Ali, our apprentice blacksmith, introduces us to his floating coffee-table, the culmination of three years of studies in Hereford at the National School of Blacksmithing:

“Since leaving the college full-time, I have been studying alongside work on Hereford’s part-time Design & Forgework Skills course (the DFS).  For the final project on the course, each student was tasked with creating a piece to their own design with the only criteria that it was “mainly forged”. 

As the course is part-time, spread over two years, the work was completed over a number of months in odd days and weeks here and there.  I started sketching and coming up with concepts for what I would make before Christmas, continued researching and fine-tuning ideas over the next few months, began forging the piece in Hereford in April and completed the project in Ulverston in July.  

I knew I wanted to base my piece around plants and botanical forms and quickly settled on the tea-plant as the starting point for the design.  Hours spent sketching and doodling eventually landed me with an idea I really loved; a table surface with a tea-plant growing off the top, onto the floor and, in turn, supporting the surface.

The tea-plant is forged mild-steel, all the leaves and stems are all traditionally fire-welded together. The plant bag is made from seven segments of sheet-steel.  The wood surface is oak, stained with tea, oiled and waxed.”

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Ali Burrows (L) and Chris Brammall with the finished coffee table designed, crafted and finished by apprentice Blacksmith Ali.