Grant Oatley and Ironshirt
As a teenager I was lucky enough to live next to an amazing man who was building his own house. This man had no previous experience, and learnt the skills and techniques he needed as he went along. Using largely recycled materials and those he could find readily available in his own environment, the resulting home was the craziest place I have ever seen, and I loved it. The impact of this man’s approach to creating a space for himself and his family, and the beauty and artistry of the finished home had a profound effect on me, and set me on the path that has led to the creation of Ironshirt
I began a practical study of structural building work in 1981, and over 3 years learnt first to build dry stone walls, progressing to stone and mortar walls and on to stone pillars and arches. This was all part of the renovation of a traditional Devon longhouse.
General building work then funded various structural and mechanical exploits, and a time spent building props and sets for films gave a better understanding of design.
The 90’s took me from the workshops of Amsterdam to the mountains of France and brought, among other things, an opportunity to work with an experienced boat builder, a course in welding and fabrication that included the design and building of a human gyroscope, and a short apprenticeship in diesel mechanics.
2005 saw the culmination of years of building, design and creativity in the form of Ironshirt. Ironshirt was created as a working concept incorporating building, metal work and skills training. Since it’s inception I've worked on many projects, with time spent on development and research whilst building practical and unique structures with an emphasis on beauty and craftsmanship coupled with low impact sustainability.