Tuesday, October 4, 2016

a GRAND inspiration

The iron gates of Philip Simmons are nothing if not GRAND! His work was incredible, his talent was and still is envied, and his legacy lives on indefinitely.

A trip to Charleston is required to see the majority of Simmons' iron work. When we became fascinated with this artistry of his work, we wished we too could own a Philip Simmons' gate for our home. Since we don't live in Charleston and can't buy a home with one of his gates, we were left to wonder if it would be possible to get a front gate that honors this gentleman blacksmith.

I began to study Simmons' work and found photos of many gates, each with a particular kind of unique beauty. The photo of one particular gate caught my attention and I knew that was my favorite.

All I could find was a small photo of this gate to share with the man who would do the ironwork in our fence, and who would create our gates.

Lyre Gate by Master Blacksmith Phillip Simmons (1912-2009), 65 Alexander Street (Charleston, SC).:
Pinterest photo

Although the photo was enlarged, it was hard to see the details. I used a thin Sharpie pen to trace over the basic shape so the iron workers could see exactly what the original looked like.

There are some differences between the Simmons' gate and our gate. That is as it should be since we wanted it to be an inspiration, and not try to create an exact copy.

Personal photo
Gate created by JC Hood Ironwork Tomball, TX

Notice how the iron worker widened our harp. There are no vertical pieces/spaces between the harp and the two sides of our gate. In order to balance the gate, the curved pieces at the top are just a few inches narrower than the top part of the harp. 

Since I had fallen in love with the original gate, I was not sure about the changes made by the iron company. However, in a few short weeks, I realized I am as happy with our gate jusst as much as I loved Simmons' inspiration gate. 

While in Charleston in June, we were able to research enough to find the original gate.  It was difficult to get a good photo since a vehicle was parked in front of the gate. But still, it was such fun to actually get to see it in person. It was definitely a GRAND inspiration!

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