In an old woolshed behind the stoic clutch of colonial-era sandstone buildings of Hartley historic village, Ron Fitzpatrick fashions his metal art on the forge.
Tucked into the side of a hill under the hulking gaze of a granite tor, his Talisman Gallery is located in the undulating pasturelands of the NSW Central West at the western foothills of the towering Blue Mountains escarpment.
Inside, the essence of legends fuse with hints of make-believe characters, and imaginings from epic tales and sweeping landscapes resonate through pieces
named ‘Goddess of Transformation’, ‘Celtic Queen’, ‘Triskelle Shadow’ and ‘Dance of Fire’.
Fitzpatrick's blower on the forge puffs nostalgia onto searing metal as it yields to his design. The metal seems to hold that wistful breath, waiting for
an unsuspecting customer to run their fingertips over its curves and crevices. It exhales so the casual browser hears the whisper of thundering horses,
feels the creak of great castle gates, and the metal piece becomes their longed-for treasure.
The location helps, although Fitzpatrick believes the attraction to Celtic-inspired artwork lies in the metal itself representing the romantic notion of
a lost era; a simpler lifestyle; clearly defined values; and endurance and quality.
“It's an ancient material that comes straight from the earth. That you can make something so beautiful out of something with such strength fascinates me
and draws me to it. I think it's the same for a lot of other people. I've had people come in and immediately say: `Mmm. That's very Game of Thrones'.
Before that it was Lord of the Rings.” – Ron Fitzpatrick.
Visitors to Talisman Gallery are also nostalgic for lost arts and skills, Fitzpatrick adds: “They see me making stuff and that transports them back a bit.
Nobody sees anybody making stuff anymore. Nobody meets makers anymore.
Some people come in here and it's almost like a dream for them – there's this guy living the ideal and you look out there and the sun's shining a spotlight
on the escarpment and I've got so much stuff here that it's almost like a film set.”
Fitzpatrick believes his Celtic-inspired designs are manifestations of the ancient symbols and ideas he sees during his daily meditations.
"In my own case, I think it's a past life thing. I'm trying to sculpt my spiritual journey. When an idea comes to me through meditation it comes from a
space of pure inspiration and subconscious.
Years ago I had to make some sets for Sydney Theatre Company for a Shakespearean play. The sets were done in a Celtic design and I really connected with
that, which is where I came up with my Celtic-inspired mirrors.''
Fitzpatrick's artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.
Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, his art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture
from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.
Visitors to Talisman Gallery can also wander around Hartley historic village, have refreshments at the café and watch Ron Fitzpatrick at work.
Those yearning for a time before time can grab their own piece of metal art and face the fire-breathing dragons of a modern world in fantastic Celtic style.
Talisman Gallery at Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am
to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details: Ron 0407 723 722, firstname.lastname@example.org or the Facebook page
@Talisman Gallery Hartley.
Photo credit: David Hill, Deep Hill Media. Ron Fitzpatrick proudly presenting one of his art pieces.