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Published February 2nd 2015
Making the Most from New and Used Metal
Travelling along the Main Road between Port Elliot and Middleton, and a large purple Fleurieu Art Trail flag sign appears alongside a seemingly innocent looking house. A quick look to survey the scene, and I observe a large blue tin shed at the rear with a sign indicating the "Blue Temper Ironworks". I'm in.
A short drive to the rear of the yard passes some outdoor ironworks, and give a glimpse as to what is to come. A sheep made from corrugated iron makes me contemplate where "steel wool" may have come from, while some large rustic looking sunflowers show how hardy some of the plants have become in this part of the world.
The rocketship has me perplexed for some time, as I ponder over its value or use. A closer inspection reveals a small door in the lower half, and then it finally clicks with me. This former fuel tank from a car has been converted in to a pizza oven, complete with a flue and legs. This clever idea certainly provides new meaning to the way pizzas may be delivered in the future.
Stepping inside the strikingly blue tin shed, I note that it is separated into two halves, with a workshop behind some partially closed doors, and a gallery in the main area. Numerous items of ironwork line the walls, floors and cupboards, both polished for internal use, and also rustic for outdoor use.
A few display albums show the works that are possible, both from an individual's or a corporate perspective. Products range from the useful coat hangers, toilet roll holders, key holders and candlebra to the decorative and talkative wall art up to the large corporate pieces that are often used as partitions, window edging or frames. There is also an album of the sculptured pieces which have been on display in various parts of South Australia including Middleton and at the recent Brighton Sculptures Exhibition where the Ironworks won second prize for their version of the Surfer's Shaka or "Hang Loose" gesture.
Blue Temper Ironworks was founded by Chris Murphy in 1997 in Somerton Park, and moved to the current premises at Middleton in 2005. Since that time Chris has been servicing retail clients with a range of regular items, and commercial clients with a series of made-to-order items. The Blue Temper Ironworks Gallery is open from 11am to 5pm every Sunday, and is well worth a visit when driving past. For further details refer to the Blue Temper Ironworks website or their facebook page.
I enjoy viewing Chris Murphy's creations at the Brighton Sculptures - a standout (in more ways than one) was his 4.2m tall 450kg steel giraffe which was adopted by City of Holdfast Bay after last year's exhibition.
It can be found alongside the tram line at Maxwell Terrace Glenelg.