Category Archives: Art

Catching up with our Student Sculptor 2017 winner

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

In May last year, metals4U launched our first student sculptor competition in association with Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The first prize was a place on ‘Brian Fell’s Midsummer Metal Workshop’ worth £270. The course ran over two days and was packed with demonstrations, advice and extensive access to metal and specialist equipment.

To enter, students had to be over 18 years of age and simply submit a picture of either their current or best sculpture or their design drawings to be judged by metal sculptor Brian Fell.

Jessica Smith, a student from York St John University, heard about the metals4U Student Sculpture competition from her tutors at university and decided to apply. Her submission was a piece titled, “Sticks and Tape.”

Sculpture made from sticks and tape by student Jessica Smith

‘Sticks and Tape’

The entries into the inaugural competition were all very strong and showcased a tremendous amount of emerging talent from students across the North of England. Brian Fell felt that Jessica’s entry really stood out by saying, “Jessica had the strongest application and we felt she would benefit the most from the course.” Jessica says she was thrilled to win the competition, especially as she had never entered a competition like this before, nor had she ever set foot inside a metalwork shop.

metals4U Student Sculptor competition winner Jessica Smith with Brian Fell at his Midsummer Metals workshop

Jessica attended the course in June 2017 under the expert tutelage of Brian Fell, George Fell and Owen Cunningham. Jessica found the course invaluable to her learning new skills, techniques and discovering the possibilities for creative exploration using metal.

The course began by introducing the students to all the equipment and a tutorial on how to use the tools with the materials available. The workshop attendees were then left to explore and experiment under expert guidance and with practical help always on hand. Jessica particularly enjoyed using the plasma cutter and learning how to weld. This is highly evident in the pieces she is now producing.

Jessica was brought up in Huddersfield; a large market town between Leeds and Manchester in West Yorkshire. Jessica’s grandmother, Kate Powell, is an accomplished artist and provided Jessica with her earliest introduction to technique and, perhaps more importantly, the appreciation of art in all its forms. On leaving King James’ School in Huddersfield where she studied textiles at GCSE, she enrolled on an apprenticeship in floristry. After a short while her growing interest in the formal study of art led her to enrol on an Extended Diploma course at Leeds College of Art. On successful completion of her course in Leeds in 2014, she relocated to start a fine art degree course at Bath School of Art. After a year, Jessica decided to return to the north and transferred to study Fine Art at York St John University. York has been a perfect fit for her as she has fallen in love with the city and the location works well for her to create and promote her art.

Jessica’s early work was focused on landscapes that were created on canvas or board by using mixed media such as rust particles, assorted fibres and, as she confesses, “Anything I could find really, just recycling anything I could get my hands on.” Jessica states the inspiration for her work comes from her love of the Yorkshire Dales.

Her work in sculpture also began by using anything she found lying around; sticks, canes, old broken paint brushes and truly random finds can all be recognised in her early work. Jessica is intrigued by balance and creates structures to see just how far she can push the boundaries to find the critical point just before collapse.

This piece, based on her submitted competition entry, was constructed on the Midsummer Metal Workshop using mild steel, however, Jessica is eager to try out weathering steel (Corten) to see just how the oxidation would change the look of her work over time.

Metal sculpture created by Student Sculptor winner Jessica Smith at Brian Fell's Midsummer Metals workshop

The work she produces now show her inspiration and motivation to demonstrate the transparency of the construction process as an integral component of the final piece.

These pieces have been made since attending the course and show how her metal working skills have flourished and developed to create stunning effects on sheet steel.

 

 

Jessica loves how she can use metal to depict the patchwork effects of the dry-stone walls and fields of the rural northern landscape.

Metal manipulated by Jessica Smith

Since attending the metal sculpture course, Jessica has had her work accepted to appear in several exhibitions.

In July 2017 her work was showcased in a charity exhibition in her home town of Huddersfield to help raise money for the homeless charity, “Huddersfield Change project.” In January of this year her work was shown alongside her fellow third year students in the “Arts and Draught” exhibition at ‘Brew York’ on Walmgate in the heart of the city.

Jessica is certainly gaining a lot of respect within the art local art world and has had several pieces of her work selected to be included in the “ Ones to watch” emerging artist exhibition at Sunny Bank Mills, Leeds, which is on until April 12th – it is well worth the visit to have a look at her work alongside that of another  thirty four  emerging artists. If you cannot make it to Leeds before mid-April, the degree show at York St John University that exhibits this year’s graduating students’ work, will be held in York from June 8th. Do pop along if you get the chance.

Within the next year or so, Jessica hopes to do a master’s degree to extend her skills and knowledge, until then, she intends to keep herself active with her sculptures by applying for the ‘emerging artist’ place on the Scottish Sculpture Workshop’s summer residency. If successful, she will get an opportunity to immerse herself for a whole month in developing her sculpture techniques. We wish her all the very best of luck with her future endeavours and metals4U are thrilled to have been involved in introducing Jessica to the world of creating art from metal.

