Our top 10 metal sculptures in the world

(Last modified: March 6th, 2017)

To celebrate our partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park and sculptor Brian Fell – and our passion for metal – we’ve taken a look at some of the best metal sculptures from around the globe. Here are our personal favourites.

The Kelpies

One for the horse lovers. Standing at an impressive 30 metres high, these horses were created by sculptor Andy Scott, and are found just outside Falkirk in Scotland. Weighing in at over 300 tonnes, each sculpture is made up of thousands of individually crafted pieces of stainless steel. A fitting tribute to the role that horses played in the industry of the area.

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The Knotted Gun

Created by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, ‘Non-Violence’ (commonly known as ‘The Knotted Gun’) was donated to the United Nations in 1988 as a symbol of peace. There are at least 16 other similar sculptures dotted around the world, but for its significance, this is our favourite.

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Angel of the North

Standing proud on the outskirts of Newcastle, the Angel of the North is both imposing and iconic. Designed by sculptor Anthony Gormley, this steel angel took four years to build and was inspired by three themes; to serve as a reminder to the coal miners who worked in the area; to mark the shift from an industrial age to an information age; and to act as a beacon of hope.

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Cloud Gate

Sculpture Anish Kapoor likes to think big. Cloud Gate – often referred to as ‘The Bean’ given its shape – weighs 100 tonnes and is made up of 168 steel plates welded together. And because it’s highly-polished, it gives off a fascinating distorted reflection of the surroundings.

Visitors to Millennium Park in Chicago can also enjoy a complete view of the artwork, both from outside and underneath, thanks to a 3.7 metre high arch at the front of the sculpture.

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Mercedez-Benz at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Every year, artist Gerry Judah is commissioned to create a car-themed sculpture to celebrate the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex, England. Our favourite piece from 2014 was sponsored by Mercedez-Benz and stood at 26 metres high and 90 metres long. This stunning 160 tonnes of flying cars and steel was a sight to behold.

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All Hands

This piece was created by our friend Brian Fell to commemorate and celebrate the manual workers who were employed at Cardiff docks. At two metres high, it now sits at the site where so many worked, and we like it for what it represents about the area and the people who built it.

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Maman

If you have a phobia of spiders this isn’t the one for you. Created by Louise Bourgeois from steel and marble, Maman can be seen in all its 30ft high, 33ft wide glory at the Tate Modern in London. Take a walk around it – and underneath it – to appreciate the sheer scale of what can be created with a lot of metal and a little imagination.

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Tommy

It’s hard not to be moved by this tribute to the fallen soldiers of WWI. Created from steel by local artist Ray Lonsdale, this piece appeared on Seaham seafront in County Durham to mark 100 years since the start of the Great War. The solider is reflecting on the horrors he and others like him experienced in battle.

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Planet

Found in the grand surrounding of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, Planet is a huge bronze and steel sculpture from artist Marc Quinn. Ten metres long and four metres high, and appearing to hover off the ground, the piece is a portrait of Quinn’s own seven-month old son.

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The Unknown Official

One of our absolute favourites, simply because of its quirkiness. This sculpture is found in Reykjavik, Iceland, and celebrates the anonymous job of the bureaucrat. It was created by local artist Magnús Tómasson in 1994.

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See the rest of our blog to find out about our sponsorship of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and our work with sculptor Brian Fell.

Robot Wars reboots for 2017

(Last modified: January 30th, 2017)

And defending champion Apollo is taking no prisoners!

Roboteers stand by, Robot Wars is back on our televisions this year for an explosive second season. Summer 2016 brought the series back with a bang on BBC 2, and we couldn’t get enough. From Razer to Matilda, the starting line-up of house robots brought a real sense of nostalgia to fans of the 90’s show. Along with a remarkably familiar arena we were on the edge of our seats every time we heard the word ‘activate’.

