Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm back!

Well, I've been a bad blogger but a busy blacksmith for the last year. Lots and lots of ironwork has been produced at Bella Ironworks since my last blog post. Here's a picture of one of the projects that we've completed in the last year. There's over 200' of railing at this one house. We also did two fire screens, two gates, strap hinges and other smaller work for this beautiful home.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Driveway Gate

Every artist has their favorite pieces, and this is one of mine. It's an Art Nouveau inspired driveway gate. I love to take cold, hard steel and hammer it into flowing, organic shapes. The forgings are reminiscent of the ironwork produced in europe in the 1900's but the overall design is all modern.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Log Holder

Now that they've got a stylish fire screen and a set of custom fire tools, some clients choose to complete the set with accessories like this log holder. This one features forged feet, rivets and a sheet metal bottom to catch any loose bark and keep the hearth clean.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fireplace Tools

It's not unusual for a client to commission a firescreen from me and then realize that their old "Home Depot Special" fire tools just don't make the grade anymore. A beautiful firescreen deserves an equally beautiful set of tools to complete the look. The tools should be functional and feel good in your hand. They can hang on the wall or be displayed on their own stand. A typical set includes three to four pieces: poker, shovel, broom and (sometimes) tongs.

This set was designed to accompany a traditional firescreen with scrolls. It has a poker, shovel and a natural bristle broom. The handles are curved to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, and the shaft is long enough to reach all the way to the back of the fireplace, making them easy to use. This set was designed to be displayed on their own stand. The stand has a weighted bottom to keep it from tipping over and scroll details to complement the firescreen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


A beautiful vent-a-hood can be the focal point of a kitchen. I created this one for a turn of the century home in Memphis. It really draws your eye up, emphasizing the high ceiling, but you don't have to have a soaring ceiling or tons of room to incorporate a custom hood in your kitchen design. I've made hoods for rooms with 8' ceilings and hoods that fit tightly between upper cabinets.

This vent-a-hood features a multi-color patina on copper and hand forged iron. The inside is all stainless (for easy cleaning), and it has a variable speed motor and lights built right in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Demi-Lune Table

Recently I've been doing lots of architectural ironwork, but I got my start in blacksmithing as a furniture maker. For the first two years of my career, I worked as an aprentice to a furnitre designer. We made lots of reproduction antique iron furniture and chandeliers. Shortly after I opened my own shop, I made this piece for myself. It's called a demi-lune table because of it's half moon shape. The legs are steel, the apron is hammered copper and the top is distressed silver leaf on wood. Personally, I love contemporary furniture. I sold this table many years ago, but I still own the "sister" coffee table, which lives in my house to this day. I've grown rather attached to it over the years.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Scrap Pile

Ah, the old scrap pile. To some people, this looks like a pile of junk, but to a blacksmith, this looks like a pile of treasure. Projects in the making. Opportunities. The atom bomb of creativity waiting to explode. Every blacksmith has a scrap pile, and we all dig through it, looking for that bit of steel that we know "must be in there somewhere." Sometimes I'm looking for a bit that I need to complete my vision. Other times I'm digging around for inspiration.

This picture is of my scrap pile back in Memphis. You see, I had a shop in Memphis for 12 years, and when I moved to California two years ago I had to leave it behind. I just couldn't rationalize moving a big, heavy pile of scrap metal half way across the country, but I miss having it. I'll build up a new mountain of treasure, but right now it's just a little mole hill.

Today, I actually had to go to the junk yard and BUY SCRAP METAL!?!? I just didn't have that bit of 3/8" plate steel that I needed to make a sample for a client. Did you know that scrap metal sells for $1.00 per pound? Crazy. I guess with the escalating price of steel, my little scrap pile really is a pile of treasure!