of writing, 40 years ago).
Over those years, the Canadian marketplace has shifted considerably.  I have been supporting myself via the Wareham Forge since 1992. The kind of work I have undertaken has shifted over time as well. This was not just to produce only what will sell, but more importantly what I have been personally interested in. This in turn has affected what specific skills I had acquired, what research I undertook, and what tools I invested in - all to support certain types of work :

                      ladles At the beginning, I specialized in ‘Historic Reproductions in Metals’ This included costume jewellery, small scale metal casting, as well as hand forged domestic objects. Those originally included what was described as ‘Re-Enactor’s Supplies’, primarily camp cookware and small tools. This slowly drifted to similar small scale household accessories, things like candle holders and pot racks. Outdoor objects included simple sign hangers and weathervanes.
famous viking From 1996, I was increasingly focused on museum related projects. It was in this period  I designed, created and implemented the ‘Norse Encampment’ series for L’Anse aux Meadows NHSC (Parks Canada). Over the 'Viking Millennium' (2000) I consulted and worked on a number of major exhibits on the Viking Age, perhaps culminating with the creation of the stand alone exhibit ’World of the Norse’.
richards rail Starting in the early 2000 + period, I was approached about designing and creating a number of larger architectural projects for private homes. This work included interior and exterior stair and balcony rails, as well as more sculptural objects for gardens like gates, fountains and arbours.
Building on the earlier research, I would increasingly develop a major interest in Bloomery Iron Smelting, embarking on a major experimental archaeology series. This in turn would lead to academic papers, demonstrations workshops.
bloom student With the shift in economic climate starting with the Recession of 2008, the requests for larger commissions certainly dropped off at the Wareham Forge. At the same time however, demand for training courses greatly increased. Having both good ability and long experience as a teacher, trainer and lecturer, I found myself perfectly positioned to expand my long standing series of weekend courses.
As my research with Iron Smelting continued, I was recruited to work on projects here in Canada, the USA, Scotland and Northern Europe.
burgess crab
As more and more of my available income shifted from what I could make - to what I knew and could communicate, I find myself more able to focus on what could be considered ‘Art’. Objects that have no particular function other than to be visually interesting, or provoke a response.
In short, 'making what inspires me'...
It is also important to consider just where I am currently in my own life cycle.
I started at the forge while a student at Ontario College of Art, in my early 20’s. Run the math. That makes me (also at time of writing) into my early 60’s.
As you should guess, I now bring all those accumulated decades of experience to my work. This would certainly suggest that I would be only interested in projects that would require that kind of experience and level of skills.
One significant element to this is - I most certainly don’t have the kind of physical abilities I had when I was in my mid thirties, establishing the Wareham Forge. This is somewhat mitigated by my investment in heavy powered tools, an air hammer and hydraulic press. Still, it becomes increasingly important (if not outright necessary) for me to wisely apply the energy available.
Of course a life time of skills development, encompassing for almost two decades serious experimental research, also needs to be documented. Writing and publishing, via blog, web site, formal papers, even private e-mails, consumes a larger and larger part of each ‘working’ day.

This brings us back to the starting statement :
Is your potential project of interest to me?

Do consider the following :

Does the work actually require the level of skill and experience I hold?
- There are a larger and larger number of ‘entry level’ blacksmiths out there. Simple objects are most certainly within the scope of these new (usually younger!) workers. At the level of starting / promoting a new business, these smiths are most likely to be responsive to elements of time and cost limitations.

Is there a major artistic design element to the project?
- Over the years, all my work has been based on my own designs, dominated by my personal ‘Rivendale’ style. Honestly, at this date I am not interested in purely functional objects, or manufacturing other people’s technical layouts.

Is there a realistically large budget?
- Remember the level of education, skills development, and overall experience I have. Consider your own situation - What kind of weekly / yearly income would you expect someone with 35 years (and counting) * professional * work to command?

Remember that I am quickly approaching an age when most people would be expecting to Retire (!)
Although a working artisan never really ‘retires’ in the usual sense, I certainly am now being much more careful about what projects I am willing to invest my own personal resources on.
This most certainly effects the scale, complexity and speed that I can realistically undertake.

After considering the elements above, and how they might apply to your particular project, I am certainly willing to have a general discussion about it.

Please take the time to read the various information already clearly provided over this web site:
On Custom Design
Rivendale Style
Contract Rough
Questions & Answers

and many others - including the various Gallery segments illustrating my past work.

Do remember that my time remains valuable, so any first contact may prove a limited communication.
Those specifically interested in custom bladesmithing, should read the bog post on this topic.

original : February 24, 2018

All text © Darrell Markewitz - the Wareham Forge