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After 53 adrenaline-pumping battles over six shows, it came down to Carbide vs. Apollo. Carbide had wreaked havoc in the arena, managing to take out a steel wall and halt play while engineers repaired it. And Apollo had sent the house robots into orbit with its ‘flipper’ on more than one occasion. It was definitely a battle too close to call even for their biggest fans!

After a tense final battle both robots resisted destruction, even with the roaring fire pit and house robots on the war path! It came down to a vote from the judges. It was a unanimous decision and Apollo was crowned the winner.

Team Apollo Win

Team MAD who built Apollo are now back for more robot blood in season two. The team of three who met at a Pontins holiday camp, are all from a non-engineering background and were thrilled to have ‘flipped’ their way to victory. Excited to come back and defend their title, they will be working hard to finesse their 107 kg creation.

With a name taken from a NASA spacecraft and a flipper that ‘launches’ 100kg robots into the air, it’s not surprising that a lot of metal is needed to keep Apollo looking shipshape. Huge fans of the show, we’re proud to sponsor the team and help Team MAD defend their title. We’ll be providing all the metal needed to bring Apollo back from the brink of destruction promised by the fierce battles ahead. Dave Young and his team mates can’t wait to have us on board:

“We are delighted to be working with Metals4U, the metal that they are supplying us will form the build of a new Apollo for the future. Apollo’s strength has always been strong armour and is one thing that helped us win Robot Wars. Metals4U will be helping us make sure that our future project is as strong as ever!”

Make sure you tune into BBC 2 to catch all the action this season!  Plus, keep up with the latest news from camp Apollo and Robot Wars on the Metals4U blog.

Inspiring future sculptors with Yorkshire Sculpture Park

(Last modified: December 1st, 2016)

Regular visitors to the blog will know that we sponsor Yorkshire Sculpture Park. By providing materials to the park and the various programmes they run, we’re supporting them in inspiring more people to think of metal and sculpture, differently.

To kick off the collaboration we partnered with leading metalwork artist, Brian Fell, to host a two-day workshop. Together with his colleague, Owen Cunningham, Brian shared his passion and experience with 15 enthusiastic participants over the course of a weekend.

The workshop group was made up of people with all levels of experience. Using metals in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses – all provided by Metals4U – everyone was encouraged to express themselves by creating pieces from this most versatile of materials.

Brian and Owen were on hand to demonstrate the tools and the techniques they use to ensure everyone learnt something valuable – as well as a few tricks of the trade!

The response from attendees was fantastic and we look forward to the next event.

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park sponsorship

(Last modified: September 23rd, 2016)

We’re always looking for ways to support initiatives that have a real impact on the community, that’s why we’re proud to announce our new partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park. They challenge, inspire and delight 400,000 visitors a year, including 48,000 learning visits. If you want to see metal used in an innovative way, this is the place to go. They’ve won heaps of awards for their beautiful exhibitions set in picturesque Yorkshire – and it’s easy to see why.

Photo courtesy of http://www.ysp.co.uk/

The first project we’ll be supporting will be leading metalwork artist Brian Fell’s workshops this autumn. He’ll be running a two day course at YSP with his colleague Owen Cunningham, presenting metal as a versatile and creative material.

The workshops are designed to meet all levels, attendees will see metals in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. With sheet steel and steel bars, round and square, there’s plenty of opportunities for participants to gain new skills and grow their creativity.

In his sculptures Brian uses cold forging, where the metal isn’t heated but cut and welded, then shaped with hammers or vices. It makes for beautifully intricate detailing and intriguing shapes. During the course, Brian will share his extensive knowledge on the history of sculpture and techniques in cold and furnace forging.  There’ll also be a demonstration of tools, machines and what they can achieve.

Metals4U’s Wetherby branch will be supplying all the metal for these workshops and look forward to seeing the creations that come out of it. To hear more about what’s on at YSP including this workshop, keep your eye on the website: http://www.ysp.co.uk/whats-on/this-season

Metallicar makes its debut

(Last modified: June 23rd, 2016)

With the brakes oiled, the metal polished and the fake beards on, Metallicar – our very first soapbox, was ready to rock and roll at the annual Wicksteed Park Soapbox Derby last Saturday.