To see more of Jessica’s work, check out her new website and Instagram portfolios.

Want to see a master at work?

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

Imagine you received a mystery delivery of steel and copper, and had 24 hours in a blacksmith’s workshop to create something cool. What would you do?

That’s the challenge we set YouTuber, blacksmith and all-round entertainer, Alec Steele. Though Alec being Alec, he said he didn’t need 24 hours to create something awesome as he could do it in just 12!

It turns out he was right.

Check out the video below to see what he made.


If Alec has inspired you to get into blacksmithing, or put your existing skills to use creating a sculpture of your own, metals4U has got you covered.

Visit our blacksmith page for all the tools and supplies you could ever need for your project.

Also, be sure to follow Alec on YouTube to see more amazing creations.

Blacksmithing is back with a bang

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

The word ‘Blacksmith’ whisks you straight back to medieval times. It conjures up images of cobbles, blackened hands, open fires and the odd horseshoe. But this beautiful craft is far from lost in time.

Blacksmithing is making a huge comeback and we’re joining forces with one of those on the front line.
Youtuber Alec Steel with question mark

Enter Alec Steele. This energetic entertainer is reviving the craft one YouTube vlog at a time. His channel gives you all the tips and tricks you need to get started with this rewarding hobby – and plenty of laughs to boot.

Expect videos filled with the clashing of steel on steel and sparks from yellow-hot metal, ending with weird and wonderful treasures straight from the flames.

Covering everything from forging huge machetes to dissecting ancient meteorites, his daily vlogs will have you itching to try blacksmithing for yourself. You only have to take a look at the comments section to see the passion he’s ignited in millions of viewers. And here at Metals4U, we’re no exception.

Obsessed with all things metal, we were eager to put Alec through his paces. We invited him to take on a tough 24-hour challenge using only Metals4U materials.

Never one to turn down a chance to get creative, Alec will be tackling the Metals4U challenge on his YouTube channel in the next few weeks. Make sure you follow us on social to see him in action.

Want to give blacksmithing a go? Keep your eyes on our blog for more about Alec and how to get started.

Inspiring student sculptors

(Last modified: February 11th, 2019)

Earlier this month Jessica Smith from York St. Johns University was chosen as the worthy winner of our Student Sculptor competition. She took home an invaluable prize – a place on the YSP metal workshop with renowned Sculptor Brian Fell. You can take a look at how she moved her designs on to create a new and exciting piece here.

But it wasn’t an easy decision. Our competition brought a whole host of budding artists out of the woodwork. Here at Metals4U, we were so inspired by the level and quality of entries we had to share some of our favourites with you:

Sharon Thompson
Sharon_Thomson_003
‘My steel sculpture is called “The Lure of Attachment” and is a discarded Mermaids tail. It is a story of transformation, how the lure of attachment, which is represented within the welded metal joins, can entrap us and halt our development.’

 

Hannah Duckworth
Hannah_Duckworth_001
‘My art looks at that most primordial of questions… working with the concepts of religion, redemption, preservation and alchemy I tackle this question. In my most recent work by casting lead into The Bible, a highly symbolic and holy book, I represent two opposing ideas, preservation and destruction of religion.’

 

Sam Copsey
Sam_Copsey_003
‘I am building a large scale insect-like sculpture from found objects and scrap metal, built upon a functioning off road go kart. The twist being that the initial static appearing sculpture comes to life when approached by the viewer.’

 

Deborah Sisk
Deborah_sisk_001
‘I made the sculpture for a nature reserve in the north east of England from nails and wood. Using various types of nails for the feathers I wanted to depict the harsh nature of the metal juxtaposed with the softness of the feathers.’

 

Connor Frederick Lowe
Connor_Fredrick_003
‘I predominately focus on processes of compression, in which I force durable industrial materials such as steel and concrete to behave unpredictably. The stresses between these materials when compressed force them to change in appearance making them look deformed, reflecting my inner personal frustrations with aspects of my life that appear un-controllable.’

 

Megan Louise Ekberg
Megan_Louise_Ekberg_002
‘The genesis of my structure is derived from my interest in architectural art. All buildings as I see them take linear proportions which I first noticed in old classical buildings.’

To see every entry we received head over to our Facebook page.

Our top 10 metal sculptures in the world

(Last modified: May 7th, 2019)

Some of our top metal sculptures in the world

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

The Kelpies

The Kelpies,metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘The Kelpies’  Scott,  2013

One for the horse lovers. Standing an impressive 30 metres high, these horses were created in 2013 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. Kelpie is a Scottish name given to water spirits that are claimed to live in the lochs and other bodies of water in Scotland, legend has it that these spirits can transform from (usually) horses into humans. This equine theme also  links in to the Clydesdale horses that traditionally supported the industry of the area.

