Showcase Staircase

Custom wrought iron stair railAt Noble Forge we are always open to collaborating with other artists and builders on projects. We shared with you the amazing Occidental gate project we worked on with Heather McLarty. Recently, we were asked to work with a construction company and glass artist to create a staircase for a beautiful home in Santa Monica, California.

The home is Spanish Colonial style, which features curves and arches, stucco exterior, balconies and painted accent tiles. Terra cotta was used for both the roof and entryway. Painted tiles accent both the exterior and interior of the house, creating a flow when transitioning from walkway to home entry.

Once in the home, the ornamental staircase sits prominently in the entryway. Our Artist Blacksmith, Phillip Bowling, was provided with glass bottle bottoms in various cool colors, which he then incorporated into the ornamental ironwork design of the staircase. The staircase is set against light blond wooden floors and rich cherry brunette wooden doors and molding. Each stair features painted tiles, some that match those used in the exterior design of the house, others are of various multi-colored designs.

All of these elements came together to create a one-of-a-kind showcase staircase, which is both playful and stunning at the same time. The staircase is in balance when considering the elements of Feng Shui. In Feng Shui, it is recommended that each room of a home include at least three of the five elements; wood, fire, earth, metal and water. In this instance, the staircase area is composed wooden doors and floors, an ornamental metal staircase, glass accent pieces, which represent water, and tiles which represent earth.

Noble Forge takes great pride in the work we do and we were thrilled to be a part of yet another exciting project. We hope the home’s owners enjoy every step they take!

 

 

 

An Everlasting Gift for your Beyond Special Someone

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Soon the harried holiday season is going to take hold. People will be out and about shopping for that perfect gift; many of which will be gifts that live in just this moment and are only for this time. At Noble Forge we wish to offer to you a different thought on gift giving, and this is take the time to slow down the fast paced shop-till-you-drop to create a beyond special gift for that beyond special someone.

We will work directly with you to take the design and feel you envision, and then translate it into a beautiful, sculptural, custom forged piece; one that will be a cherished for years, even generations, to come.

Imagine how honored they will feel when presented with your creation! Your gift could be functional, fun or inspirational, either way it will be instantly recognized for its uniqueness. All of the pieces we create – fireplace screens, tool sets, andirons, railings, chandeliers and gates – are hand-formed by skilled artisans in our studio located North Hollywood, California. Each piece is carefully crafted using time-honored and centuries-old techniques, an approach that is rarely used today –this attention to detail and authenticity is what makes our pieces so special.

A one-of-a-kind, gorgeous piece of art does not happen overnight. It may take up to six weeks to complete a project, so contact us today (818-765-5004) and let’s get started on a most amazing gift for this season – one that will last for every single season of a lifetime and then some.

At Noble Forge we’ve established a well-deserved reputation for exceptional hand-forged products, allow us to help you establish a well-deserved reputation as a gift giver of the highest form – one that creates beauty from the heart.

To learn more, be sure to visit our FAQ page.

An Interview with Artist Blacksmith Heather McLarty

 

Enter the Field of Play. approx. 15' 6" W x 15' H x 1'6" D. Steel, copper, glass (by Cathi Milligan), bronze, stone, bowling ball, pool ball. commissioned by Occidental College. Eagle Rock, CA.

Noble Forge had the amazing opportunity to work with a fellow Artist Blacksmith, Heather McLarty. Heather describes her work as transforming “industrial materials into soulful sculpture using fire, anvil and hammer; mind, body and heart.” She has an impressive portfolio of artwork, and we were thrilled when she engaged us to help construct a piece of public art – a gate for the athletic field at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, CA.

Heather creates her art in a teepee, which sits in her own backyard. For this project she forged each small piece at this location. She would then assemble the pieces on 4 x 8 sheets of plywood and bring them to Noble Forge where Phillip would forge all the pieces together, ensuring that the pieces were squared and straight. She shared, “It was so great to have someone help me on this big project, Phillip was able to do the hand forging and fabrication allowing me to gate2continue to be creative and focused.”

