David Hyde; Contemporary Artist Blacksmith

"... Verdigris; where engineering becomes art ..."

David Hyde contemporary artist blacksmith

I'll be using this blog to showcase ongoing work, developments around the forge, discuss my inspirations, and occasionally feature older work not shown on my site. I'll probably also talk a lot about tools, blacksmithing and metalworking in general. Well, probably a bit more than a lot about tools. Please click on the pictures to see more.

If Not Now, When?

May 08 2024
Purbeck Art Weeks Exhibition at Rollington Barn

Perhaps one of my all time favourite flowers are aquilegias which, for obvious reasons, are sometime called granny's bonnets. I love their elegance, their grace and uniqueness and I love the fact they are so unusual but so beautiful. I also like their colours and the fact they self seed so readily and can suddenly appear absolutely anywhere in a garden. I like to make my garden sculpture by starting with [...]

A Delight of Snowdrops

March 12 2024
Purbeck Art Weeks Exhibition at Rollington Barn

I've always loved snowdrops. I love their poise and graceful delicacy, and particularly love the way something so small and so beautiful can not only endure but thrive in the very worst that our winter can throw at it. I've previously made some very large snowdrop lights but have recently been busy making a collection of smaller sculptures to show at [...]

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival

May 27 2023
Purbeck Art Weeks Exhibition at Rollington Barn

A big draw for my recent move from Manchester to The Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, is the thriving and vibrant art scene to be found here. The annual Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) festival is a wonderful representation of so much of the diverse and eclectic art created in Purbeck, much of it inspired by the area's spectacular Jurassic coast and rich natural history. It really is a multifaceted festival with open studios, concerts, exhibitions, demonstrations and talks. Set in rolling fields in the centre of Purbeck, Rollington Barn is [...]

Getting All Botanical

Oct 8 2022
Blacksmith made snowdrop sculpture

Having recently moved half way across the country, from a northern city rather known for its rain, to the South Coast where the weather is SO much better, I've recently become quite passionate about gardening. A nice side effect of this enthusiasm is that I've been inspired to move in a different direction with [...]

All Change!

May 21 2021
Moving a 2 ton powerhammer on its way to my new workshop in Dorset

Well it's been a couple of years since my last post but I've got a pretty good excuse this time. Last time I mentioned that I needed a bigger workshop and now I've got one! 2000 sq. ft. of high eved, level floored, roller shuttered goodness in God's own county of Dorset [...]

Fit for a Princess!

April 5 2019
Making a naturalistic handrail for an elliptical staircase

Fit for a princess? Not me, the work! It's probably not apparent from these rather cluttered photos but this property is a stud farm belonging to a Saudi princess. Hopefully, in a few weeks it will be fully decorated and I will post some fresh pictures showing the balustrades in all their glory. They were built to fit a cantilevered elliptical staircase carved from solid marble and this involved a fair amount of [...]

How Big!

Dec 16 2018
Large tree sculpture on an old warehouse; Afflecks Palace in Manchester

One aspect (amongst many) that I find rather satisfying about making creative metalwork is the widely differing scale of work I am able produce. Occasionally, I like to return to my metalworking roots and create small and exquisitely detailed jewellery, whilst on another day I'll be sculpting monumental metalwork to fit on the side of an old warehouse! This page showcases [...]

It's All About Me!

Nov 8 2018
A photographic study of blacksmith's hand at work

I guess this could be considered rather an introspective post. I was recently approached by a photography student; Scott Ellison. One of his assignments was to create a study of a craftsman's hands and some of the results are shown here. I found the process quite revealing. Like most blacksmiths, I rarely focus on [...]

How Old!

July 15 2018
Bronze railings for a medieval manor house

This was a rather interesting commission for the railings beside the moat of a medieval manor house in Cheshire. The original part of the house was built around 1330, the first extension is Elizabethan and the second extension is twenty first century! Listed building can be challenging enough to work on but the grounds of this property are a scheduled ancient monument. Any type of groundwork is [...]

Only Skin Deep?

June 13 2018
Steel fire canopy for a medieval manor house

This is just the sort of project I like to get my teeth into, and we're not talking giant clams here. There's a lot more going on beneath the surface of this fire canopy for a medieval manor house than first meets the eye. The stainless steel outer skin has a lightly distressed texture for an aged look in keeping with [...]

Things Change

May 28 2018
Handmade Art Nouveau metal bed

If you look carefully you'll see that the final version of this bed is rather different than my initial design. I do like this organic approach to some of my work. I'll sketch the design, initially on paper, then full sized on the workbench or wooden boards. However, as I'm working the metal, I often see other [...]

