The Colors of Fall

The Colors of Fall

The leaves are turning and the bright colors of spring have been replaced by the lovely earth tones of Fall.

The evolution of our finishes has been much like the changing seasons. The process has been a slow change as I have learned about iron and what it takes to add color to a hard surface. From the beginning I had certain criteria that were unwavering goals. No paint. Patina's needed to be opaque. The character marks of the process needed to be highlighted as they are the unique fingerprints of each piece of work. 

 Walter's first love is the forging of the botanical sculptures that have become a recognizable signature of his handwork. These pieces call for tones and hues that are natural and change along with the growing season. We also needed alternative hues to the traditional black for our hardware and home products. I searched for shades that were decor friendly and paired on a large variety of color wheels. Ironwork can be a connecting accent throughout a home. Subtle colors can create a flow between rooms.


Custom Forged Hand Grip for a garden style bathroom. This can also be used as a towel or tissue roll rack.


Cranberry Red is deep red with shades of brown and mulberry. It is a beautiful accent color and a perfect match for holiday decorating.

Hooks and Hangers can be found in our Iron Home Collection

 Our custom finishes have been developed over time

A long process of experimentation and a lot of stripping that off and starting again, finally began to yield the results I was searching for. I learned that metal doesn't stain. It must react with something to actually change color. Very few products "stick" to steel. Most are applied through a heat or chemical process. I began to find and learn how to use an assortment of commercial finishes designed specifically for sculpture but the most valued information has come from elders and experienced hands who passed along knowledge of more natural methods. Things like yellow mustard and things from your kitchen that contain natural acids have wonderful effects on the iron.

Bees Wax is a true natural wonder 

I came to understand the wonders of Bees Wax. Bees Wax is one of natures most amazing products. It never goes bad. It preserves and protects anything it coats. It can be mixed with colors and powders to create layers that mimic other metals and soften or darken base colors. And it is translucent often giving the illusion of depth to the iron surface.

This piece was finished in an antique bronze patina. The finish starts with a base color of bronze metal under layers of brown and mahogany waxes that age the bronze to a lovely shade.

Layering of opaque colors gives me the earth tones that suit both subject matter and decorating appeal.

 When I am asked about the colors it always begins with "Well its not a simple answer." People think I am being evasive but it isn't a simple answer. Every color has its own witches brew recipe. I was that child that mixed everything in the chemistry set together just to see what it would do. I have had many happy accidents and many days that we have had to open all the doors and windows and turn on all the fans. It has been a lot like learning to make biscuits. Some have been wonderful with butter and honey and some were thrown out in the pond and floated for 3 days before they finally soaked up enough water to sink!

The last step is applying lovely colors that compliment the work.

All ironwork that is not powder coated has to have some maintenance. It is the nature of steel. But care is so simple there is no reason to stress or let it be a deterring factor in choosing ironwork for your spaces. Simply polish your ironwork with any bees wax based furniture polish. Iron is porous. The wax permeates into the surface creating a moisture barrier. Lehman Brothers carries a wonderful spray bees wax for heirloom ironwork and antique wood furniture. It is reasonably priced and lasts a long time. 

Our goal is to stand out a bit both for outstanding quality and unique design. Our products will be here long after their maker. Your name should mean something. Thats why the name is Walter Forge. We are proud to say "Yes, we made that."

Keep us in mind as the upcoming gift giving season approaches. We will be adding new work and offering some special prices and packages for those who follow and purchase from the Forge. I hope you will add us to your list of places to shop.

Get outside and enjoy the changing season!

Rhonda Howell, The Blacksmiths Wife.

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1 comment

Mr. and Mrs Howell (or Mrs. and Mr. Howell as my wife would appreciate),

Through my first year of blacksmithing I covered a lot of content online. As you know, there is a LOT of content online. I have drawn the most inspiration from watching the mind of Mr. Howell at work. I can now extend that appreciation to his wife for those wonderful finishes.

It all looks like living well at it’s finest.

Thank you,

Peter Gilbert

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