Today, most so called 'wrought iron workers' are in fact using machine formed, cold twisted, mild steel bars which are mass produced over standard forms, then arc welded together. Typically these shops employ not blacksmiths, but welders and production fabricators. Most often the poor design, and frequent duplication, of the objects manufactured in them clearly reflects these problems.
Artisan - Blacksmith Darrell Markewitz of the Wareham Forge instead combines the skills of an ancient art with bold modern designs. Emphasis is placed on extensive use of hand forged techniques. Each custom design is just that - an original piece of art work, created for the individual customer, and never to be duplicated. With every object the overall visual impact and flow is the first consideration.
In creating custom designs for larger pieces, consideration is given to the potential budget available for the project. The normal process is to provide three or four different layouts, usually one slightly less, two at, and one slightly above the price target. Upon the selection of the final design, a contract is signed, deposit made, and the work scheduled.
The following are a series of rough designs for projects never undertaken. In some cases these were additional designs, pure art projects with no customer, or projects that, for one reason or another, never got beyond the consultation stage.
How does the design process work? How much does it cost? I have added a new
section 'On Custom Designs' that details the process
of creating an Original art metalwork.
All designs shown here are copyright Darrell Markewitz / the Wareham Forge.
Design Rough to Finished Object
The three pieces shown here are presented to show how the original design
roughs are converted into finished objects. A better descriptions of them
can be found on the 'Gallery' series.
A complete overview of a single project, from inception through production
to eventual installation, can be found for the 'Railling in Riverdale'
The remainder of these designs are 'unclaimed' at present...
||The first set is a large candelabra created for the Pervan House in
Perry Sound, Ont. The requirement was to 'fill' a loft space in a room
that was 18 x 35 x 16 ft. high. The final candelabra was about 8 ft high
with quartz-halogen pot lights in the centre. The 14 arms on two levels
swept out an off centre oval about 10 x 15 ft. Not shown in the photograph
are the custom glass shades commissioned to fit into the ends of the arms
to hold the large candles.
||The second set is 'Lilly Gate' which was originally made as an exercise
in creating a garden gate using forged heavy tubing. It was sold at its
first public showing! This was the first in a long series of pieces based
on the forging of structural shapes.
||The third set is a large sign hanger recently created for J & P Adventures
in Paisley, Ont. One of the features of the final piece was the use of
'air brushed' paint to further enhance the wave like shapes of the main
Distinctive Home Furnishings
Mail Box Hanger
This design resulted from a combination of influences. When we first
moved to Grey County, we had an individual rural mail box. I had thought
to make up an elaborate hanger to support a hammered copper mail box
by way of a show piece. The box itself had a segmented door that worked
like an articulated joint from a suit of armour. The strong but decorative
hanger would be mounted to a standard wooden 4 x 4 post - and would
arc out to keep the post far away from the snow plough! As it turned
out, we had our separate boxes replaced by a group box - so the project
was never completed.
This is one of several designs I worked up for forged table lamps,
all with beaten copper of brass shades. This particular design would
hold a small quartz-halogen pot light, and would be ideal as a lamp
on an end table.
For examples of past work with Accessories go
Fine Art that provides High Security
This is one of a number of window grill designs I have worked up -
this particular one has not been made yet. In this particular case,
the central area will be covered by a sheet of coloured glass. From
the inside, sunlight would show through the shadows of the metal work
- in the evenings only the ornamental glass would be seen from inside.
Despite its beauty, the elements are solid steel bars - and would keep
out a tank!
Shop Window Grills
These three designs were part of a project to create a set of security grills for the plate glass door and two side windows in a jewellery store. The artist does a lot of work inspired by Celtic art, the flowing curves reflect this. These designs are in fact the 'alternates' - the finished panels based on the design that was chosen (not show here) can be seen at 'Brenda Roy Designs' in Alliston, Ont.
For examples of past work with Window Grills go HERE
More than just a way to keep you from the brink.
'Tree' Hand Rail
Part of the Pervan House project was to create a circular stair plus
several runs of straight balustrade and angled stair run. (The finished
pieces can be seen on the Gallery page). Of the four designs I worked
up for the project, this one was my favourite (but not used!). In this
case, I turned away from the standard approach of using a small section
that is repeated over and over - here the whole length is one integrated
design. The creation of distinctive hand rails involves very special
problems in this age of restrictive building codes. In order for this
particular design to 'pass' it would have to be backed up by a smoked
For examples of past work with Railings go HERE
Embellish YOUR Estate
These are a set of designs for a project that was cancelled (replacement of a failed well used up the funds.) They are entry gates for a long drive leading into a rural home, the drive was 'double car' wide. There were existing mounting pillars, but because of the lack of soil cover on the site, I had concern about them shifting with the weight of the gates. The solution was to base the design on a long thin triangle that swept up and over the pillar to centre the weight. Since the property had no boundary fence, the gates served to keep out vehicles only, and so could have light airy lines.