Brave
Art

10 January 2017

Kev Paxton is a man who knows his craft.

A blacksmith all of his working life, he has been forging works of art for “about 27 years”, although this may be inaccurate as he decided at a fairly young age to stop counting trivial things such as Birthdays and years. 

According to Kev, life’s too short.

 

Along with his 5 trusty sidekicks and a dog, he has created his own little slice of heaven in his Edinburgh workshop, creating unique works of art with a huge dose of fun.

 

He recently created a sculpture of local Scottish Olympic legend, Scott Brash for Scott’s home town of Peebles, complete with Olympic mount, Hello Sanctos.  

 

Hand-crafted entirely from horseshoes - including 4 from Hello Sanctos himself - we caught up with Kev to learn more about him and his sculptures.

 

 

 

Hi Kev - Tell us about the Scott Brash sculpture.  How did it come about?

 

Scott Brash comes from Peebles, and when The Bonnie Peebles committee approached us to create a sculpture for the community, we thought it would be a terrific idea to create our first piece of public art.

 

We met them we started to develop the idea further, and with Scott Brash being a local hero and all, we decided that a sculpture of him on his Olympic horse, Hello Sanctos, would be perfect.

 

And it's made entirely from horseshoes?

 

Yes.  We wanted to make it extra special, and so hit on the idea of creating the entire thing from horseshoes.  We asked Scott if he could help out and he sent us 4 shoes from Hello Sanctos to include in the sculpture.  We love this aspect and adds a real unique touch to it. 

 

My cousin used to be a Vaulter, and I got in touch with her farrier, who had a huge amount of old horseshoes!  We bought 1.5 tons of them and it’s these that we ended up making the sculpture with.

 

That's a lot of shoes! How long did it take you?

 

We stopped counting how long it took after 1000 hours…

 

 

Kev_Paxton_BIGLETTERS1
  

It was unveiled by Scott himself, wasn't it?  How did that go?

Scott is a really down to earth guy, with no airs and graces about him.  He was actually pretty overwhelmed by the whole experience. He kept thanking us for making it of him!

 

 

It was really nice to see such a successful Olympic athlete be so humble.

 

Funny thing - when we were installing the sculpture, a wee woman came up to us and told us how much she loved it.  Turned out to be Scott’s Mum!  That was all I could have asked for - mission complete in my eyes.

 

This isn't your only equestrian-themed piece now, is it?  Tell us about your new stuff.

 

Apart from the film “Braveheart” with Mel Gibson, the Scottish warrior William Wallace is probably most well-known for his grisly death by being hung drawn and quartered by the English, with the 4 parts of his body being sent to Perth, Sterling, Berwick and Newcastle.  

 

We decided to “bring him back to Scotland” with a sculpture of a Clydesdale horse created using scrap farmyard metal from these 4 places.  Someone actually bought it before it was finished, so we decided to make 2, and call them William and Wallace! 

 

There is always a story behind all of out pieces, it’s so important that there is a “heart” to each of them.

 

What do you think of horses and equestrian sports?  Do you ride?

 

I’m not a rider myself, but watching equestrian sports I can see the respect and trust that’s needed between the rider and the horse to succeed.  This makes what Scott has achieved even more amazing, in my eyes.

 

I love nature and animals, so horses to me are just some of the most stunning animals.  You can’t cease to be blown away by the power, elegance and beauty of the horse.

 

Even seeing a donkey looking over a wall makes me smile - I love it!

 

Horses have been a part of our existence for thousands of years, so it’s an important part of my work to incorporate them and the machinery they use to help us in my art.

 

 

You can’t cease to be blown away by the power, elegance and beauty of the horse
“Even seeing a donkey looking over a wall makes me smile - I love it!”
   

 

Why you do what you do?

 

Fun. 

 

We want to make people smile through our art and work.  I don't read the newspapers or look at the news, as there’s so much doom and gloom in the world.

 

We think that life is too short and want to see the bright side in any situation.  Between myself and the 5 others who work with me, we have one mission - to have fun with our work and to share this with everyone.

 

That’s as good a life attitude as you can get!  So what’s next for you and the team?

 

The Scott Brash piece has been great for us, as it’s brought our work and passion to the public eye.  We are starting to get more interest and commissions, which means more fun for us! 

 

We are currently working on 175 highland cows for the Royal Highland Show’s 175th Anniversary, which should keep us busy for a while...

 


 

 

Do yourself a favour and head over to Kev’s website at www.artfe.co.uk to check out more of his team's work. 

 

For a glimpse into his life, check out this short time lapse video of another of his works - 2 giant thistles created for Edinburgh airport…

 

 

ArtFe - Edinburgh Airport Thistle Timelapse from Robert Michael Wilson on Vimeo.

 

 

 

Text by FEI

Images of Kev at work by © Robert Michael Wilson Photography (www.robertmichaelwilson.com)

Images of Scott Brash by Off the Back Photography (www.offthebackphotography.com)