Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blacksmith David Capes dies

Norfolk UK - DAVID Capes, the Norfolk blacksmith, was killed in a road accident with a car whilst riding his black Honda VT Shadow early on the morning of Sunday 19th April 2009 at Hockering, Norfolk. He was 60.

Born in Heveringham, Norfolk, David trained as a farrier under Jack Barber of Heydon. He was an active member of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association for twenty years, during which time he was their chairman. For several years he worked for Sam Coster of Mongers. Sam said, "David was one of those rare breed of craftspeople for whom even the most humble never became mundane, he put as much of his skill and character into every coat hook as he did into a large commission for a pair of gates. His latches, hinges, handles and curtain poles were wonderful, each an expression of the blacksmith's art. He was a unique and generous character and all of us will miss him greatly."

David was keen on country sports, and would spend much of the shooting season beating and running his dogs. He helped young people wanting to train as blacksmiths. David did demonstrations at fairs and country shows, including The Royal Norfolk Show for many years. He came with Mongers to Salvo Fair 2006 bringing a hand forge which was constantly in operation despite the blistering heat (see photo).

He leaves his wife, Sue, two children, Verity and Marcus, and two grandchildren.

The funeral will be at St. Faiths Crenatorium, Manor Road, Horsham St Faiths, Norwich. NR10 3LF at 12 noon, Monday 11th May followed by a wake at The Fox and Hounds, Lyng, Norfolk NR9 5AL

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  1. 1 May 2009 10:20:28 BST

    Dave Capes was BABA Chairman from 2004 to 2006.
    He was a popular and well liked Chairman who was keen to promote smithing in the UK. While under Dave's Chairmanship he organised several well attended conferences at UK colleges.
    Dave was an active BABA member over many years, and regularly held blacksmithing forge-ins at his workshop which attracted many members for a weekend of smithing and merriment.
    Dave was a craftsman who loved and understood metal, and gave the material life.
    He touched many peoples hearts and will be sadly missed.

    Sally Clark
    BABA Membership Secretary

  2. Norwich Evening News

    Tribute to well-known blacksmith

    David Capes

    28 April 2009 07:46

    Norfolk blacksmith and craftsman David Capes, who was earning a national reputation for his artistic skills, has died in a road accident on the A47 near his home, aged 60.

    He was the last of a generation of working blacksmiths in his native Norfolk, who could turn his hand to any task involving metal.

    And two years ago, he was a driving force behind an initiative to highlight the creative work of blacksmiths.

    The Art on the Edge exhibition at Carleton Forehoe involved 14 exhibitors from across the county last year. As he explained: “We're trying to get different things in the public eye so people can see different ways of looking at art.”

    He was a former chairman of the British Artist Blacksmiths' Associa-tion, which has raised the profile of workers in metals over the past 30 years.

    Mr Capes, of Frans Green, East Tuddenham, was largely self-taught and worked for traditional black-smith Jack Barber, who ran the forge at Heydon, near Reepham. Under Mr Barber's guidance from 1965, he made and repaired farm implements, hinges and bolts and also became a well-known farrier for about 20 years until back problems led to him developing his artistic flair.

    Born at Haveringland, the son of a carpenter, Mr Capes was not a great one for education but he caught the metal-working bug from a teacher, Mr Johnson, head of metalwork at Hellesdon Secondary Modern School.

    The teenager, who left school at 15 and stood just 5ft 4ins, even returned to take evening classes, so he could keep practising with the tools.

    Almost 20 years ago, he started out on his own. Initially based at a forge behind Morton Hall, near Attlebridge, he repaired gates, railings and other tasks for Lady Prince-Smith's estate. Gradually, he built up a reputation for making items for house and barn conversions, including doorknobs, latches, hooks and hangers.

    But he came into his own with artistic metal magic as he created sprouting fungi, curling leaves or restoring the finials of ornate gates at Regent's Park by crafting intricate acanthus leaves. His work can be seen on his doorstep in the village signs at Morton-on-the-Hill and Swannington as well as national group commissions in London and Newcastle.

    In his 44 years of working with metal, he left his mark.

    He leaves a widow, Sue, and two children, Marcus and Verity, and a granddaughter.


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