It's all in the numbers

May 14 2018
stainless dragon head with amethyst eyes

It's often said that you lose money on your first curved stair balustade, break even on the second and make a small profit on the third. Their geometry can be complicated, very very complicated and calls for constant precision, accuracy and thought. Thankfully I've now made a few of these over the years but they [...]

Here be ... the Dragon Farm

April 29 2018
stainless dragon head with amethyst eyes

At times if feels as though my workshop can be a bit of a dragon farm. Previously I've made I've made my fire breathers with a closed mouth and their fire comes from a discrete nozzle near the nose. This works fine but [...]

... Is it a Bird?

April 7 2018
Copper bronze and cupronickel sculptures

Well this ones a bit of a change of direction! I've always been fascinated by the palette of colours that the various copper alloys, such as bronze or cupronickel, have to offer and have recently added lost wax or "cire perdue" casting to my repertoire. I've got to say I'm really rather happy with the [...]

... It's Been a While!

Aug 12 2017
Metal gate made as a plant sculpture

This was both an interesting piece of work and a bit of a challenge ... as are most curved stair railings! I started with a very detailed and accurate survey of the stairs and used this to build a basic replica of the stairs back at the [...]

I Do Enjoy My Work!

Oct 11 2015
Metal gate made as a plant sculpture

I recently installed these Art Nouveau inspired handrails outside a period property in the historic quarter of Edinburgh and although there was plenty of travel involved I have to say it was all in all a very enjoyable day [...]

Something Between a Plant and a Garden Gate

Sept 23 2015
Metal gate made as a plant sculpture

Although I do appreciate and regularly design and make simple understated gates, I also like to play around with what a gate actually is! These gates were designed for a garden lover in Richmond who wanted them to be almost sculptural and have as least obvious visible functionality as possible [...]

... and Miles to go Before I Sleep ...

Sept 1 2015
Art nouveau inspired curch door hinges

Here's a few photos of three pieces of very different ongoing work that are all connected by their flowing curves yet will end up in different parts of the country. The Art Nouveau inspired hinges will go to Market Drayton in Shropshire, I'll be installing the organic garden gates in Richmond in a few weeks time, then installing the handrails in Edinburgh soon after [...]

Where There is a Will There is a Way

Aug 11 2015
Lifting a heavy modern metal gate

To put it bluntly, one of the problems I sometimes have with metal gates is ... they are heavy! It's the nature of the beast unfortunately, a single 2m x 2m gate will typically weigh around a quarter or a ton and sometimes much [...]

Another Photographic Grumble!

July 25 2015
Sculptural tree inspired stair railings

These nearly finished stair railings are for a customer with very eclectic tastes ... as shown by the chandelier made from old ropes, rigging and pulleys! She also has a strong dislike for straight lines; hence the gently waving handrail that flows across the gallery and then sweeps down [...]

Some Decent Photographs Please

July 10 2015
A forged and textured band painted with graphite enhanced paint

Well it's a bit of a tease this one! One very frustrating aspect of my work is that I don't always get to take good photographs of it. My workshop usually makes a poor and very cluttered backdrop and I can't always take decent photographs after installation. There are many reasons for this and just some of these are [...]

A Few Simple Curves

June 27 2015
Art Nouveau inspired balustrade

I've always enjoyed making work with as few straight lines as possible and this Art Nouveau inspired balustrade is a good example of this since it has none! I know steel can hardly be described as a natural material since it's made by smelting iron ore on an industrial scale in blast furnaces that conjure up images of [...]

The difference is in the detail

June 18 2015
Very detailed Arts and Crafts inspired balustrade

My customer who commissioned these railings lives in a thatched cottage full of Arts and Crafts detailing and commissioned this balustrade to reflect this. As a craftsman it's always a pleasure to make work where the detail is the design. There again [...]

Contemporary and Traditional

June 2 2015
Traditional woodworking wedged joint in steel

This coffee table is a fair old slab of steel! It's going to live in a spacious barn conversion and my customers were looking for a design that would reflect its environment. I'm pretty sure this table will tick all the boxes when it's in place. Its legs reflect the [...]

Here be dragons ... yet again!

May 16, 2015
A fire breathing bronze and stainless steel dragon

I have to say I really REALLY enjoy making these dragon sculptures. This is biggest yet at just over 40kg and 70cm long. This one is made from stainless steel and a variety of different bronzes. Polishing these metals took over ten hours but the results are [...]

Boy's Toys

April 31, 2015
75kg Anyang powerhammer

Well it's been nearly six months from ordering my latest toy, sorry tool, to getting it up and running but it's been well worth the wait. This is a new Anyang powerhammer with a 75kg hammerhead. It will hit harder, faster and move a lot more hot metal a lot quicker than [...]

It's a gate Jim but not as we know it!

April 18, 2015
This gate has no conventional frame

I talked about frameless gates in my last post and here is another. I'm always attracted to unconventional gate designs, especially ones with no frame such as this gate. Its cantilevered central band provides its strength and structure; the rest of the gate is [...]

Butterfly meets Dragon

March 31, 2015
A fanatsy inspired gate with elements of dragon and butterfly

This was an enjoyable little commission. I regularly like to design gates using as few straight lines as possible and no conventional frame. There is strong fantasy feel to this gate and its curvilinear lines were inspired by both butterflies and [...]

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to ...

March 11, 2015
Moving 2 tons of steel with a BIG lever

Archimedes' statement "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the Earth" sprung to mind when moving this rather large lump. It's a blacksmiths platen table used for bending, straightening and leveling, and they are as rare as hen's teeth [...]

Happy Valentine's Day Cathy

February 14, 2015
A stainless steel rose made for a Valentines Day present

Well what else could a blacksmith make as a Valentine's Day present for his one true love and lifelong soul mate other than a rose! This stainless steel rose was made by heating and shaping it in the forge. Its petals were then selectively buffed to give a highly polished finish with an underlying [...]


February 9, 2015
Precision machining bronze door handles

This is the sort of work I like; a wide range of different metalworking techniques, a gorgeous material to work with and plenty of attention paid to the finish! These mirror polished forged bronze door handles are yet another commission I'm sending to the USA [...]

I Need a Bigger Hammer!

January 17, 2015
Forged steel Art Nouveau gate drawing

The design of this ongoing commission is a contemporary interpretation of metalwork from the Art Nouveau period and will be delivered to, and installed in, Lockerbie when completed. Powerful and carefully aimed blows from a pneumatic powerhammer are used to roughly shape the metal. This is then [...]

Here be Dragons III

December 22, 2014
A welded steel dragon

I make these sculptures by carefully welding bits of steel together and use a range of techniques to create the different textures seen in the dragon's skin. The welding arc generates an intense heat which melts and darkens the metal. I use a wire brush to selectively burnish this and [...]

Big Leaves

December 4, 2014
A contemporary Juliet balcony with character

This balustrade for a Juliet balcony was designed to meet building regulations re the "100mm gap rule", yet still have an element of creativity and individuality to it. My customers were attracted to the sculptural look that the forged leaves have, which also distracts from the regimented look of a row of [...]

Message in a Dragon

November 20, 2014
A polished stainless steel and bronze dragon

I enjoyed making my last dragon commission so much I thought I'd try my hand at more of a "shiny" silver dragon . I have to say I'm extremely happy with the result shown here! The body of this sculpture was made by [...]

Hello America!

October 29, 2014
Flowing and curving stair balustrade

This was a challenging commission that is nearing completion and will soon be shipped to Washington DC. My customer was attracted to the flowing, sweeping, curvilinear designs used in many of my previous commissions. However his staircase is curved and so my metalwork would need careful hand forming to accurately fit the woodwork. Because of this, I was flown out to Washington to fully evaluate this [...]

Here be Dragons

October 14, 2014
A welded steel dragon sculpture

Well I think I'm just beginning to get the hang of this blogging malarky ... the idea is to post something a bit more often than over once a year! This is an interesting commission. A customer in Texas was taken by a previously commissioned steel dragon sculpture and asked me to make a [...]

Loopy Metal

March 24, 2013
twisted loopy knotted metal stair spindles

Steel is a versatile material that I find endlessly fascinating. It comes into my workshop as a hard, strong and uncompromising material with little or no character. Get it hot and a bit of work with a hammer and anvil will transform it into something rather lively and [...]

A Little Bit Of Encouragement

March 12, 2013
fanatasy wrought iron bed

Another commission with curves, movement and flow ... except it isn't a commission, it's a bed headboard I made to try to get my partner's daughter to work for her GCSE's. She's agreed a revision timetable and if she sticks to it, I'll finish off the bed for her. It does seem to be working though, she got an A* for [...]

Stylised Plant Handrail

March 1, 2013
forged steel stylised plant handrail

Well here goes .... time to blog. These handrails are a recent commission I've just finished installing in Sheffield. I'm always drawn to sweeping flowing curves and shapes inspired by natural forms; as hopefully this handrail shows. It needs to be both strong and secure but my customers also wanted it to be [...]