Husband and wife team Michael Calnan and Gunvor Anhøj have forged a small business with a big reputation from iron, steel, bronze, and copper.
We are award-winning sculptors of metals, our current studio is based in the beautiful demesne of Russborough House, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. We have a collection of indoor and outdoor sculpture on display at our atmospheric Forge and Gallery, which is open to visit all year round by prior appointment.
Our speciality is forged bronze and cor-ten steel sculpture for the garden. We have been creating for 20 years, going back to the time when we simultaneously fell for each other as well as for our craft. As George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.’ Setting off on our adventure after art college finished, we conjured a joint vision of artistic metal sculpting, which we have been building on ever since.
Our sculpture can be found in many private collections around the world and public collections include The Irish State Art Collection, The Department of Foreign Affairs, The Office of Public Works and The Crafts & Design Council of Ireland’s Permanent Collection. Our awards include The 2015 Mill Cove Award, The National Craft Awards 2011 & 12. The Crafts & Design Council of Ireland’s Purchase Award 2012 and the Stanley Allcard Award in 1998.
Michael Calnan. Michael sees the world like no other person I know. If you were born wearing creative glasses, Michael is wearing his upside down! In the final year of Art College, his exam piece involved just two components, each weighing over 100 kg, cantilevering off each other in a seemingly impossible and strikingly pure composition. Pulling something like this off takes courage. There is always more to a piece than meets the eye, so to fully absorb Michael’s work you must take your time and walk around it; watch how the use of subtle curves versus straight lines produce surprising results. His pieces emanate a degree of simplicity and elegance irrespective of mass and size of material. Michael also has amazing attention to detail and is highly regarded in his field, having been invited to judge the National Irish Craft Awards in 2014 & 15. (by Gunvor Anhøj, Feb 2018).
Gunvor Anhøj. Gunvor hails from a family of engineers and priests, so perhaps it is no surprise she ended up a sculptor. Her first memory of metal was its distinct smell visiting her granddad’s workshop on the West Coast of Denmark; and her first meeting with iron as a tool, was when required to plough the fields the old way with horses and a one-furrow plough. I feel her work has a hint of that agrarian past; there’s an abundance of primitivity to be found in her cor-ten steel sculpture, as though they were made from primordial pedons of soil or simply stacked like rough-hewn timber lumber. The segments of her bronze pieces might be bark and sticks – or apples and forks – often trailing an outline of an idea rather than the literal portrayal. To retain a sense of the human touch, Gunvor purposely leaves her maker’s marks in the form of heavy surface texture. (by Michael Calnan, Feb 2018).