We 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.
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!