A student from a West Suffolk village who forged ahead with a new venture in welding life-size animal sculptures from horse shoes has seen her work show-cased at a top flower show.
Louise Bradfield, of Wickhambrook, was given the chance to display two stags at the entrance gates to the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, in Cheshire.
The 20-year-old makes the eye-catching sculptures, which range from ducks and sheep to pigs and tortoises, by welding horse shoes together at her dad’s farm.
She started welding about two years ago after she failed her AS-levels and her dad Tom, who is a farmer and trained welder, suggested she learn how to weld.
Miss Bradfield said: “He has been welding for years so taught me everything I needed and we bought a forge.
“I started with smaller products like wine-racks, hooks and welly bootholders and then gradually progressed to larger sculptures.
“I found that I took to it quite well and wanted to continue.”
She admits to being keen to give it a go as she wanted to try something new but didn’t expect the venture to take off in the way it has. She decided to use horse shoes as her dad had collected some from a local farrier from years ago.
They are placed into the forge where the high temperature enables them to be moulded into a new shape using an anvil tool. They are then welded onto each other.
Explaining her creative process, Miss Bradfield said: “I base the animals on a photograph and take measurements as well but it’s mainly done by eye.
“The stags take around 200 hours while the ducks you can do in a day.
“Most people don’t notice the sculptures are made from horse shoes until they get up close.
“I think people like them because they are made from recycled products and they have been turned into something attractive.”
Louise’s clients include people who have lost their beloved pets and are looking for a lasting reminder of them.
“I have been asked to make interlinking hearts as well as coat hooks from the horse shoes worn by pets when they died.”
She has so far exhibited her work at country shows which include Game and Country Fair in Norfolk in April, Houghton Hall International Horse Trials in May and the Woburn Abbey Garden Show in June.
Miss Bradfield, who is studying agricultural management at Eastern and Otley College, said she would eventually like to run her dad’s farm while continuing to make the sculptures.
Prices range from £5 for smaller items to a stag which recently sold for £2,500. Visit www.lcbsculpture.com