The magic of metal.
Talisman Gallery owner Ron Fitzpatrick has been working with the magic of metal for over 20 years.
The talented blacksmith and metal artist spends his time situated in the iconic Hartley Historic Village with breath taking views where he creates beautiful and mysterious sculptures and mirrors in a heritage woolshed.
Ron has been in the area for 25 years where he originally was located further down the highway near the Alchemy Pizza shop for 15 years, before making the decision to move his work up into the Hartley Village.
"Talisman Gallery is pretty much where I display and sell my works.
"Moving into the village was a really lucky thing, I came here with an old friend to look at the old service station at the bottom of my driveway and my mate looked up at this old shed and so we checked it out.
"We stood out the front and looked at the view which overlooks the highway and thought 'oh wow imagine working here' and then it happened," he said.
Prior to coming to the Mountains around the 2000s, Ron lived and worked in Sydney where his passion for metalwork was sparked.
"It was the late 80s, I had just moved into a house with my then partner and wrought iron was just sort of going through a renaissance at the time.
"I started doing a TAFE course called Ornamental Iron Work at Sydney Tech in Ultimo and then we moved into a house and we had no furniture so I just made stuff out of scrap metal and then I progressed to the blacksmithing," he said.
He then built a business making gates and furniture, which led him to having his own gallery and workshop which has become his life.
"It was a business from the start for me because I had four kids and whatever I did had to pay it's way, as a result of that I've come into this game not being too idealistic about how I make things.
"It's artistic but it's a business," he said.
Over the years Ron said he had made several different pieces, with mirrors being one of his most popular sellers.
"The mirrors are laser cut, there's all sorts of different designs and they probably sell for me the most out of anything.
"I've probably made many thousands because I use to supply a couple hundred shops around Australia with them [mirrors]."
He said a lot of time and effort would go into his pieces and he often tried to knock a work over in a day.
"Sometimes they might take five [days], it just depends on their size and other details.
"Something people don't realise about hand making something is that a lot of time goes into making the first one, once you've made it the first time you know how long the steel is and you've got all your measurements," he said.
He said sometimes he might not even make that piece again.
"That's where the time goes, it's an ex amount of work time and an ex amount of thought time," he said.
Ron said once he had an idea and started making the components of it he would end up with different variations.
"Before you know it you've got six variations of that idea and so, it might become a series," he said.
He said often something would sell and he'd make it again or someone would reorder a particular item but he didn't take much commission work anymore.
"I only pretty much make what I want to make."
Currently Ron focuses his work on incorporating crystals and semi-precious gems in his pieces.
"That's what we call forged iron or wrought iron which is metal that's been in the fire and shaped hot on the anvil.
The creativity is what fires me up.- Ron Fitzpatrick
"That's where my main inspirations are and what I like doing the most," he said.
He is also in the process of translating his mirror and sculpture designs into a jewellery line.
"I'm starting to turn some of the bigger stuff into pendants, earring sets and I have my first range of opal jewellery coming soon.
"Also just about to go into production is a range of seven different types of rings which will have three different stones, turquoise, opal, rubies and peridots," he said.
In the gallery Ron also sells imported silver jewellery which he collects from an annual overseas trip.
"I have a holiday in Indonesia once a year and go around and buy it all," he said.
Ron said he loved when people came into his gallery and when they bought his works.
"It's wonderful really, especially if you've just made something the day before or that day even and someone comes in and asks if they can buy it because they love it, that's just way cool," he said.
He said the monetary side of his workshop was good being a business but to him, it was more than that.
"It's the fact that someone comes in and gets what I'm doing.
"They somehow pick up on what I'm trying to get across in my pieces," he said.
When asked what he loved about his work, Ron said he just loved creating.
"To get an idea for something and then go put it into life is a buzz and then someone comes along and buys it, it's an even bigger buzz.
"The creativity is what fires me up," he said.
Talisman Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm and on public holidays.
Ron also runs two hour sessions for couples called "Creative Fire' where you can come along and he talks you through making a sculptural piece. Cost is $275 for two hours and by appointment only.
To be inspired you can find more information on Talisman Gallery on Facebook, Instagram or at www.talismangallery.com.au
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