Teen Ribble Valley blacksmith forges ahead with exhibits of his ornate metalwork

A young blacksmith who built his own forge aged 13 with his mother’s hairdryer and a claw hammer is setting a Clitheroe Christmas showcase alight.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 12:30 pm
Blacksmith Oscar Duck is setting this year’s Northern Star at the Platform Gallery alight.

Oscar Duck (18), is exhibiting his ornate metalwork at Northern Star, the popular festive showcase at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe.

Oscar started blacksmithing after building a forge in the back garden of his family home in West Bradford, near Clitheroe, where he fashioned an arrowhead from scrap steel with nothing more than his mother’s hairdryer and a claw hammer.

He then forged his passion for hot steel at the anvil of second-generation master blacksmith Bill Carter of Trapp Forge near Read, with who he undertook a three-year apprenticeship.

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Now, he has his own forge in West Bradford, where he produces distinctive ornamental work, such as animal head bottle openers, fire pokers and decorative hearts.

Oscar said: “I was inspired by a book to make my own bows and arrows and built a forge in our back garden, much to the surprise of my parents.

“I used mum’s hairdryer and dad’s claw hammer to make an arrowhead from scrap steel and my passion for forging hot steel was ignited.

“But it was with blacksmith Bill Carter at the Trapp Forge that I really learned my craft and I now have my own forge making decorative items with hammers and tools that I also make by hand.”

Platform Gallery co-ordinator, Andrea Westall, said: “Oscar uses techniques that are hundreds of years old to produce beautiful long-lasting steel items.

“His work is a scintillating fusion of art and craft, and we are delighted to be exhibiting it at Northern Star.”

Northern Star has started earlier this year to accommodate social distancing and give people plenty of time to attend the popular exhibition, which features over 50 of the UK’s most celebrated craftworkers and artists in a glittering showcase.

The exhibition, which runs until Christmas Eve, features a festive feast of handmade items, including textiles, ceramics, glass, woodwork, jewellery, lighting, decorations and cards, with prices starting at just £2.

Other exhibitors include Newcastle silversmith Emine Thompson, who hails from Istanbul and makes stunning contemporary jewellery laced with enamel and gold.

Emine trades under the name SilverKupe, ‘küpe being Turkish for earring, because the first piece of jewellery she made as a child was a pair of silver earrings.

Also exhibiting is Altrincham ceramicist Gabi Komar-Dixon, whose distinctive work is crafted from white earthenware clay and finished with glazes rich in turquoise and blue to reflect her love of the sea.

Situated in a renovated Victorian railway station, the multi-award-winning Platform Gallery and Clitheroe Visitor Information Centre is currently open from 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

Further details about Northern Star are available from the Platform Gallery on 01200 425566.