Commissioning a piece of bespoke craftwork affords you a degree of choice and personal input you cannot expect to find in off-the-shelf products. The modern mass-production practices which make cheap imported ironwork widely available achieve this at the expense of attractive design, satisfactory quality and genuine variety. Since steel is a strong, dense material, when worked cold to reduce manufacturing costs, it is unyielding, uncompliant. It is also heavy, and therefore expensive to transport around the global marketplace. Unfortunately manufacturers too often solve these problems by simplifying designs and reducing the amount of metal used in their products to the bare minimum, making components easier to manipulate and the resulting products less costly to ship, even if this means limiting their customers’ choices to uninspiring, low-grade goods which will maintain neither their efficacy nor any scant aesthetic attributes. Ideally, design should not be driven so predominantly by short-term economic considerations, and nor should customer choice be restricted by the cost-saving standardising of industrial-scale manufacturing processes.

What I do is far removed from these compromises and short-cuts; my job it is to listen to clients’ various requirements, expectations and ambitions, to devise a design that will accommodate as many of these as possible, and make an end product that is efficient, beautiful and long-lasting. Some clients know already exactly what they want when they first contact me, and will have definite constraints to work within or problems which must be solved; others are less decided about what they are looking for. I am happy to discuss any potential project, however advanced or unformulated your plans are. Whether you need ironwork which will fit subtly into its environment or boldly draw attention to itself, I can give as much creative guidance and technical advice as you feel you need, and am always interested to research styles and periods appropriate to your ideas where necessary.

Often an early site visit is useful for both parties to clarify the detail of a project’s aims, and if this is agreed to be the case it can be arranged without obligation. Once the brief has been decided upon, I will produce drawings and estimated costings for the client’s approval, at which point revisions and adjustments can be made if necessary.

When a design has been finalised and time-scale agreed, a deposit will be required before forge-work begins. Once this is under way it is often possible for clients to visit me at The Smithy to see the work in progress, so they can more fully understand the techniques and processes that have been employed in turning the design they’ve seen on paper into the finished article.

Ordinarily, payment of the balance is due at the point of delivery, and accounts required to be settled within 28 days of this date. Design copyright remains with Lucy Sandys-Clarke unless otherwise agreed..