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Let sleeping dragons lie

The bread and butter of Joseph Ash Galvanizing’s work is centred around galvanizing steel used in transport, farming, construction and infrastructure. We do this for fabricators, fencing and agricultural manufacturers, and large structural steelwork companies. Every so often however we also receive a project from a steel sculptor. The works are unusual, intricate and detailed and we deem it an absolute pleasure to become a part of the sculptor’s artistic process.

The most recent pieces of art that came onto our yard at Joseph Ash Bridgend were two huge steel dragons, fabricated from Phoenix Forge Ltd, a bespoke metalwork and blacksmith’s business based in Carmarthen, South Wales.

Phoenix Forge generally specialises in traditional and contemporary metalwork, producing a wide range of hand forged artistic, decorative and functional ironwork including: gates, railings, balconies, public artwork, curtain poles, fireplace tools, restoration and bespoke commissions. They have also sculpted a number of dragons too!

Two such dragon installations were recently sent to Joseph Ash Bridgend: a dragon curled around a lamp post; and a sleeping dragon.

Will Holland from Phoenix Forge said:

“The dragon lamp post sculpture was vast with a wing span of approximately 6-7 feet and a nose to tail of about 9 feet, however the sleeping dragon was a lot larger, but curled up on a rock with a diameter of 6 feet.”

After spending over 300 man hours, over a period of six weeks, to make each dragon, Phoenix Forge asked Joseph Ash Bridgend to hot dip galvanize both sculptures. Galvanizing is an important finish for outside sculptures such as these as the treatment protects the steel from atmospheric conditions and rust.

It is important for blacksmiths such as Phoenix Forge to be able to trust suppliers, especially with one-off pieces of art. Holland said the following about Joseph Ash:

“We send all of our hot dip galvanizing work to Joseph Ash Galvanizing. We’ve been using them for a couple of years and they do an excellent job for us. They are incredibly helpful, reliable and take good care of our work – which is so important given the amount of man hours it takes us to fabricate a sculpture.”

The dragon climbing the lamp post sculpture was commissioned by a private collector in Shropshire who has bought several similar sculptures from Phoenix Forge over the last few years. The artwork has now been installed outside the client’s private residence.

In contrast the sleeping dragon  – which is made up of over 5000 individual steel scales – was fabricated as a show piece for Phoenix Forge’s display at the 2016 Royal Welsh Show at the National Botanic Gardens in Wales. The sculpture is currently on loan at the Gardens until a permanent home is found.

To see a video which shows how Phoenix Forge make dragons, watch YouTube here.

We’re looking forward to receiving more projects from Phoenix Forge in the future!

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