How we came to be architectural metalwork experts, striving to be the best in our field
Founded in 2010, The Ironwork Studio is built on our experience of practical architectural metalwork. We apply this to our designs and reports as well as our work with industry guideline development and training.
Our enthusiasm for ironwork has enabled us to develop an extensive knowledge of materials, techniques and the history of ironwork which underpins all our work.
From first hammer blows to jewellery for buildings
“I developed my passion for metalwork, especially blacksmith made ironwork, during my degree study in 3D Design. I created contemporary pieces in wood, metal, ceramics and glass.
My first blacksmithing venture was a pair of pewter spoons with burnished mild steel handles. The work grew in scale until I was creating architectural ironwork. To me it’s ‘jewellery for buildings’
I naturally have a clear and logical approach, with an aptitude for detail. I enjoy fine-tuning my work as I’m a stickler for quality and craftsmanship.”
– Bethan Griffiths, co-founder
Becoming an Ironmaster
“Working with historic iron has been a lifelong passion. It started with a summer job in Bolton, Lancaster. I spent lunchtimes at Atlas Forge, the last manufacturer of puddled wrought iron.
Devoting my career to blacksmithing, I founded Topp & Co and pioneered wrought iron restoration practice. When Atlas Forge closed, I established The Real Wrought Iron Company. I’m the last worldwide supplier of wrought iron and have fulfilled my boyhood dream of becoming my own ironmaster.
Through collaboration with Bethan on heritage projects, the seed for The Ironwork Studio was sown.”
– Chris Topp, co-founder
Shaping fresh ideas
We’ve been working with iron for a combined experience of more than six decades. But we’ve never stop learning.
We regularly attend conferences, talks and exhibitions. Networking and sharing ideas help us keep in touch with what’s current and relevant.
We love to share our passion for architectural metalwork and speak as guest speakers at a number of events..
Giving back to our craft is engrained in our DNA
Supporting heritage ironwork conservation:
National Heritage Ironwork Group
Bethan is a Trustee for the National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG)and we are two of the five founding members who established the Group in 2009. We’ve played, and continue to play, key roles in its development.
Right, NHIG’s first forge-in at Bath
British Artist Blacksmiths Association
Both Chris and Bethan both served many years on the council of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association
Right, Bethan curated five ironwork exhibitions for BABA, including this one at Ironbridge Gorge in 2007
In 2007 Bethan was one of 15 internationally-selected team leaders who designed and then supervised a masterclass to make elements for The Pillar of Friendship sculpture. This was a major public art project created collaboratively by 300 blacksmiths from across the world.
Right, Bethan’s drawing for the element she designed and the making of which she supervised