Starting from 10.15am at the park in Kettering, Northamptonshire we lined up with the others for cart inspection. We saw everything from a cheese wedge car to those racing for local charities, and even met a Stormtrooper!

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Mettalicar

The Soapbox Derby runs over an inclined course with a left hand bend at the bottom. It starts at the speed hump outside the old Golf House, next to the campsite and runs down the hill towards the Hexagon Café.

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We were 12th in line to race out of 50 cars with Director Fred Rowlands in the driver’s seat. By 2.30pm we were ready and raring for our first run down. With the crowds cheering us on, we gave our cart a big push and watched it speed off down the hill. Fortunately we won’t be making it onto the ‘soapbox fails’ video with a smooth run from start to finish.

When the results came in at the end of a wonderful day, we finished in a very respectable 13.82 seconds – only two seconds off the fastest pace! This put us 20th out of 50 cars, great for our first race. Big congratulations to the winning team ‘Postbox Mario’.

We had a fantastic time at Wicksteed Park and would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved! We’re already really excited for our next big race at The Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby on the 25th. Make sure you check back in to see how we get on.

 

 

The Soapbox challenge is careering towards us and we can’t wait!

(Last modified: June 14th, 2016)

With only a few days to go we’re doing our last bit of fine tuning to get our very first ever entry, Metallicar ready for the Summer’16 Soapbox Challenges. We’re making our debut in two crazy races. The first one is this Saturday 18th June, at Wickstead Park and if we survive it, there’s one the following Saturday 25th at the lively Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby.

The team is hoping to take one of the coveted trophies home for a number of competitive titles ranging from Most Innovative Design, to Best Turned Out Crew and Fastest Single Run Of The Day.

Our car is expertly crafted from our own metals and handmade in the true Soapbox tradition. Powered by nothing but a big sturdy push at the start, gravity and a little prayer. Thank fully one of the rules is that we have a fully working brake to at least two wheels. We’ve designed our car with a minimal, robust yet sleek look, hopefully to protect our driver and gain as much momentum as we can. Though we’ve seen creativity at its best in flying beef burger carts, crazy horses and even Tutankhamun’s cask.

Take a look at our top secret video of the Metals4U team in action! We think we’re on track to do pretty well for our first attempt. In fact, after a few practise runs in Metallicar and we’re pitching our luck at stealing pole position!

Keep an eye out to see how we get on over the next few weeks…and wish us lots and lots of luck.

We’ve expanded our Wetherby store

(Last modified: April 15th, 2016)

Since our first physical store opened back in October we’ve had plenty of you come to visit. Our Wetherby branch offering has made it even more convenient for people to find the metal materials they’re looking for, and we love hearing all the positive feedback from both the trade and the public.

Making sure we have a vast range of materials in stock to suit any project, no matter the size and scale, is something we take seriously. To make life even easier for our customers to find what they need, we’ve expanded and grown the range of products available in store.

We’re happy to announce we’ve added big brands like Faithfull tools and Dewalt drill bits to our store. While also expanding on best-selling ranges: Weldability, GYS, Snickers and Dickies workwear.

You can still visit us six days a week in store at: Armitage Works, Sandbeck Industrial Estate, Sandbeck Way, Wetherby, LS22 7DN. Take a sneak peak below at the shop floor hosting our new product ranges, along with some of the custom built stands made especially for the store.

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We’re gearing up for our first Soapbox Derby

(Last modified: April 11th, 2016)

Ever since Charlie Chaplin graced cinema screens in ‘Kid Auto Races at Venice’ in 1914, the Soapbox Derby has been part of American culture. The first official race on record ran in 1934 in Dayton, Ohio. It was originally a competition where young boys built makeshift buggies from scratch to see which could cross the finish line in the fastest time. It played on a fascination with flashy cars and ultra-fast speed records, even if some were fuelled by gravity!

