Thursday, 29 November 2018

Public Art Sculpture for The New Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury

Yesterday I delivered my sculpture to the new extension of the Athelstan Museum - known as the Julia And Hans Rausing Building in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

This sculpture was commissioned by the Team organising the renovation of the former Moravian Church in Malmesbury

I was contacted in the summer of 2017 about the potential for a sculpture to celebrate the change of use and recognise the historic use of this lovely old landmark building in Malmesbury in North Wiltshire - my home town.

I was asked to identify a location for the sculpture and immediately wanted to use the space between the two beautiful arched stained glass windows to the roadside of the building - I also wanted people to look up at these windows as they passed the building so the height of the work was critical.

My sculptural work is known for being flowing and curvy; sensuous lines in steel that take the viewers encounter with my sculptures on a journey.  For this sculpture I decided to go in a different direction and take the form of the Moravian Star as the basis for my work - studying the geometric possibilities of making a steel sculpture that had the 26 points of a true Moravian star structure.  From this starting point I let my design develop and deconstructed the star shape while considering my blacksmithing techniques as the main means of making the work.

Plenty of people in Malmesbury are familiar with my Dad as he taught them metal work or technical drawing at Malmesbury School from the late 60's to 1990's  I thought it was a great chance for me to play homage to him and his historical forged weaponry influence on me.

The finished sculpture has a certain Medieval-weaponry feel to it while also taking the form of a Moravian Star based on a dodecahedron central structure - this element to the sculpture is what gives it a light delicate feel - and when you stand underneath it and look up through it you can see the complex structure inside.

Using different forged tapers sections in the star from flat bars hot-split or fire welded to angle iron forged to a taper the light plays on the surfaces at different angles and will change the dimensions of the work as the light changes.

The finish is a modern etched zinc grey with a dash of 24ct Gold to take your eye up and away in the sky.

The sculpture has been part of a big fundraising effort by the organisers of the renovation and restoration project of the old Moravian Church.  I would like to thank Angela and William Sykes for being confident in my ability to create a sculpture for the space and the Athelstan Museum Team for working with me on the commissioning process.

This project has been a big effort and for those who like to know how long a thing takes, I spent 71 hours on design, consultation and making a scale model and 151 hours were spent making the large scale sculpture, forging, cleaning, assembling, fabrication and finishing.  It weighs 53kgs.

I would also like to thank:
Morgan Scoble-Rees my current workshop assistant and forger of long tapers!
 ACNurden builders for their help installing the work
Wells Masonry for supplying a gorgeous piece of Bath stone


29th November 2018

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Making Rivets and other stories

I have been working on a complex handrail panel with rivet details.  The sections are forged then joined to each other with a steel rivet giving a secure traditional decorative join using the round head rivets as a feature.
I have been lucky enough to have some workshop time filmed by SocialMeansUK
Here's the short film of the tool I made and how I use it for tricky riveting jobs like this one!


Thursday, 20 September 2018

Autumn 2018 - Update

It has been a busy year so far!  I have made a large scale, split strand DNA sculpture for Winchester University Cosmic Walk.
DNA sculpture by Melissa Cole (photo credit; Mark Somerville)

I have also finished the last window panel in a Sir John Soanes designed house which depicts the history of the house and local landscape.

I am waiting to install another public art piece in Malmesbury - images to follow when the work is installed and have worked on a number of small commissions in-between.

My courses are fully booked for this year and I am also fully booked for commissions until May/June 2019

My Etsy gift shop is starting to gain interest - I am selling smaller gift items here such as linked hearts, hooks, feathers and huge nails!

My prototype garden linked hearts were recently auctioned for the Jemima Layzell Trust and raised £300 and a one day course raised £250 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

I have had a part time blacksmith working with  me this year and hope this will continue while he develops his skills and knowledge of our craft.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

'Makers' Tales at Guy Goodfellow Collection, London May 2018
Melissa Cole FWCB.
Artist Blacksmith.

Melissa Cole, bronze medal holder and Fellow of The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, is  exhibiting her hand forged sculptures throughout May in the Guy Goodfellow Collection showroom.

Melissa’s work ranges from commissioned gates and railings to sculpture and fine art installations, combining contemporary design with forged and fabricated metal for external public spaces, private gardens and interiors.

Melissa is internationally recognised for her craftsmanship and creates “Metal work that flows and wraps around itself, taking your eyes on a journey producing pieces that are solid in make up but light and free in their aesthetic quality” -
Melissa has been featured on C4’s Grand Designs, BBC’s Escape to the Country and Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

The Makers' Tales showcase runs from 1st May - 1st June 2018.
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Monday, 26 March 2018

Heritage Crafts Association AGM London 2018

I was unable to attend this important conference supporting Heritage Crafts but images of me at work are often used in their promotional flyers and posters and i am a keen supporter of this charity.
My family went along to hear all the news and here is a link to my fabulous textile designer sister Rebecca Cole-Coker's blog report about the conference: