Smoke, sparks and flames filled the November night air as Watford’s elected Mayor, Peter Taylor lit the 100th Anniversary Armistice Day fire beacon at the south end of Watford Museum’s front garden.
The Watford Armistice Day beacon lighting was one of over 1,000 lit throughout the UK at 7pm on Sunday 11th November to commemorate the end of the darkness of the First World War and a return to peace.
Petefire Artist Blacksmith was commissioned to forge Watford’s Armistice beacon by Watford Borough Council. Sarah Kerenza Priestly, curator of Watford Museum said, ‘Watford Museum is proud to support local artists and businesses.’
Peter helped on the evening by filling the Armistice Day beacon with wood, and a couple of strategically placed firelighters with a generous layer of wood shavings near the bottom, Petefire also loaned a decorative forged lighting stick, with paraffin-soaked Kevlar.
Watford’s fire station is just across the road on Watford’s Lower High Street and very kindly loaned a long ladder to assist with lighting the beacon – they commented that their job was to put fires out – not to help light them!
Peter Williamson said, ‘We are very proud to have been commissioned to design and make the fire beacon.’
The beacon will be stored along with it’s wooden pole for future commemorative events in Watford.
Two Peters – Peter Williamson with Watford’s Elected Mayor Peter Taylor
Recently I was asked to make an adze for a man who wanted to do lots of bowl carving
He’d looked on the internet and tried to find different adzes, he found options but the were waiting lists and complications, then he looked a little bit more locally and he stumbled across our website and decided that he would contact me to see whether or not I’d be able to make him an adze.
We’ve enjoyed being part of Herts Open Studios (we’re in the South West Herts area) for the first time. We’re hoping all our artist colleagues have a successful last weekend. We’ve had quite a few visitors and a good deal of interest in our blacksmith forged work. We are really grateful for the enthusiasm that’s been shown by the Hertfordshire artistic community for our blacksmith forged work. We’ve been reliably informed that Herts Open Studios hasn’t had a blacksmith in it’s ranks for quite a few years.
Abbots Langley artists
Our map shows the route for travelling between Abbots Langley artists – Henderson HUB on Abbots Langley’s High Street and Petefire Artist Blacksmith. This will be the last weekend of our exhibition, we’ll be open on Friday 28 – Sunday 30 Sept, 10.30am – 5.30pm.
Look forward to seeing you if you’re free to come along – the six artists at the Henderson HUB are also worth a visit, there’s also Elvira’s Foyer cafe if you fancy cake and coffee too.
Various blacksmith forged art along with art development drawings
We’re going to be part of Hertfordshire’s annual celebration of art – Herts Open Studios for the first time this year. We’ll be joining almost 70 other artists to showing our art during September.
For Petefire this means showing some of Peter’s decorative swords and axes, kitchen knives and hammers. We’ll also have sketches showing the development of many of Peter’s designs.
Bottle openers, cheese knives and heart pendants are some of the small forged items that will be offer for sale. People will also be happy to discuss commissions, if you’ve got ideas for large or small items.
Looking for a gift?
There will be blacksmith forged pendant, cheese knives, kitchen knives and bottle openers available to buy. Prices start from £10, we’ve got a credit card reader if you’ve not got cash.
Peter won’t just be showing his work, he’ll also be forging on Saturdays between 2-4pm. That’s Saturday 8th, 15th 22nd and 29th.
Flapjacks, cakes, coffee and tea aren’t guaranteed – but we’ll be baking regular batches of homebakes. We’ll be collecting donations for the Watford homeless charity New Hope.
Today I did a forging experience day with a lovely bloke called Paul.
He hadn’t actually decided on what he would be working on so I showed him the usual kind of cheese knife that we’d often make on a blacksmith forging experience day. I asked him how hands on he would like to be, his reply: ‘well I’d really like to get involved as much as possible’. So I said, ‘Why don’t we have a look at some of these other pieces of steel that we have here and we could actually work on something a bit larger than we normally do.’
He was very good and he achieved a lot, keeping up with turning the handle (which is the bellows and inducts air / oxygen regulating the heat of the forge). He was also active with the hammer and showed good dexterity. We actually managed to make a knife about 3 times the size of the smaller knives that we normally make – and in the same amount of time. It was very impressive, we often have a discussion about what we’re going to make on an experience day, this time we got straight into this so we didn’t actually work on any other bit of steel other that one for this project.
Lining up for a second experience day
It was very successful so now he’s been asking about what other type of projects we could do.
Projects around the house could include:
toilet roll holder
kitchen roll holder
I realise that not everyone will want to make a knife.
The knife making is very good as there’s a lot of different processing in it:
you’ve got the heat treatment
and the actual bringing everything together
I use recycled steel for the knives, it would be easy to forge other items too.
A very positive day – all in all and hopefully I’ll be seeing Paul again, where we’ll work on the next stage of blacksmith forging experience day. So here’s hoping and we’ll see that when it comes.