Manchester Galvanizing (Formerly Pillar Wedge) has assisted a renowned blacksmith to help create a stunning sculpture for the centrepiece at one of the UK’s most prestigious flower shows.
Blacksmith James Wilkinson has teamed up with the plant to galvanize steel used to replicate a life-size gunnera plant used for the centrepiece of his stand at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Hampton Court Flower Show.
The impressive life-size sculpture was fabricated by James using a 3mm plate which he cut and sized accordingly. With the steel heated, the veins were chased into each leaf before being shaped by hand onto a wooden block. Each flower was made up from over 200 separate components which were each forged from a solid bar, welded together, and placed in Manchester Galvanizing’s specialist molten zinc bath.
James Wilkinson explained: “I live and work in a rural area in North Yorkshire and am constantly inspired by period buildings, prominent architecture, as well as nature and scenery. The decision to make a life-sized sculpture of the gunnera plant was first sparked when I was walking through a public garden and was struck by its sheer size and unique shape.
“I’ve been using Wedge Group Galvanizing for a number of years now and although I tend to use the Metaltreat site, the sculpture needed the largest possible galvanizing bath so it was transferred to its Manchester Galvanizing plant who did a fantastic job. Galvanizing the gunnera sculpture was really important as I had put so much time and effort into it and wanted to make sure it stood the test of time with a protective coating,” James concluded.
When the sculpture is fully assembled it measures three metres wide and weighs approximately 500kg. A mild acid solution was used by James on the galvanized steel to create a multi-tonal surface. Other sculptures created by James which were provided with hot-dip galvanizing treatment include a barley sheath bird bath, a shapely autumn-themed gate, and an ornamental violet ground beetle. These can all be viewed on James' website at www.jameswilkinsonblacksmith.co.uk.
Mark Waters, Commercial Manager at Manchester Galvanizing, explained: “James produces some true works of art and the gunnera sculpture is no exception. So much detail and thought went into it and the way he uses the mild acid with the galvanized surface to make it a unique colour is just brilliant. He creates anything from stairs and balustrades, through to benches, chairs, and lighting, and we very much look forward to galvanizing more of his unique pieces.”
By Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd