Calnan & Anhøj is a company run by two artist blacksmiths Michael and Gunvor, a husband and wife team, dedicated to the creation of sculpture and functional ironwork. Through an authentic and personal approach, they strive to closely interpret the customer’s vision, turning ideas into matter. Strength of skill is reflected in each piece crafted, the goal is quality and longevity as well as originality and beauty.
They sculpture and functional pieces using mainly hand forged iron, bronze and stainless steel, but also stone and bog-oak. Having gained considerable experience over the years their pieces have reached a high level of quality and standard. As a result of this Gunvor won a first prize at the 2011 RDS National Crafts Competition in the traditional metal work category. The business consists of 50% commissioned work and 50% one-off’s or limited editions made purely in their workshop which is situated within the grounds of County Wicklow’s beautiful Russborough House, using the traditional craft of the blacksmith combined with modern techniques.
Pieces range from small items for interiors to large scale exterior pieces for the private and public spaces. Their main vision for their work is to gain recognition as artists in Ireland as well as abroad, retaining the highest quality craftsmanship which is tasteful, original and inspiring.
Michael likes that a work can communicate something fundamental to us, that we can realise a connection with it in some unexplainable way. Be it spiritually or mathematically orientated a presence is generated and a moment met. Within his work he strives to keep it visually uncomplicated and focuses his efforts on how shape, form and negative space can relate with each other.
Gunvor started making as a child, sitting on her mothers veranda using a wee axe to carve wooden objects, spoons and such. Her interest in blacksmithing was sparked as a young woman working on a farm in Norway. Required to plough the fields the old way using horses and a one-furrow plough, it all started with the incident of a broken plough-tip and the realisation that this tip could not be replaced nor repaired; the poor horse had to continue pulling this blunt tool through the clay. Whilst doing her Blacksmithing training in Herefordshire, England, her eyes were opened not only to the unlimited uses of metals, but also to the need for the contemporary blacksmith to posses the ability to create original concepts as an artist.