Welcome to the Wareham Forge, the work of Artisan Blacksmith Darrell Markewitz of Ontario Canada. Here traditional hand forged techniques are blended with original custom designs to create distinctive objects for garden or architecture. (What is called 'wrought iron work' by some.) A specialist in the Viking Age, creating reproductions for Museums and re-enactors. Offering training courses various aspects of Metalsmithing, plus instructional DVD's.
The Wareham Forge

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Shades of Ancient Seas
These pieces represent an ongoing series of designs, based on fossil fish and ancient sea creatures. Aggressively forged steel bars are pinched and folded to create spines and other bone like shapes. A long student of armour making, and interested in both fossils and insects since I was a child, my past work with hammered sheet was turned to forming bony plates, skulls and fins.

Many descriptions here mirrored on the related 'Windbile' series.
With all the Series pieces, earliest work is placed at the top.
Dragon Fish
Normal Standing View
Close up Detail
Close up of Copper Figures

'Dragon Fish' / Summer 2007

This is the first of the Windbiles in the 'Shades' series. The point of inspiration here was the pinched shoulder used along a thick flat bar, an method that always suggested a bony spine to me. Overall it is over a metre in length. The fish pivots easily on a ball bearing inside the tube support. This piece was intended specifically as an entry in the artists gallery display held at Summerfolk each August. I was extremely pleased that within two hours of being on public view, someone sought me out and asked to purchase the piece!

'Dol-fin' / Summer 2008

Greatly enthused by the reception of the first of the 'Shades' pieces, I worked up a number of related designs for the 2008 presentation season. This piece was similar in scale to 'Dragon Fish' - well over three feet long. Aggressively forged square tube made up the jointed spine. The skull plates are two pieces of copper, joined down the centre seam. Paired tail fins are set at right angles to the line of the body - suggested by the profile of a dolphin.

'Fins' / Summer 2008

I had forged this punched and pinched bar originally as a test piece for a possible stair railing element. The top knot was a complex set of reversal curves. I decided not to cover this element with a skull as seen in others of this series. I merely added the many bladed tail to balance the form's weight, so it would pivot on the ball bearing inside the tube. Again the surface has been purposefully left with no coatings in its natural forged state. It will take on a rust patina with exposure to the elements.

'Catch Me if you Can' / Summer 2008

This piece started with the two piece skull, suggested by the head of a chambered nautilus. As I forged up the heavy T bar to form the spine, I pulled one part of the material into a flat tail. As I worked the other section into the curved point, I was reminded of fly fishing lures. ( And visions of Rodger Zelazny's 'the Lamps of his Eyes, the Doors of his Mouth'.) Now stands in the yard of an old friend (and patron) in East Beaches in Toronto.

'Coelacanth' / Summer 2008

The inspiration for this piece started with a cut off from a fabrication job. The length cut from an industrial grate reminded me of a fish skeleton spine. The heavy 'skull' is a fitting from an antique farm wagon (circa 1900). Fitted together they made up the form of an ancient bony fish. The sculpture is finished with flat bars forged to resemble the massive fins suggestive of these 'living fossil' fish. Again the surface has been left untreated to develop a rust patina with age.
Originally the piece was intended (and displayed) as a wall mount. In fall of 2010, I changed this, drilling a hole in a large piece of natural limestone and here setting the piece into the edge of the pond here at Wareham.

'Shark' / Summer 2009

For 'Shark' I made a bit of a departure from the mounting methods used on the earlier pieces. Instead of a ground tube and ball bearing, this Windbile is designed to hang from a central point. This greatly increases the potential movement of the piece. The fins are cut and formed from polished stainless steel, creating bright surfaces that will reflect sunlight. The image was provided by the new owners, a couple from the Bruce Peninsula who have been collecting this series!

Who is Darrell Markewitz?



Unless otherwise indicated :
All text and photographs © Darrell Markewitz, the Wareham Forge.