Personalised Farm Sign

We recently produced this farm sign for a customer in Perthshire. It was bought as a gift, and features the animals that the family keep on their farm. All of the family including grandchildren get involved in the running of the farm, so is great to have been able to personalise the laser cut design in this way.

It’s relatively straightforward to use this basic design layout and swap animals to suit your requirements so we do not charge for this service. In this case, the sheep didn’t fit in the main design so we have cut them out of the plate below. A fantastic personalised gift – our customers were delighted.

This sign has a bar above and below with a hand forged scroll, and is fixed in place due to the very windy location. We also offer this design as a swinging sign, hanging from only one bar at the top. The text is painted by hand in three layers, on both sides of the sign.

Swinging Farm Sign

Bespoke Dog Weathervane

One of the last projects I worked on before finishing for maternity last summer. This bespoke, gilded weathervane was designed based on photos of a customer’s dog, who had recently passed away. The Labradoodle was painted brown, and I gilded his paler highlights in 23.5 carat gold leaf, which as you can see stands out and sparkles beautifully when the sunlight catches it. As dog lovers we understood how important it was to get a piece like this exactly right, so were delighted to hear how happy the customer was with her weathervane. A great way to remember a beautiful dog!Bespoke dog weathervane

Dodo Weathervane

Dodo WeathervaneIt’s been over a year since our last blog post, so thought we had better get back onto it. We’ve been very busy both with completing design work and orders, and after having our twin daughters last summer the poor blog has been a little neglected. We’ve enjoyed creating loads of new weathervane designs and plenty of bespoke swinging signs, so I thought I’d start uploading a few of them here. Check out our Dodo weathervane – one of the more unusual designs that I do not expect will become a best seller, but I really like it nevertheless. It was designed for a science author and Illustrator who has written books about birds and evolution, so a really interesting project. She had done a rough sketch and knew exactly what she wanted, so I basically just needed to come up with a final design. I’ll upload it to the website and see if we ever sell another!

I enjoy these unusual commissions as it always involves learing a little about a completely random subject that I otherwise wouldn’t have looked into. While the exact appearance of the Dodo can be debated due to considerable variation in 17th century illustrations of the bird, I did not know, for example that Dodos were over a metre tall, and could weigh up to 17.5 kilos, so quite formidable really! A nice one to add to our bird weathervanes collection.

Battle of Britain Weathervane

Battle of Britain Weathervane ImageWe’re really proud of this Battle of Britain weathervane, as it took ages to get the design just right! The concept behind the design was brought to us by the customer; that being a Lancaster Bomber in flight, flanked by a Hurricane and a Spitfire, flying over rooftops. I thought it would be a nice idea to show the landscape changing from a city scape to the countryside, so factories and houses merging into trees, an Oast house and a windmill. We spent a while playing about with the design in order to get the angle of the three planes correct so they look as though they are flying in unison and not about to crash – harder than you might imagine! We took care to make sure the differences between the spitfire and Hurricane were distinctive and clear in silhouette form too. It was also important to ensure all of the planes had enough contact with other areas of the design in order to support them – we have ended up using a 4mm support rod to give the design extra strength, which when painted grey as it is will be barely noticeable against the sky.

It seems very appropriate to have designed this weathervane as we approach the 80 year anniversary of this Battle, seen by many as Germany’s first defeat in the war, and a crucial turning point for the allies. Very pleased with how it has turned out, and so was our customer.

Personalised gift for Gardener

gardener weathervane photoA great photo of our Gardeners weathervane. We’ve produced loads of variations on this design, for example using different breeds of dog or even including a cat, and altering the style of clothing the couple are wearing, plus we also have a version showing just a man or just a woman gardening for those who’s other halves are not a fan of this outdoor pastime! We’re happy to make these little alterations at no extra cost, so it’s a perfect way to produce a personalised gift for any keen gardener. This weathervane is shown with professionally gilded letter bars, which sparkle beautifully as soon as the sun hits them, so a really special touch that will make the weathervane even more eyecatching for years to come. Our gardener weathervane can be purchased by following the link below to our website:

Gardeners Weathervane

Do contact us on 0161 681 4293 or fill out our contact form if you’d like to discuss a variation on this design.

