Neil Brown, Artistic Blacksmith
Profile by Sam Pennington
Hot Metal Works create beautiful personalised creations, ranging from bottle openers and key-rings to bird feeders and magnificent garden sculptures. Based in the London Museum of Water & Steam in Brentford, Blacksmith Neil Brown stocks a range of unique ready-made gifts, as well as happily accepting private commissions.
From visiting Neil in his Brentford workshop, his passion and enthusiasm for his craft was clear from the way he excitedly talked about his creations. It seemed as though Neil had been fantasising about a creative career since he was young so it came as a shock to find that it wasn’t until relatively late in his working life that he delved into the world of artistic blacksmithing.
Previously working in IT, Neil, like many of us, felt unfulfilled by his job. “I always felt that there had to be more for me – something I really enjoyed and could excel at” he said. Thankfully, and rather by chance, he stumbled across a three-day blacksmithing course for beginners and took to it immediately.
The World of Blacksmithing
After falling in love with the creative process, Neil applied for a blacksmith job in North London. Despite having no ‘real world’ experience he got the job which provided him with a solid foundation in his blacksmithing career endeavour. While this was a fantastic opportunity, the role didn’t satisfy his artistic mind.
The thing Neil loved most about blacksmithing was taking a cold lump of steel and transforming it into something completely new. He resultantly left that job and moved on to accompany a master blacksmith in Guildford, before taking on a job as the only, and therefore main, blacksmith for another local company.
“Despite my lack of experience on the forge, I took the position and didn’t look back” he said. “Suddenly, all those techniques I’d been absorbing were being used and I was creating beautiful objects from cold, hard steel”.
As Neil progressed and his skill grew he finally decided to venture out on his own prompting the birth of Hot Metal Works. Now he makes fantastic creations, both practical and sculptural from his workshop in Brentford.
Hot Metal Works
As well as crafting steel works of art, Neil also runs workshops where you can go along and experience blacksmithing for yourself. The workshops are open to anyone over the age of 18 and no prior experience is required. In the informal class, Neil provides a hands-on introduction to blacksmithing, teaching eight different techniques to help you create your own hand-forged ironwork to take home. His workshops are in high demand and often sell out so book your place for the next session while you can.
Neil’s blacksmithing course costs £170 and you can find out more and book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in buying Neil’s work or ordering a commission you can contact Neil on the email provided or visit his workshop at The Forge, London Museum of Water and Steam, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford TW8 0EN.