b'NEWSmodern smiths, yet embracing traditional techniques. Austrian The bandstand in Parade Gardens was an obviousblacksmith choice. Despite the logistical issues that a site withoutMaster Walfrid Huber talked vehicle access would present, Andy put forward a designabout his that received conservation officer approval. recreation of Being a bandstand, the obvious design concept wasthe hinges for music, so a competition was launched through Baththe doors of Notre Dame in Spa University to compose the piece whose score wouldParis. The event become the core feature of the balustrade. Jake Garrattsalso enjoyed the Hammer and Anvil, based on an old English folk songworld premier about a blacksmith, won the day, and hundreds of staves,screening of notes, rests and clefs went into production, as volunteersThe Devils Blacksmith began the process of realising this piece of music in iron. which tells his The design of the balustrade took its cue fromstoryfirst-floor Bath ironwork: delicate, detailed, fine and decorativejewellery for buildings.And although theA highlight of the event was Austrian blacksmith final piece is new work, a visitor from the GeorgianMaster Walfrid Hubers talk on his recreation of the period would recognise instantly how it was made.hinges on the doors of Notre Dame in Paris, alongside a Dynamic, contemporary and unique, it honours the skillsworld premier screening of The Devils Blacksmith which of our forebears and is a fitting testament to the citystells his story.craft origins. While the spirit of friendly competition meant that Meanwhile, the concept of BathIRON blossomedthe Master panels were all but finished over the four into a full-blown festival of ironwork, including talks,days of the event, there was still significant work to do to exhibitions, hands-on heritage craft experiences, acomplete the overall piece. walking tour of Bath ironwork, as well as food, drinkWith some funds still in the pot, organisers were and music. As part of the events fundraising, 800 trebleable to provide part-time employment for a journeyman clefs were hand-forged (around 700 have now been sold)smith to finish the project. Having canvassed opinion and a Sponsor a Note campaign (a few remain), helpedfrom other makers about finishing it was decided to raise the money needed. Organisers also knew from thehot-dip galvanise (one of many in kind gifts that we outset that the constraints of the site were going to makemanaged to secure free of charge) and after consulting putting on BathIRON complex. With 15 tonnes of kit towith a local well-regarded paint historian, a final colour manoeuvre without vehicle access, they approachedscheme was chosen. The chosen colours were available in Hereford College to rope-in student muscle. Georgian times and gilded details were picked out to add After all the preparation and build-up, the four daysrichness and heighten the visual impact, unifying the of BathIRON passed by in a flash. With so much going on,very different creative flourishes of the Master panels.many people passed throughfrom local school childrenAs a result, the piece is not only vibrant and playful, to world-renowned blacksmiths. Central to the wholebut helps to alter public perception that ironwork event were the eight forging teams who brought each ofshould be black, when historically it was anything but.the eight unique music-theme Master panels to life.Painting began at a painting party held in the Ironart This concept, whereby a Master leads a team withworkshop in Larkhall, just one of many instances of the mixed experience and skill, including students, waslocal community getting behind the idea and supporting key to the positive energy and spirit of camaraderie. the project with willing enthusiasm.Finally, the day And beyond the hive of activity that was the bandstandcame for installation and again a stalwart team turned forging area, there were exhibitions, walks, talks, filmup in Parade Gardens to fit the balustrade in time for screenings, live music and hands-on craft opportunitiesour celebration event FireFOLK, a family festival of folk for all ages.music and blacksmithing at the end of May. So, after a lot of work, a lot of fun, and many thousands of volunteer hours, what were the outcomes of this ambitious project? The event exceeded expectations in terms of heightening awareness of heritage ironwork. Around 7000 members of the public passed through over the four days,128 people booked tickets to forge or attend talks, a further 430 adults and children had a go at forging (pictured). Many of those who forged at BathIRON, returned to Bath for FireFOLK. And then there is the legacy of the artwork itselfthe bandstand balustradein the centre of Bath as an exemplar of excellence in traditional craft skills within a contemporary context. The people of Bath now feel a personal connection to the balustrade owing to our Sponsor a Note campaign, which saw many sponsor notes as tributes to loved ones. Hopefully the story of BathIRON will inspire others to embark on similar projects elsewhere, perhaps generations that follow will even be inspired to learn a craft skill, fired up by their experience of this event.14 |FORGE|November 2019'