Another project, and one that is near and dear to her heart, is Adam’s Forge, for which she serves as the president. Adam’s Forge is a not for profit that is dedicated to “creating a thriving blacksmithing community through regular schedule of classes and events that inspires and supports aspiring artists, tradespeople and the community.” This volunteer-run organization was started in 2001 by the parents of Adam Leventhal, a blacksmith who lost his life to suicide. The museum and school are both housed in Adam’s blacksmith studio.

gate3Adam’s Forge fosters the blacksmith community by offering classes for those wishing to discover more about blacksmithing, as well as CBA (California Blacksmith Association) certification programs. They also offer project-oriented classes where students will create a candleholder, letter opener and more.

“The thing about the blacksmith community,” says Heather, “is that we all know it was a dying craft, therefore this community understands the importance of being generous in sharing techniques and helping each other to learn and grow.” The community champions collaboration more so than competition, as seen in the collaboration between Noble Forge’s Phillip Bowling and Heather McLarty whose partnership created the amazing gate at Occidental College.

Our Affiliations

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We understand the importance of belonging to professional organizations. Membership brings credence to a professional’s place in the industry and offers great value in broadening knowledge, building resumes, and enhancing networks. At Noble Forge, we are members of the following three associations, all of which speak to our focus – to feature, share and commission the work of our Artist-Blacksmith, Phillip Bowling.

CBA, California Blacksmith Association is a “nonprofit corporation dedicated to educating smiths and preserving the art and craft of blacksmithing.” This organization holds several events and classes throughout the year. Blacksmithing is an old art, but there are always new things to learn, new inspirations to find and new methods and trends to take in.

ABANA, Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America, is another amazing organization. They are “dedicated to perpetuating the noble art of blacksmithing.” The basic definition of a blacksmith is “one who shapes and forges with hammer and anvil.” This organization understands that the artist-blacksmith intertwines the function of blacksmithing with aesthetic in order to create art. ABANA offers educational programs, resources and opportunities to connect with fellow artists, architects, and interior designers.

NOMMA, the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association is a trade association. Their members “produce a full spectrum of ornamental and miscellaneous metalwork, ranging from railings to driveway gates, and from sculpture to light structural steel.” They too offer continuing education and are proud of their role in the founding of the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.

At Noble Forge, we offer design expertise in architectural iron, custom art pieces, lighting, fireplace accessories, metal furniture, patio furniture, custom gates, doors and chandeliers. If it can be made from metal, we can make it. Furthermore, if you wish for it to become a showcase item for your home, yard or office, let us share with you the eye of our artist, Phillip Bowling. We will work with you to create a vision that that will last for generations to come.

Video Blacksmith Meets Real Blacksmith; A Day with Felicia Day

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We love the day that Felicia Day came by to visit and learn about the art of blacksmithing. She has appeared in shows like Supernatural and Eureka, and co-starred in Joss Whedon’s award winning Internet musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Her web series, The Guild, has won numerous honors, most recently earning the PGA nomination for best web series in 2011. Her production company, Knights of Goods, produced a web series Dragon Age, which is a six-part webseries based on the BioWare video game series. In 2012 she launched a YouTube channel, Geek & Sundry, which attracted over a million fans. The company was sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2014.

We were excited to become the subject of her Flog, which she describes as a collection of things she wants to talk about and do. Unbeknownst to us, she loves blacksmithing, in the gaming world anyway; and she decided to share what blacksmiths do, as she puts it – “for realsies” – with her audience. Lucky for us, she learned about Noble Forge and came by to check us out.

Phillip, our real life Blacksmith, showed her the various equipment and tools necessary for the art of blacksmithing. Donned in safety gear, Felicia learned how to forge metal, using a one-inch square bar stock, which is not to be confused with an ingot – which are collected and smithed to create or improve items in one of Felicia’s favorite video games, Skyrim. The forge is very hot; Felicia was surprised to learn that it can get up to 2,000 – 2,500 degrees! Hence, the safety gear.

Felicia was an absolute delight! She enjoyed learning the basics of blacksmithing. She also learned some of the terms like chamfer, which is a symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner, and striker, a person that provides an extra set of hands, making it easier to adjust the piece being worked on and saving the blacksmith a lot of time – as well as, at times, a lot of frustration.

In the end, Felicia Day had successfully created her first ever blacksmithing project – a fireplace poker – and we were able to share what we do in this video! Thank you, Felicia, for spending time with Noble Forge!

Artist’s Statement

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The appeal of working with iron lies in the traditional role of blacksmiths in the community and the permanence of their work. Historically, blacksmiths contributed to the well-being of their neighbors by creating the tools that sustained the community. Their implements and art served – and gave pleasure to – many generations. In the same sense, my work allows me to share with a broader community of empathetic viewers, for which I am thankful. I hope that my art contributes to their well-being.

My growth as an artist requires looking along the timeline of my art. Through my travels, I have drawn from the sites of ancient metalworking, and the many European cities where the art form reached its zenith. My interaction with blacksmiths in this country and abroad shows me not only where the craft is today, but also where it will be tomorrow.

Nature is the greatest catalyst for my work, and as I live in a rural setting, the natural world is intertwined with my existence. I am drawn to explore my setting through hiking, gathering, and photographing in the hills and hollows near my home, and am constantly searching for new shapes and forms to integrate into my work.

I hope to convey the essence of how I live and create, and to allow the viewer to experience the bonding of nature and art. In all of my creations, functional and sculptural, my goal is to fashion work that brings with it a moment of reflection and tranquility. Perhaps living close to the source as I do helps, but I, the artist, am merely an interpreter. Ultimately, it is the art-form, the age-old craft of blacksmithing, that works the magic.

~ Phillip Bowling

A History on the Noble Brothers Foundry

Noble Forge Blacksmiths

Noble Brothers Foundry

Recently we received an inquiry as to whether or not we were somehow associated to the Noble Brothers Foundry, a large ironworks manufacturer based in Rome, Georgia, USA back in the 1850’s. Unfortunately, Noble Forge has no ties to the Noble Brothers Foundry but an investigation into the history seemed appropriate.

Cornwall Furnace by Noble Brothers Foundry

Ruins of Cornwall Furnace

The Noble Brothers Foundry helped shape history and produced parts associated with steam boat engines, furnaces, locomotives, and firearms (notably cannons) before, during and after the United States Civil War. The first Confederate cannon was made by Noble in Rome, from iron drawn from the hills of Cherokee County and smelted at Cornwall.

There is a story that says that James Noble was visiting a manufacturing exposition in Sydenham, England when he saw samples of some iron from the Round Mountains and decided he had to move there.  He and son James, natives of Cornwall, England, headed west and relocated to Rome, Georgia.  Apparently, the remains of the facility can still be seen today and more about how and what the Noble Brothers made can be found online or you can visit the historical sight of the old forge.  If your are a Civil War buff then this is a story worth looking into.

Leaves that Last

At Noble Forge we receive a lot of our inspiration on custom metal pieces from nature, particularly we like leaves.  Spending time outdoors, the beauty of trees, leaves and flowers can surround you, especially during the time of spring.  It is a creative challenge to reproduce the exquisiteness of the outdoors in metal.  That is why when you look at a lot of our work you will find natures elements abound.  It takes an artist of metal to capture the intricacies of leaves in a piece of iron.Structure of a Leaf

Simulating the complexities of the blade of a leaf including the midrib, sinus’, lobes, veins, margins and the petiole and reproducing them in metal takes an artist and time.  Especially when that piece is hand-made and not mass produced.  Each one of our leaves is unique just like in nature.  It takes time, effort and an artist that is highly skilled in the craft of blacksmithing to achieve the look and texture of a leaf in metal.  Noble Forge has produced dozens of different types of leaves during out almost 20 years of business.  Examples of some of the leaves we have recreated in metal include:  Maple, Gingko, Laurel, Oak, Hickory, Beech and Birch, as well as many others.

Custom Ironworks Metal Tree

Some examples of different leaves are shown below.  Do you have a favorite tree or leaf?  Have you ever considered having something designed in metal that captures the essence of a plant you enjoy and having it displayed in a functional piece of art or architectural detail in your home or work space?  We at Noble Forge know and appreciate nature and enjoy the challenge and inspiration creating unique pieces that embody nature it all its splendor.  Let us create a custom piece for you.

Custom Ironworks, design details, blacksmith, ironworks, metal works, metal art, iron art scrollonwood2 Leaf with Bronze Patina

Working with Metal

Hammered Metal, Phillip Bowling, Artist Blacksmith, Hammered MetalA blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron, or steel by forging the metal by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut the metal. Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculptures, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons.

While there are many people who work with metal such as farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers, the blacksmith has a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails or lengths of chain.

Phillip Bowling Artist Blacksmith

An artist blacksmith like Phillip Bowling owner of Noble Forge is known for architectural blacksmithing using combinations of wrought iron, steel, bronze, copper, nickel alloys and aluminum. While most metalworking is now mass-produced using molds in factories, Noble Forge continues the tradition of working freehand, using the same tools that blacksmiths have relied on for hundreds of years. If you were to ask Phillip how what he does is different than metals mass produced he would say “I’m working directly on the metal, I’m not melting it into a liquid and pouring it into a mold.”  In this way,  Phillip and the artist of Noble Forge create custom metal work for architects, designers and personal clients. He has made everything from custom railings, fireplace doors, privacy screens, gates and doors,  to hand-hammered curtain hardware.

dragon door knockerNoble Forge provides custom designed ornamental iron works through the fabrication of architectural and ornamental metals.  We work with the metal to achieve high quality craftsmanship, with an acute attention to detail and excellent customer service. Our customers understand the difference between having something made by an artist blacksmith versus buying something off the shelf.  It’s exactly the same as getting an item at your local convenience store instead of buying it hand made by a local artisan.  Organic vs. Inorganic.  Yes, it can cost more but tastes much better or lasts longer than you would ever have anticipated.  If it is quality you are looking for in your metal work, contact Noble Forge.

Coming soon…all about leaves.

Custom Lighting by Noble Forge

lighting, chandelier, custom ironworks, custom metalworksLooking for a custom chandelier or custom lighting?

Here are some tips when considering a custom chandelier:

Determine the Spatial Dimension of the Space:  Measure the Height, Length and Width of the room in which the chandelier will be placed.  If the chandelier will be placed above a table, counter, island or area that people do not walk around, measure the Height and Length of this area as well.

  • Calculate the Chandeliers Height:  If the space is over a dining room table, continue with your measurements.  If in an open area is less than or equal to 84 inches high…stop!  Consider alternate sources of lighting such as sconces, a wall lamp, desk lamp, table lamp or other type of lighting.
  • If the lighting is to hang in a foyer or entryway and there is a window present, the lighting design should take into account the visibility of the chandelier from the window.  A good design will enhance the space providing balance and symmetry to the area with maximum visibility.
  • Chandelier, lighting, Custom ironworks, custom metals works, metal accessories, metal furniture, metal furniture and accessories made in Los AngelesThe overall height of the chandelier includes the chandelier from the top to the bottom including all hardware used to hang the chandelier.
  • Design of the chandelier includes the focal point of the chandelier without the necessary hardware to hang the chandelier.  However, custom hardware can be included in the main design and compliment the overall aesthetics of the lighting.
  • Sizing a chandelier to be placed over a table or stationary area in a room with a height of 84 inches, it is best that the bottom point of the chandelier hang 30 inches above the stationary area.  For every 12 inches of additional height of the room above 84 inches, add 3 inches to the measurement between the tabletop and the bottom point of the chandelier.

If you want to do the math and are comfortable with basic algebra the formula looks like this:

Metal Furniture and Accessories, Lighting, Chandelier

Hr – Ht – (30” + x)  = OAHc

Hr = Height of the Room

Ht = Height of Table

X = 3” for every 12” of Hr above 84”, OAHc = Overall Height of the Chandelier

Now it’s time to Calculate Chandelier’s Width

  • If the space measured is not a dining room, add the Length and Width measurement in feet.  The Sum will be the measurement of the Width of the chandelier in inches.  If a room is 12 feet long by 20 feet wide, the chandelier ‘s width will be 32 inches wide.

Lr + Wr = Wc

Custom Iron Chandelier

Lr = Length of Room in feet

Wr = Width of Room in feet

Wc = Width of Chandelier, Interpreted as inches

When sizing a chandelier to hang over a table, island, countertop or stationery area, ½ the length of the area is perfect width of the chandelier.

Chandeliers are not always the best option.  In these situations, wall sconces or a floor lamp might better serve the purpose.  Regardless, custom lighting can be yours, created to meet your design needs and room requirements.  Noble Forge works with all types of metal:  Bronze, Brass, Iron and Steel.  Our artisan craftsmen work with design professionals and art collectors to create stunning custom lighting as well as other pieces.

We hope if you are shopping for custom lighting or just needed more information about chandeliers, you found this article helpful.