If you ever wondered what happened to gracefulness in the arts and architecture from the good old days, your visit here might convince you that a huge unnoticed revolution is underway.   The art created here, primarily for architecture and landscape is based on machines having the aesthetics of handcraft with all the cost advantages, and an unsurpassed level of flexibility.

AS HUMAN CULTURE MIGRATES FROM AN AGRICULTURAL ENVIRONMENT TO AN URBAN INDUSTRIALIZED ONE, there is a demarcation between tool use and technologies dating back to the dawning of stone and iron ages.  In the last 75 years, the tool use and craft traditions developed over thousands of years perished from common usage and cultural vernacular virtually overnight. This site documents to a great degree an accidental visit at this crossroads in time as it affects the arts & this artists work.

     My name is Eileen Ruth Webb, an artist based in Southern California.  ORNAMENTAL-IRON.com is the artist's on-line studio presenting original work in images & text.  The works harness modern engineering technologies to create hi-quality, site specific art commissions for a variety of clients - both private & public across the United States.
     Since 2000, excellence in architectural metals has been recognized with two national awards from the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association. It has garnered slots within the  international architectural forum as lecturer & subject of the their press. 
     In an environment where building traditions & architectural practice have been father to son for centuries based on upper body strength,  modern technologies are virgin for thoughtful exploration that has nothing to do with physicality.  This artwork is the product of thinking past the physical constraints of traditional tools like the hammer & heated forge for blacksmithing into having a viable choice of creative approaches, & making labor a judicious option based on practicality alone - not necessity based on lack of alternative options.
     What I came across quite accidentaly was an artistic frontier ripe for exploration. Driven by a vision of graceful artwork of both structure & pattern integrated into built environments I started to explore a non-physical approach combining durable materials & new processes.  It made sense from a cost standpoint appealing to a wider range of people & projects particularly for larger scale projects.  The materials & media grew from these considerations.
     Over the last decade, starting with an intensive three years - I became self taught in using practical “technology” as a modern art media.   This art is leading the way in exploring how new engineering “tools” can be used in flexible ways.   There was at the time & still remains no school or curricula to provide this type of aesthetic / technical education that adresses flexible art applications as the end use of engineering processes & tools.      

      Just like learning to draw, paint or sculpt,  it required focus & a devotion to the eventual end result.  Learning itself is a viable pastime & the process has been rewarding without monetary consideration.  What I learned starting with a simple computer format - .dxf or data exchange format has opened a Pandora's box of other engineering tools. 
     There is truth to the expression that one reaps what one sows.   Many seeds planted in a half century of childlike curiousity about design & its practical manifestation have been nurtured to life in these new works that to many observers seem timeless or old at first glance.  As a rule - instead of artisan blacksmithing - they are drawings with steel, from hand to CAD drawing into direct computerized or CAM fabrication in the manner of elegant architectural scale leggoes.   
     There is often the sense of oldness - but that is based on my affection for beautiful architecture & 17th century master  blacksmiths like Jean Tijou, or 20th century masters like Edgar Brandt who first mastered use of the welding torch within his atelier.  I do all the design &  technical minutia to make my artworks via a new model building on a foundation of evolving engineering successes currently available.  By learning what I envisioned as possible - the work allows for modern, retro & traditional expressions.
      As an artist for all of my adult life,  I have come to comprehend in hindsite that historic handcraft employed by artists is everyday being supplanted by less familiar “technology”. To myself, it is now just another type of pencil and paper, another hands on tool because I sought to give myself that level of understanding, skill & facility, abandoning the beliefs of others who believed it was not possible.  That goal of mastery caused me to perceive how ages of civilization are in total flux....... I continue to examine emerging & old technologies for future implementation within my art & foster open minded exploration by others - artists, architects, engineers & skilled craftsman.

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