Melissa Cole FWCB is a professional artist blacksmith working from her Wiltshire forge making contemporary iron work and sculpture. Using traditional forging techniques Melissa combines serious craftsmanship with elegant and flowing fine art designs, that challenge the notions of traditional blacksmithing.
Working to commission and regularly exhibiting her exciting sculptural forge work, Melissa also teaches blacksmithing with short courses running most months from her studio near Marlborough and is a short course tutor at West Dean College near Chichester.
Graduating in 1993 with a BA (Hons) in Art Education Studies from The University of Wales, Melissa embarked on a successful if unusual career as a female blacksmith and sculptor. In 2007 she was awarded a Bronze medal from The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths for her forged iron work and dedication to blacksmithing in education projects
Initially trained as a traditional blacksmith by her father Hector Cole FWCB, Melissa started designing and making iron work for private homes and hotels; curtain poles, candlesticks, water features, lighting, gates and railings are still made to order. See examples of these on the commissions and gallery pages.
The ancient techniques of forging metal by hand are integral to the sculptural forms she makes. Her sculptures have an intimate and delicate nature belying the strength of their construction and are produced in reaction to immediate emotions and experiences, each unique to their moment of creation and inspired by form found in human, animal and bird life. Her smaller sculptural work is created from re-forged antique wrought iron, sourced from restoration projects across the country. Larger work is made from other metals, steel, stainless steel and copper using a combination of traditional and contemporary making techniques.