Bespoke Horse Weathervane

horses weathervane photoWe produced this weathervane based on a customer’s two Welsh Cobs a couple of years ago. I love this design, it’s great how the markings can be cut out to distinguish the pair from each other. In terms of the functionality of the weathervane there is a little bit of science there; the horse with the cut outs needs to be the one at the centre of the weathervane, and not the one at the back. This is because in order to work, there needs to be a considerably greater amount of surface area at the back in order to turn the sail into the wind; having the two horses the other way around just wouldn’t function very well.

At the end of last year we had an enquiry from a customer asking if we could produce a very similar design but based on a photo of her horses. Of course this is exactly what we like to do, so took on the challenge and she sent some good quality images over. I was a little concerned by the amount of white on the horse, as this would mean having a huge amount of steel cut out, possibly causing the design to be quite delicate. I got around this by drawing quite a thick outline, and as this horse would be in the centre of the weathervane, the force exerted on it by the wind should be minimal anyway so it should be fine. Below is the new design we created. You can check out our current range of Horse Weathervanes here, or contact us to commision a bespoke weathervane design at no additional cost. horse weathervane photo

 

Cat and Mouse Weathervanes

We’ve recently created two different Cat and Mouse weathervanes. The first one shows the Cat stalking the blissfully unaware mouse, while the second shows more of a chase in action. As with so many of our dog weathervanes, these Cat designs could be personalised to represent your pet; for example fur length, tail length or anything else distinctive about your feline friend. There is no extra charge for minor alterations like these, so get in contact to discuss your ideas!cat weathervane image cat weathervane imageI look forward to adding these to our portfolio online – currently our dog weathervanes massively exceed the number of Cat weathervanes so there is some work to be done here! A great gift for a Cat lover.

Bespoke Cottage Signs

Bespoke Metal Sign Photo Bespoke metal sign Bespoke Apple tree sign photoWe recently produced these bespoke signs for a group of holiday cottages set within an Orchard. Each cottage is named after a variety of apple they produce. The customer asked for a bespoke design based on an Apple tree, but did not really have a clear idea in mind as to how she would like it to look. The challenge I faced at the design stage is that I usually like to draw things quite realistically, but in this case that would have resulted in the silhouette of a tree, with no apples being really visible, therefore not clearly an Apple tree. Being a little wary of the design looking too cartoony, as I think it can look quite childish and didn’t feel that would suit the classic black iron work, I decided to go for a sort of styalised effect that shows off the shape of the Apples. So I drew the basic shape of an Apple tree, and placed several apples of varying sizes within that outline. I then joined them all together using the leaves and swirls typical of Black Fox designs. The customer was thrilled with the result, so we went ahead with the set of signs and also a weathervane with the same design.

As with all of our house signs, these are laser cut from steel, TIG welded, electroplated to prevent rust, and finished in a durable but tradtitional looking black powder coat. The text is painted by hand using cream outdoor paint.

Springer Spaniel Weathervane

Being very much dog people, we love being asked to create bespoke weathervanes designs that clearly show the distinct personalities of the different breeds, and this Springer Spaniel weathervane is a perfect example of that. A customer contacted us asking for a weathervane based on her Springer Spaniel flushing pheasants, and as my family have had Springers for years this is a scene I know well! Even though our dogs were not working dogs, I always remember the joy and excitement on their faces as they ran through undergrowth chasing birds out, so it shows how strong the instinct is even when the dogs are just pets. So, I had plenty of inspiration to work with just from within my own memory.

Helpfully, our customer had provided photos of her dog so I knew how long the tail needed to be, and how the coat should look- this saves a lot of time rather than having to go back later and make alterations. I decided to draw ferns partly because they are so beautiful and distinctive, but also because we often walk on the moorland near Oldham, and it’s full of grouse and pheasants so seemed the perfect setting for a Springer Spaniel weathervane design. I always find it quite difficult drawing dogs in action compared with a flat side profile, but so much more satisfying as it shows the personality and instincts of the breed and the design comes to life. We’re very happy with the finished result, and proud to add it to our portfolio!spaniel weathervane image

Bespoke Horse weathervane

horses weathervane photoWe created this bespoke weathervane to match the markings of a customer’s horse, using cut outs to show the areas of white. It’s a great way to personalise a weathervane design, and is not difficult to do if a clear photo is provided. We’re currently working on a version of this design where one of the horses has a lot more white on his coat – this makes it a little more challenging in making sure the design is strong enough with there being so much cut out. Our current range of horse weathervanes can be found here, and we are always up for the challenge of bringing a bespoke design idea to life!