What’s your background?
I served my time as a blacksmith welder back in the late 1980s, but with a young family to support I then went to work on the roads erecting safety fencing. I worked away from home doing this for around 10 years before taking a job in Bedlington which led to me becoming a factory manager, but in January 2016 I was made redundant. I had always dreamed of working for myself and took this opportunity to set up A&R Fire Pit Design.
Do you only make fire pits?
No, we also make hand-forged items such as log baskets, boot stands, candle holders and general wrought iron work such as gates. I’ll have a go at creating whatever the customer wants – we’re working on some bespoke projects at the moment. We also do event hire and our fire pit can be made into water features with LED lighting.
Tell us how this works?
The fireballs are created to the customer’s own bespoke design and can be based on any theme – I have a great team of talented artists that will work with the customer to design their fireball.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
The satisfaction of a happy customer when they receive their order and receiving their feedback and photographs.
What’s the hardest part?
Setting up the marquee when we are exhibiting at events!
Where do you find inspiration?
Talking to customers and reading their comments.
Can you describe the process of making a fire pit?
The only part of the process we don’t do ourselves is the spinning of the ball. We buy the steel in as hemispheres that has been spun on a lathe from a sheet of steel. When we receive the steel we weld two hemispheres together to form the sphere, and the artist then draws the customer’s agreed design onto the ball freehand. Once the customer agrees the drawing it is then cut out with a hand held plasma cutter, and each edge is smoothed using small grinding burrs.
What’s your favourite piece that you’ve made?
I’m torn between the fairy water feature and the woodland theme depicting a majestic stag’s head.
What are you working on at the moment?
We’re working on a special project for Alnwick Garden – but I can’t tell you what it is!
A & R Fire Pit Design, Pegswood