There's a great programme on the BBC iPlayer at the moment about the beautiful Settle to Carlisle railway which is presented by Michael Portillo. One of the people who is featured is Lucy Sandys-Clarke who is a blacksmith in Dent which is at the top of the Yorkshire Dales and just down the road from Sedbergh and the Howgill Fells. It's fantastic to see traditional crafts flourishing and helping to maintain the economies of such beautiful rural areas. The picture on the left is a window grille which she made based on a traditional design and more details of her work can be found on her website. This is what she says about her work:
"I took over the running of the village smithy in Dent in 2006 after serving an informal 5-year apprenticeship working for an established blacksmith. My work is varied, ranging from small and intricate one-off fittings to larger scale architectural installations and pieces of furniture. My special interest is in the employment of the traditional techniques of hot forgework, and whilst I acknowledge the contribution of modern labour-saving fabrication methods in bringing down the cost of the readily-available ironwork on the market, I do not believe in compromising the integrity of a piece with such economies when a more time-consuming technique is the ideal. However, if using old skills and tools is essential in the true recreation of original designs for restoration projects, my commitment to the traditions of my craft does not restrict me to following only traditional designs. There is no reason why these techniques cannot be applied to the most contempory of forms, and nothing to stop quite original ideas being realised by time-honoured means. Although often very decorative, almost everything I make serves a useful purpose of some sort, and the efficiency with which it does so is as important to me as is its aesthetic qualities. I am happy to collaborate with other involved parties - architects, designers, joiners, furnituremakers and stonemasons - to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved."