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Original Art Designs
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Garden Gates

Celtic Gate
Celtic Gate
Overall from Outside
Overall from Inside
Detail - extra panel
Detail - Lower Curves
Detail - Upper Spears
"Celts at the Gate - Spears and Shield"
Revised Images, January 2008
This item available! Interested?

In early summer of 2006, I had an the chance to place a couple of larger pieces at the wonderful Stÿll Gallery in upscale Elora, Ontario. I had known two of the co-owners, Elsa Mann and Paul Kane (of Night & Day Studio) for some time. Stÿll (pronounced 'style') is in a converted limestone mill right at the bridge in central Elora. A great location, and even better, 2006 marked the opening of a sculpture garden along the banks of the river. Ideal for some of my larger pieces, including two panels of my 'Paris Metro' Arbour.

See desciption below for more details on the original design inspiration from the Celtic Iron Age...

An upper deck required a gate, both for security and just plain looks. I reworked 'Celts at the Gate - Spears and Shield' for this purpose. (See the original description below.) First a matching narrow companion panel was created, so the combination would fit the larger space. The same kind of split end channel was used for the uprights, with similar sweeping curves and spirals as the body of the design. Second, the original hinges were moved to suit the new installation, with much heavier hinge plates used. Third, both pieces received a new more decorative paint finish. The original blue was both too stark and too bright. A spray coat of very dark blue was applied over this base colour, with a touch of green highlights on some of the curves. The end result looks almost black until you get right close to the gate - a far more subtle use of colour. The original bronze sheet with glass disk was removed, as in the end this  was a great concept that did not work as well in practice as I would have liked.

In this configuration, 'Spears and Shield' was featured in 'Ironwork Today, volume 2'

Total Width : 51" / 130 cm
Main Panel : 36" / 92 cm
Side Panel 15" / 32 cm
Asking Price : $2500
Available At

Stÿll Gallery

5 Mill Street East
(corner of Mill. & Metcalf)
P.O. Box 301
Elora, ON - N0B 1S0

(519) 846-9222   //

Lilly Radiance
Lilly Radiance Gate
Original Rough
Original Design Rough
Lilly Radiance Gate
Summer, 2005

Over the winter of 2005, I continued working with forged structural materials. A new shape I developed is what I call the 'feather' - created from heavily forged angle stock. A number of pieces were created using this form as the basis, most notably the 'Autumn Grass' Arbour. My original rough for a decorative deck railing is seen here. This specific piece is yet to be created.

The layout was instead  turned on its side and covered to a garden gate - 'Lilly Radiance Gate'. Instead of the more complex feather profile, the gate features a spray of tubes drawn out to my signature lilly shapes. I retained the idea of a long sweeping D shape as the main structural element. This heavy flat bar is drawn to long tapers flowing into reversal curves at top and bottom. It was then hot punched to spread the metal and allow the individual lilly tubes to pass through - again a technique distinctive to forging.
Instead of a tradition latch, this gate is to be held closed by a set of rare earth magnets mounted to the free end of the fence or post. The gate pivots on ball bearing mounts. The metal is finished with a dark green paint, the lilies highlighted with white and a touch of red.

Now installed at Wareham.

Buffet Gate
Buffet Gate Overview
Buffet Gate
Gate Detail
Buffet House Gate
Summer, 2003 (?)

This larger installation presented a design challenge. The gate served as a side entry off the driveway of this Georgian red brick located in the older section of Guelph Ontario. The client had a fairly long space (about five feet) between the garage and an existing deck - but at the same time a tight budget. They wanted to have a normal sized entry gate, but at the same time be able to open up the entire space for access to the rear yard for latter planned renovations.

The gate is in two unequal sections, the larger left hand segment being normally used, but with a shorter two foot section to the right that pins to the stonework. I designed a frame based on the use of angle iron, which provided visual weight without a lot of physical mass. The tops were folded, slit, opened and spread. The lower portions of each upright were split and curved. The horizontal supports were curved, with twisted segments of the uprights matching the contours.

In this case, the customer chose to do the installation themselves, as well as applying the paint. (These two resulted in a considerable saving in labour and thus cost).

Celtic Gate
"Celts at the Gate - Spears and Shield"
Spring 2000 (first version)

In contrast to 'Elephant Grass' (below), this gate is considerably heavier (about 100 lbs). It marks a considerable change in my understanding of Art Nouveau metalwork. Instead of just looking at the lines, I started looking at the actual construction of the individual elements. Structural steel components would have been new in the 1870's and 80's, and these form the backbone of many of the larger Art Nouveau metal complexes. The smiths of that time would then 'explode' the ends of bars, forging the individual segments into curves and tendrils.

The other point of inspiration to the design was the series of bronze shields discovered in England and Europe which date to the Celtic Iron Age. The overlay of curves and spirals that pattern the original artifacts, which were primarily intended for display, rather than combat. One of the best known examples is the 'Battersea Shield', which was found in the River Thames in Middlesex England. It is dated to some place between the second and first centuries BC.  (right)

In this piece the basic frame is formed of a series of uprights made of channel (U shaped) material suggestive of a line of spears. At the upper and lower ends the channel is cut apart to create three individual strips, then formed to the curves. the upper sections are further given a quarter turn to break up the long straight lines. The uprights are held together by a series of sweeping curves, the lines taken from embellishments on Celtic Iron Age parade shields. The thickness and width of the individual curved elements varies to create a depth to the piece. A last decorative element is a hand poured glass disk set in a brass sheet frame.

Battersea Shield

Grass Gate
'Elephant Grass'
(Spring 2000)

This piece uses a technique I picked up at a 'smith's conference. The individual 'grass heads' are formed of tapered, wedged then contoured bar. These were then welded to small tubing, allowing for visual 'weight' without real physical weight. Another feature of this piece is the use of simple decorative paint, this time applied with plain commercial spray cans.

Lily Gate
Lily Gate
'Lilly Gate'
(Summer 1999)

This was the first large garden gate I created, featuring the use of forged heavy tubing. The individual 'lily' shapes are created by cutting, spreading and tapering 2 1/2" tube, which was then welded to 3/4 tube to create each element. The main support is a single length of flat bar, hot punched to accept the tubes, then the ends tapered and folded. Although meant to serve as an entry gate, customer that purchased it mounted it as a stand alone sculptural piece. (I got my air hammer just after I finished this - it marks the last time I would have to make a 24" taper drawn out with arm power alone!)

Weavers Gate
'Weavers Gate'
1990 / 91

This piece, now in the collection of Vandy Simpson, is the first larger piece I did (in the early 1990's). It was originally supposed to provide a 'cat proof' entrance to the otherwise open concept room that was the textile studio. (As if you can keep kittens out!) It has fairly light construction, as it was not intended as a structural element, which is mounted indoors.

Related Work

Patron Sought
Patron Sought

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