A student has shown that welding and art go hand-in-hand by creating a successful business producing life-sized animal sculptures from recycled horseshoes.
Louise Bradfield, of Wickhambrook, West Suffolk, has produced a distinctive style of animal sculpture by using materials from her father’s farm. With welding skills passed down from father to daughter, she started out producing wine racks and smaller items, but soon progressed to the sculptures that are now making her name.
Bradfield has invested in a forge, as the horseshoes were limited in their scope and so with the help of heat they can now be bent into shape before she starts to weld. The sculptures cover the whole animal kingdom, from ducks that take a day to create to a stag, which involved 200 hours of hard labour. The stag sold for £2,500, which isn’t bad for a collection of horseshoes and a labour of love.
While Bradfield focuses on these sculptures, her work has attracted commissions from people wanting to create a lasting reminder of their deceased pets. These include creating a coat hook from a beloved horse’s shoes.
The student’s work taps into a rich market, as working with recycled materials, focusing on animals and producing such high quality work has helped her gain a national reputation. She also proves that females are just as capable of going into welding as men and that welding isn’t limited to practical usage.
A number of artists focus on metal sculptures and welding is an inevitable part of the process. As artwork is, by its very nature, focused on the aesthetics; an artist’s welding skills have to be nigh-on perfect as a messy weld can ruin an entire sculpture.
Kevin Caron is the biggest name on YouTube, passing on his expert MIG welding skills to others. Bradfield is happy to simply make her sculptures, though, as well as completing a course in agricultural management at Eastern and Otley College. She’s planning to follow in her father’s footsteps and run the family farm, but in the meantime, she’ll keep producing her sculptures.