Northamptonshire blacksmith to create sculpture for the Royal Armouries

Iron Forged Designs, Brackley. Left, Ben Landucci and right, Stuart Makin.
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Iron Forged Designs, Brackley. Left, Ben Landucci and right, Stuart Makin. 130422M-A474 ENGPNL00120130422124920

An artist and blacksmith has been commissioned by the Royal Armouries to create a new sculpture reflecting on an Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard.

Stuart Makin, who works at Brackley-based Iron Forged Designs, has been awarded a commission by the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds.

The commission is to create a sculptural response to the spectacular items which will be on display in the forthcoming exhibition Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold from the Staffordshire Hoard (running May 27 to October 2).

The commission has been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Makin’s proposed work, a large-scale metal sculpture of about 2.5 metres, will be inspired by the intricate detail of the small yet highly decorated Anglo-Saxon objects which will feature in the exhibition.

Stuart said: “I am incredibly excited to be working on this project with the Royal Armouries.

“Ever since the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered I have been intrigued by the phenomenal skill of the ancient craftsmen who made the pieces. This fascinating new exhibition at the Royal Armouries has given me the opportunity to combine two of my great passions, those of Anglo-Saxon history and creating beautiful things from metal.

“I am really looking forward to getting stuck into making a piece of work that will pay respect to the great skill of those craftsmen from long ago.”

Stuart uses hot forged metal, manipulated by hammer and anvil, drawing on techniques that have been developed over thousands of years. He tempers these traditional techniques with modern metalworking practices and machinery such as power hammers and welding machines to produce remarkable creative pieces.

The Staffordshire Hoard is considered an outstanding find. It was discovered in 2009 and is made up of about 4,000 fragments weighing more than 6kg.