The Wareham Forge

Patron Sought
Original Custom Designs Available

Today, most so called 'wrought iron workers' are in fact using machine formed, cold twisted, mild steel bars which are mass produced over standard forms, then arc welded together. Typically these shops employ not blacksmiths, but welders and production fabricators. Most often the poor design, and frequent duplication, of the objects manufactured in them clearly reflects these problems.

Artisan - Blacksmith Darrell Markewitz of the Wareham Forge instead combines the skills of an ancient art with bold modern designs. Emphasis is placed on extensive use of hand forged techniques. Each custom design is just that - an original piece of art work, created for the individual customer, and never to be duplicated. With every object the overall visual impact and flow is the first consideration.

In creating custom designs for larger pieces, consideration is given to the potential budget available for the project. The normal process is to provide three or four different layouts, usually one slightly less, two at, and one slightly above the price target. Upon the selection of the final design, a contract is signed, deposit made, and the work scheduled.

The following are a series of rough designs for projects never undertaken. In some cases these were additional designs, pure art projects with no customer, or projects that, for one reason or another, never got beyond the consultation stage.

How does the design process work? How much does it cost? I have added a new section 'On Custom Designs' that details the process of creating an Original art metalwork.

All designs shown here are copyright Darrell Markewitz / the Wareham Forge.

Past Work
Design Rough to Finished Object

The three pieces shown here are presented to show how the original design roughs are converted into finished objects. A better descriptions of them can be found on the 'Gallery' series.

I intentionally keep my design layouts loose. This is primarily to allow for variations in the final shapes that are part of my own hand forging process. (Some more technical blacksmiths will manufacture to a 'production blueprint' method - I personally don't like to work that way.) I make it normal practice also not to publish my final detailed drawings. I consider myself a fairly good designer (at least within my chosen 'Rivendale' style). To be able to duplicate an object from my loose layouts - you would pretty much have to * be * me. All my original designs remain my sole copyrighted material.

A complete overview of a single project, from inception through production to eventual installation, can be found for the 'Railling in Riverdale' project description.

Candleabra Rough
Pervan Candleabra
The first set is a large candelabra created for the Pervan House in Perry Sound, Ont. The requirement was to 'fill' a loft space in a room that was 18 x 35 x 16 ft. high. The final candelabra was about 8 ft high with quartz-halogen pot lights in the centre. The 14 arms on two levels swept out an off centre oval about 10 x 15 ft. Not shown in the photograph are the custom glass shades commissioned to fit into the ends of the arms to hold the large candles.
undersae post
The second set from the interlocked concept designs for Reade & Maxwell House on Manitoulin Island. The hand rail component running into the basement was based on an 'undersea' concept, with stylized kelp fronds making the upright elements. Again you can see how the general outline of the forms were retained, but with actual forging, the exact detail of the shapes shifted.
Sign Hanger Rough
J & P Sign Hanger
The third set is a large sign hanger  created for J & P Adventures in Paisley, Ont. One of the features of the final piece was the use of 'air brushed' paint to further enhance the wave like shapes of the main frame. Because of the structural requirements, and building code restrictions, in this case you can see the original layout was more closely duplicated in metal.

The remainder of the designs shown below are 'unclaimed' at present...

Decorative Accessories
Distinctive Home Furnishings

Mail Box Hanger

Mail Box Hanger

This design resulted from a combination of influences. When we first moved to Grey County, we had an individual rural mail box. I had thought to make up an elaborate hanger to support a hammered copper mail box by way of a show piece. The box itself had a segmented door that worked like an articulated joint from a suit of armour. The strong but decorative hanger would be mounted to a standard wooden 4 x 4 post - and would arc out to keep the post far away from the snow plough! As it turned out, we had our separate boxes replaced by a group box - so the project was never completed.

Table Lamp
Table Lamp

This is one of several designs I worked up for forged table lamps, all with beaten copper of brass shades. This particular design would hold a small quartz-halogen pot light, and would be ideal as a lamp on an end table.

For examples of past work with Accessories go HERE

Window Grills
Fine Art that provides High Security

Window Grill
Window Grill

This is one of a number of window grill designs I have worked up - this particular one has not been made yet. In this particular case, the central area will be covered by a sheet of coloured glass. From the inside, sunlight would show through the shadows of the metal work - in the evenings only the ornamental glass would be seen from inside. Despite its beauty, the elements are solid steel bars - and would keep out a tank!

You can see a number of pieces I did make that sprung from this original concept.
Go to Window Grills

Shop Window One
Show Window Two Shop Window Three

Shop Window Grills

These three designs were part of a project to create a set of security grills for the plate glass door and two side windows in a jewellery store. The artist does a lot of work inspired by Celtic art, the flowing curves reflect this. These designs are in fact the 'alternates' - the finished panels based on the design that was chosen (not show here) were installed at 'Brenda Roy Designs' in Alliston, Ont.

For examples of past work with Window Grills go HERE

Hand Rails
More than just a way to keep you from the brink.

Tree Hand Rail
'Tree' Hand Rail

Part of the Pervan House project was to create a circular stair plus several runs of straight balustrade and angled stair run. (The finished pieces can be seen on the Gallery page). Of the four designs I worked up for the project, this one was my favourite (but not used!). In this case, I turned away from the standard approach of using a small section that is repeated over and over - here the whole length is one integrated design. The creation of distinctive hand rails involves very special problems in this age of restrictive building codes. In order for this particular design to 'pass' it would have to be backed up by a smoked glass panel.

For examples of past work with Railings go HERE

Car Gates
Embellish YOUR Estate

                          Gate One
Car Gate Four
                          Gate Two
Car Gate Three

These are a set of designs for a project that was cancelled (replacement of a failed well used up the funds.) They are entry gates for a long drive leading into a rural home, the drive was 'double car' wide. There were existing mounting pillars, but because of the lack of soil cover on the site, I had concern about them shifting with the weight of the gates. The solution was to base the design on a long thin triangle that swept up and over the pillar to help centre the weight. Since the property had no boundary fence, the gates served to keep out vehicles only, and so could have light airy lines.

Interested in any of these designs ...
or other custom work for your home or office?


The Wareham Forge

The Hamlet of Wareham, R.R. #2 Proton Station, Ontario

(519) 923-9219 // email

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Gallery of Past Work
Garden Accessories
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All text photography 1998, 2018, Darrell Markewitz - the Wareham Forge