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Neil Brown

Hot Metal Works
Somehow, and I’m still not sure how, I found blacksmithing, specifically a three day beginners course. I fell in love with the creative process, and have never looked back.
I found a job working alongside a master blacksmith. Although I didn’t get many chances to work on the forge, I watched and listened and absorbed as much as I could. I learned many new skills, and started to appreciate the true skill of a blacksmith.

Another lucky break occurred a year or so later, and a company that had previously interviewed me asked if I was interested in a blacksmith role? It was a big step for me, I would be the only and therefore main blacksmith in this company. Despite my lack of experience on the forge, I took the position, and didn’t look back. Suddenly all those techniques I’d been absorbing were being used, and I was creating beautiful objects from cold hard steel.

The time came when I felt that I needed to ‘do my own thing’, so the Hot Metal Works was born.

I work in various metals including steel, stainless steel, brass and copper. I really like the natural colours these materials have during their various stages of decay, and this can be seen in my work as I tend to leave all the materials in their raw state, unless the application or client requires a different finish. The best example of this is my sign, all the metals used here are their natural colours, the majority of the letters are bright steel, the scrolls black steel, the cross frame is rusty steel, the backing is copper that has corroded to have a verdigris finish, and the brass ‘T’ has been in the forge so it has subtle shades of blue and brown in it.

Another example of this are the vessels I’ve made from rusty box section with brass wrapped around them. I lacquer the vessels which brings out amazing colours and patterns in the rust, and the polished brass gives it a fantastic contrast.
I pull ideas from everywhere, some of my pieces, like the bird bath, are very organic and flowing, others like the rust and brass vessel came from a custom paint design on a car.
I love my work, manipulating a seemingly unforgiving material, and turning it into objects of beauty and often function as well.

You can see my facebook page at

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After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 7 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.