We’re two metalsmiths, Alison Jackson and Dan Lorrimer – partners in life and in business. Two people who love making with their hands, our answer to ‘What do you two do?’ often goes like this: Dan does big metals and I do small metals. But truth be told, our world of making is far more intertwined than that. Alison's background is in traditional silversmithing and jewellery, while Dan’s training is in contemporary sculpture, tool-making and machining. Together, we run Ferro Forma, our metalsmithing workshop specialising in handcrafted, small batch edition objects for you and your home.
Our name Ferro Forma is a combination of ‘Ferro’ meaning ferrous or iron, while ‘Forma’ means form. We created this name to represent how everything that we make or form starts with iron. Whether it’s the tools that we use or the materials that we employ, iron is the common element that makes so much of what we do possible.
We are metalsmiths who love working across a range of scales and materials. Our core focus is on flat-ware, tableware and contemporary jewellery that we make to order and in small batch editions. Crafting high quality, timeless pieces, designed and made to last a lifetime is at the heart of what we do. We genuinely love the process – every stage from idea to creation and each little step in between. Our minds often run wild with possibilities and ideas, and then immediately turn to how we would go about creating the new piece: what tools, materials and skills would we use, and whether we could use one of our treasured old machines in the process.
Ferro Forma is the culmination of a long-standing partnership between us. Though it’s a new name that we launched only recently, (having previously worked under our individual names) we have worked collaboratively and alongside each other in our individual craft practices for many, many years. Day to day, it’s just the two of us: we juggle the making, the ideas, the admin, the tech, the website, the maintenance, the creativity – together. We also have some wonderful casual team members who jump on board when we have big projects or an extra busy schedule on the go.
We work from our purpose-built metalsmithing workshop that’s just a few steps from our home in Braidwood, Australia. We use a wide range of traditional and modern metal-forming techniques, pairing fine hand skills, hand machining and complex industrial processes, using machinery that spans from the 1850s to today. Ultimately, we blend old-world making with contemporary design.
We love using brass and stainless steel in particular in our work, as they are such versatile metals. Stainless steel can be a challenge to work with, but it offers so many possibilities with its ductility and strength. Its food safe properties also make it perfect for flat-ware and for serving food, and it’s robust enough to stand up to everyday use. In contrast, brass has such a warm glow, a real richness to it and a depth of character that we love. It’s a material that forms beautifully and can be patinated and finished in so many different ways, always presenting unexpected and celebrated variations.
We often think about the hands and homes in which our pieces will find themselves, and the lives that those pieces will then live. There’s something really special about slowly and carefully handcrafting pieces that you know will continue to be loved, cherished, worn and used, and which will last a lifetime, if not more.