Atelier Ferro is an artisan studio that specializes in customized smithery for private and public clients who appreciate first-class contemporary work.
Most of the time I work on my own. Sometimes, however, there are young journeymen blacksmith coming from Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain, Great Britain, Japan, or the U.S.A. and doing an internship in my workshop.
What I do is not simply described as blacksmithing − the outcome of my work is a kind of visual and haptic perception of meditation practised on the material.
I combine traditional forging techniques with the ones of modern metal design. Thus, small series and unique pieces, individually tailored to the customer´s wish, are created.
Most orders I take come from private clients who own a country house, where wrought-iron objects fit in well with the interior as well as with the external appearance. For them I design and create
- railings, window grating, front doors, wall elements
- various furnishing items such as lamps, tables, chairs, shelves, bedframes and little pieces of sculptures
- table items such as candle holders, centre pieces, wine bottle holders
- costume jewellery and fancy items like key pendants, house number plates, signs of various kinds
Usually, potential customers are invited to visit me in my showroom, where they can get an impression of my work. Then I design and draw their projects with them.
Besides working on customers´ orders, I like designing and making objects without any binding instructions from clients, thus finding my own personal style. In turn, this may inspire visitors regarding their ideas for the objects they are planning to install in their houses.
This procedure of merging the expertise of an artisan on the one hand and the client´s conception on the other hand ensures a high quality of the items I create, which will be recognized as a piece of design, not just following fancy fashion trends but providing space for being interpreted by everybody viewing them.
Where it all began
My professional career started in carpentry − so the material I originally used to work with was wood.
A further training at the Vocational College for Design in Flensburg/Northern Germany completed my education as a “Gestalter im Handwerk” (designer in arts and crafts).
There it was where I got the opportunity to experiment with other materials and came in touch with metal, which fascinated me from the very beginning. It does not have an organic structure like wood, yet it has an inherent structure. Getting the more familiar with the options iron offers, the more I wanted to learn about this material and heard about Filippo Scioli, a blacksmith in Guardiagrele − a small place in Abbruzzo/Italy, where forging and blacksmith art have had a long tradition since the Renaissance.
What was meant to be a one-month internship, followed by another year as an intern with master Filippo Scioli in Guardiagrele has become my professional domain and home – I consider myself an adopted Guardiagrelese.
Once I opened my business in Guardiagrele in 2002, I spent my spare time on working on personal projects to refine my skills in shaping and design. Collaborating with fellow craftsmen, designers, artists and experimenting with the potential of iron and the capability to combine different materials and working techniques has always been a crucial way to achieve this.
I have worked on various projects with other master smiths such as Claudio Bottero (Venice ), Alfred Habermann (Czech Republic ), Jiri Bata (Czech Republic ), The Stenico Bothers (Rome) and Roberto Giordani (Bologna) and participated in gatherings of blacksmiths throughout Europe to network with people of my craft. And what I was imparted by my masters I like passing on to young colleagues by giving classes or holding workshops for them and other people interested in the trade of forging.
In cooperation with the artisan museum, I organised the first international blacksmith convention in Guardiagrele in 2007 to inspire people to revive the old craft of forging. This convention entitled “Concorso Internazionale di Arte Fabbrile – La Fucina di Volcano “ (International Competition for Artist Blacksmiths – the forge of Volcano) has been repeated twice every other year.
How I became a designer
Born in 1972 in the North of Germany, I grew up with my mother and grandmother − both fine artists − who fostered my interest in design and crafts very early.
So, I built my first piece of furniture at the age of 14 and it was no surprise for my family and teachers when I decided to start an apprenticeship to become a cabinet maker, which I finished in 1992.
Right after my vocational training, I opened the furniture studio Senza Fuga together with two other colleagues in Hamburg, which I ran for almost seven years until I went to college in Flensburg in 1999 to enhance my design skills.