Metal sculptures make a living for Newport ex-teacher
A FORMER engineering lecturer from Newport has turned his hand to creating art using steel and iron from a workshop in his garage.
Tony Ford, who retired as a college lecturer in 2003 after 36 years as a teacher, transformed his 17th-century home near Underwood from a derelict shell and set up a workshop in what was once a stable.
Now he and his former students have formed a business network of welders and forgers who recommend one another to customers to design various pieces of artwork.
Mr Ford, 68, has made a menagerie of metal animals and unusual commissions from steel, from a peacock for a pub in Bracknell near London; a phoenix for a project in Pill, Newport; and a gothic door knocker imitating those found on Durham Cathedral.
"A couple of my students are in business and we run a network, so for example I don't work on gates, but I know one of my students does, so I pass them on," said Mr Ford.
"I was going to go into consultancy after I retired but I thought I couldn't be bothered with that, I'd had enough of academia.
"It was a case of being able to create something. When I get up each morning I think, I will create so and so. Most of my work now is commissions."
A butterfly with a five-foot wingspan made from galvanised steel was one such recent commission.
"I have a small set-up and anything I form has to be formed by hand," said Mr Ford.
"With something like small copper sails on a boat, made for the retiring head teacher of Maindee School, it can be an interesting challenge. But I like a challenge."
To find out more about Mr Ford's work, log on to his website www.oakdaleironworks.co.uk