Non-Violence (The Knotted Gun)

The Knotted Gun, metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘Non-Violence’  Reuterswärd, 1985

Created by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, ‘Non-Violence’ (commonly known as ‘The Knotted Gun’) was created as a tribute to the late John Lennon in 1985 and  later donated to the United Nations in 1988 as a symbol of peace. The original bronze sculpture is installed outside the United nations headquarters in New York. There are at least 30 copies placed around the world as significant reminders for peace.

All Hands

All Hands metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘All Hands’  Fell, 2001. (c) Brian Fell.

Brian Fell’s ‘All Hands’ sculpture is located above the culverted canal in Cardiff, South Wales, that once would have been used to supply the nearby docks with coal. This magnificent piece was installed in 2001; it is constructed from welded steel and stands over 2 metres tall. The structure depicts and celebrates the local history of the canal workers pulling the heavily-laden boats along using dense coir ropes.

Atlanta Falcon.

Atlanta Falcon metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘Atlanta Falcon’  Szőke, 2017

This imposing sculpture stands in pride of place outside the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; home of the ‘Atlanta Falcons’ American football team. The fierce bird of prey was created by Hungarian sculptor, Gábor Miklós Szőke in 2017.The falcon is constructed from thousands of stainless-steel laser-cut sections and a large cast bronze football. The sculpture is the largest freestanding bird sculpture in the world measuring almost 21 metres wide, 12.5 metres high and weighing in at an impressive 32 tons.

S-Printing Horse

s-printing horse metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘S-Printing Horse’  Goertz, 2000

The world’s largest equine sculpture is located outside the Print Media Academy in Heidelberg, Germany. The structure stands at 13 metres high, 15 metres long, 4 metres wide, and weighs 90 tons. The sculpture was designed by Jürgen Goertz in 2000 and is constructed from stainless steel and aluminium. This 3 legged horse is said to symbolise the three phases of the printing process; the eyes symbolise the ‘prepress’ phase of scanning the setting copies, the barrel shape on the body represents the ‘cycle of the printing press’, (the face set within the barrel shape is said to serve as a reference for the warden that watches over the printing process) and the tail is represented as a book to signify the ‘processing of the print’ .

Floralis Generica

Floralis Generica metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘Floralis Generica’, Catalano, 2002.

Floralis Generica stands at 23 metres high and weighs in at an impressive 18 tons. This beautiful flower sculpture is the work of Argentinian architect, Eduardo Catalano. The sculpture was made in 2002 and is situated in the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, Buenos Aires. The flower is constructed from stainless steel over an aluminium skeleton set into reinforced concrete. The sculpture in sited in a pool to both emphasise and reflect the drama of the piece, and to prevent access to the mechanism that opens the petals in the morning and then closes them again in the evening or in the case of high winds.

Cloud Gate (The Bean)

Cloud gate metals4U top 10 sculptures

Cloud Gate’ Kapoor. 2006

Cloud Gate was created between 2004 and 2006 by Sir Anish Kapoor. Officially named Cloud Gate, it is not hard to see how it has become widely referred to as ‘The Bean’. It is constructed from 168 stainless steel plates; so skilfully worked that no exterior seams can be seen.  Located in Chicago in Illinois, visitors can walk around the huge 33 x 66 x 42 ft structure and under the 12 ft central arch to marvel at the deformation of reflections from its differing convex and concave structured sections.

Maman

Maman metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘Maman’  Bourgeois. 1999

If you have a phobia of spiders this isn’t the one for you. Created by Louise Bourgeois from stainless 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. The sculpture at the Tate Modern was created in 1999 for Bourgeois’ inaugural commission of the Unilever Series (2000), a further 6 bronze castings have been made since.

Eros Bendato (The Head)

Eros Bendato metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘Eros Bendato’  Mitoraj, 2003.

Known locally as ‘The Head’, this imposing piece depicting the head of Eros is by Polish artist, Igor Mitoraj, and is located in the market square in Krakόw. Mitoraj gifted the bronze sculpture to the city in 2003 and it was initially intended to be situated the Galeria Krakόwska, however, the artist did not want his art placed outside a commercial building; after a haggle and a little controversy, the sculpture was finally sited outside the Town Hall Tower in the main market square where it provides a backdrop for many tourist photographs.

Angel of the North

angel of the north metals4U top 10 sculptures

‘Angel of the North’. Gormley. 1998.

Standing proud since 1998 in Low Eighton, Gateshead, on the outskirts of Newcastle, the Angel of the North is both imposing and iconic. Designed by sculptor Anthony Gormley, this 66ft tall angel has a wing span of 177ft and is constructed from Cor Ten weathering steel. The Angel of the North took four years to build and was inspired by three themes; to remember and honour 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.

If you are inspired by these amazing works of art, why not check out our full range of metals to get your next creative project underway!