At its peak in the 1960s there were upward of 20,000 kids in 250 clubs across America taking part. It wasn’t long before the phenomenon took the world by storm. The Akron All American Soap Box Derby plays host to more than 550 youngsters each year from all over the US as well as Canada, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.

In the UK the Red Bull Soapbox Race takes the crown, with more than 100 races around the world since the very first was held in Brussels back in 2000. Homemade Soapboxes range from gorgeous classic car replicas to Red Bull cans, burritos and Pac-Man themed contraptions. As well as being wildly competitive it’s also hugely entertaining. Take a look at our video of the best Soapbox crashes over the years:

Here at Metals4U we’re all huge fans of the Soapbox Derby, and the way customers use our products to create the fantastic vehicles taking part. We’re getting creative and making our very own cart to be entered in the Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby on Saturday the 25th June. Keep your eyes on our blog to track our progress and be sure to come out and see us put the pedal to the metal on the day!

M4U soap box poster (A) M4U soap box poster (B)

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Stephen Bunting competition day

(Last modified: February 5th, 2016)

Our competition winners join Stephen for a tournament to remember.

It’s not every day you get to play darts against a former world champion, but for five lucky Stephen Bunting fans we made it happen! On the 28th February we welcomed Stephen and our lucky competition winners at the Wetherby Metals 4 U branch to throw some darts and have some fun!

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After a spot of lunch and a meet and greet with the man himself, Ryan Matthews, Adam Naylor and his son Tai, Gary Williams and his son Lewis, got to ask Stephen any burning questions they had before putting him through his paces with an exciting afternoon of darts.

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First up was Ryan Matthews, who started off slow but brought it back hitting an impressive 180! Next up it was Adam Naylor, it was a close call but the MC’s word was final with Stephen announced as the winner. Closely followed by Lewis Williams, definitely a champion in the making with a sneaky 180 straight in. Stephen was hanging his head in shame after a 2-0 defeat, well done Lewis!

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Next we had Tai Naylor who got us all biting our nails holding Stephen to the closest match yet. Finally Gary Williams wrapped up the competition, but unfortunately didn’t have the same luck as 9 year old Lewis and walked away with a loss after hitting 141 vs Stephen’s 180.

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With some group photos taken, Stephen signed some dart boards for our youngest winners and gave out some booby prizes too! Definietly an afternoon to remember, many thanks to all involved for making it so enjoyable!

To see more photos from the day take a look at our Facebook album here - http://on.fb.me/1T2lmtD

Look out for our next Metals 4 U competition on our Twitter and Facebook pages. 

Have you heard that bird is the word? Win a chance to play darts against Stephen Bunting!

(Last modified: January 12th, 2016)

The World Darts Championship is over and we couldn’t be prouder of Stephen ‘The Bullet’ Bunting. He played a great first round with a 3-0 win over German player Jyhan Artut. And although he was knocked out in the second round, his opponent- the very experienced Raymond Van Barneveld reportedly said “he hit so many 180’s, I think I’m the lucky one tonight!”

In fact, he hit 15 180’s and topped the leader board with the most amount of maximums. It was only some huge checkouts from Van Barneveld that outshined his fantastic performance. He’s come away positive after an amazing experience, ready for the year ahead.

We thought we would kick off the New Year in style, and launch a competition for some lucky Stephen Bunting fans to come down to Metals4U Wetherby and play darts against the man himself. It will all happen on Thursday 28th January at midday.

All you have to do is copy family guy Stephen’s lead and shoot a short video of you doing the ‘Surfin’ Bird’ dance. Tweet it to us @Metals4U or post it on our Facebook page and we will pick our five favourite entries to win – competition ends 12pm Thursday 21st January & winners announced Friday 22nd January.

Check out Peter… I mean Stephen’s video below:

T&C’s * All winners must be available on 28/01/2016 and be able to provide their own transport to Metals4U located in Wetherby *  Subject to conditions, the competitions winners are entitled to a plus 1 guest * All competition rules and regulations are at the discretion of Metals4U and are subject to change at any time *