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Fourth-generation metal worker

My grandfather was a blacksmith. He worked in heavy industries making tools and parts for machinery, cars, tractors and even tanks. In his spare time he would make pokers, buckets, candle holders and anything else requested by friends and neighbor's. He also made toys for his children and grandchildren, including a miniature tool set, doll’s house, castle, circus, garage and a superb farm. 


He came from a long line of workers in the metal industries in Wales. His father worked in the tinplate industry, and when they closed he trained as a welder. His ancestors worked in the tinplate and iron industry going back to at least the 1720s – right at the beginning of the industrial revolution. The industries back then were not in the big cities but usually on the outskirts of towns where there was ample water source, and later coal. Thus the early industrial workers were never far from their ancestors’ rural backgrounds, and many farmed a few acres whilst earning a living in the factories and mines.


Although trained as a glass artist I have always been fascinated by metal working, and have created works combining both – it must be in the blood!

copyright Shannon Tofts Photography
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