Chapter 1: Iron
Mi sorella wants an iron bed. So we visited the home and shop of Laurence Love, Master ironworker, on Saturday. The day was gorgeous as we drove the 30 minutes to his home near Treia, in the shadow of Torre Pitino, a 13th Century tower and village ruins. (To be featured in another entry.)
Laurence and his wife Sandy also run a B&B in their beautiful restored farmhouse with five en suite (with full bath) rooms. (“The only way to succeed is en suite,” he told me.) Laurence showed us his shop and forge, which to my disappointment, was not blazing away on this chilly morning. But it looks exactly like you’d expect a forge to look.
His work is beautiful, artful and personal. When he mentioned his fondness for design, I asked if that’s what he studied. He chuckled and said that he started smithing—actually shoeing horses in England– at age 8 (or 12… I don’t remember– it was cold). After that, his father bought him a portable forge when he was about 17 (apparently there IS such a thing as a portable forge) and he just started making things for people. Within ten years, he was teaching ironwork courses and creating beautiful, intricate, classic designs for huge gates, balconies, furniture, firescreens, fire tools, trellises, beds, tables… the list goes on and on. They could have been made in the 15th century. They’re clearly made to last, and designed to please the eye. He’s another master craftsman of the highest order. And just a heck of a nice, interesting guy to boot. If you don’t commission something from him, consider staying at their B&B.
We talked a lot about music. Le Marche has incredible music fests—jazz, rock, international, folk (including Italian folk) and Laurence is a huge guitar and rock fan. Loves Steve Vai and Alvin Lee and Eric Clapton and Tommy Emmanuel and Mumford and Sons. He was actually in a band ( he plays keyboards) for a good while. Mumford and Sons (one of my faves) played one of their last “small” gigs in Le Marche before they caught fire. Laurence hadn’t heard of them, but went on advice of a friend. He’s hooked now. I didn’t bring my guitar, so we didn’t get to jam, but I’m sure he’d be open for it.
Enjoy a look at some of his exquisite work. And visit his site: http://ironworkmarche.com/index.htm
Or go stay at their B&B: http://casadegliamori.com