For centuries the beautiful Ironbridge Gorge has been an inspiring destination – as well known for creativity as for innovation and this tradition continues today. As a World Heritage Site the area continues to attract people from across the globe, amongst them artists and craftspeople that have chosen to settle here and let their creativity flourish with workshops and retail outlets.
Many still use the traditional skills and production techniques associated with the manufacturing history of the area and a number are housed in sensitively adapted original buildings and factories. The Ironbridge Gorge Museums have drawn on this fantastic local talent and have developed a distinct retail brand, Made in The Gorge, which features the works of some of the designers situated within the very heart of the Ironbridge Gorge.
A small group of high-end craftsmen and women produce delightful pieces for the ever-growing collection and two new members are joining the brand in 2013 – Jenny Gunnings and Adrian Reynolds. Jenny is an artist whose dramatic images of the local area are beautifully bold and perfectly fuse the ethos of the natural landscape with the local industrial heritage. Adrian is a metal-smith with years of experience and he uses versatile materials and innovative design to create simply stunning pieces of work.
Other craftspeople and artists in the Made in The Gorge brand are the Blists Hill Blacksmith (individually pulled, twisted and fire-welded pieces of metalwork), Rachel Frost (a potter using bold and dynamic designs inspired by industrial landscapes), Jonathon Harris (a passionate glass craftsman who specialises in the ancient art of cameo & graal), Ralph Jandrell (a craftsman inspired by the natural landscape of this dramatic wooded valley producing slip decorated earthenware pieces), Blists Hill Foundry (a range of Victorian-inspired castings produced by hand), Rex Key (a self-taught pipe maker producing a range of clay tobacco pipes based on original moulds) and Kinki Glass (a glass artists designing and creating contemporary pieces by combining elegant, dynamic form with vibrant, intense colour).
The Made in The Gorge range is available in five of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums’ shops, including the Gift Shop in Ironbridge town which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, as well as online at www.ironbridge.org.uk