I set up Abstract Arcs in July 2000 working from a small unit on Trannack Mill Industrial Estate near Helston in Cornwall.
My self employment followed a period of eighteen months or so working for HG Welds, two creative metalworkers in Hayle who had decided to close leaving some of their customers looking for a new supplier.
I'm grateful to Paul Northern who I assisted with a few jobs when he set up on his own working mainly in stainless steel.
He said he was happy for me to supply those that wished to stock similar work that I had made for HG Welds and even advised me on pricing and my initial business plan.
Prior to this I was employed in the Blacksmith's shop at South Crofty Mine, the last working tin mine in Cornwall before it's closure. It is there that I began making steel candleholders and the odd mirror frame. Some were ground, coloured and sprayed others painted but were all of a twisted organic style. When the mine closed I had seen some of HG Welds work in Truro and could see definite similarities in the fluidity of the forms but with their added feature of the use of copper.
Very much out of my comfort zone I took some pictures of the things I'd made down to see if they could do with any help.
Some time later I was offered a trial.
There are three main areas in which I now work;
Metal art/craft work made mainly from steel and recycled copper. This includes items such as candlesticks, clocks, mirrors, bowls and non-functional pieces.
Sculptural one off and commissioned items, functional or non-functional.
More traditional gates, railings, general fabrication etc which have been produced for private customers, builders, churches, surgeries, shops and other businesses.
A variety of equipment and processes are used in the production including mig welding, brazing, soldering, plasma cutting, oxy-acetylene burning and heat colouring, angle grinders, spray guns etc. The majority of the art/craft work is ground steel and recycled copper with welded/braised detail, coloured by heat and then lacquered.
I like the idea that everyday items that have come to the end of their ‘useful’ life can be transformed into a desirable form. If that form can also hide the furious activity needed in its creation then even better.