The art of the ironmonger with Haslemere’s Oliver Russell - Surrey Creations
- Credit: Archant
From his forge in the peaceful surrounds of Haslemere, Oliver Russell spends his days shaping metal using traditional blacksmithing techniques – relishing the challenge of bringing the beauty of metalwork to existing architecture
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2015
While this may possibly be the first time you’ve read about the name, Oliver Russell, you could well have seen this ironmonger’s work: most notably, the gates at Farnham Maltings and the Crafts Study Centre at UCA Farnham.
“From an early age, I was fascinated to find out how things were made and constructed,” says Oliver. “This lead to an introduction into large-scale metalwork while studying at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. I was hooked.”
Since then, Oliver has created a business in the specialised field of architectural metalwork, working from his forge at Coombeswell Pottery near Haslemere.
“Elements of my work are derived from natural forms, often fluid shapes and structure, and I use traditional blacksmithing techniques to achieve strength and beauty,” he says.
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In 2006, Oliver was admitted as a member of the esteemed Worshipful Company of Ironmongers and was elected onto the Iron Committee in 2012. As well as his public work, he also relishes the challenge of client commissions.
“While most commissions pose various challenges throughout the process, I would have to say that some of the stair balustrades I have made over the past few years have tested levels of ingenuity,” he laughs.
At the moment, his forge is not open to the public, but there are plans to have an open day at some point in the future and also to demonstrate to small groups. Watch out for the sparks to fly...
• Surrey Creations is a series by local photographer, Philip Traill, exploring people in their work environment, capturing the characters and what they do in a single image. Contact Philip on firstname.lastname@example.org
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