A METALWORKER is beating the recession with top-class artwork in Hartlepool.
Martin Brown, who runs the Flaxton Craftworks in Flaxton Street in town, has just unveiled a huge work in the Burn Valley.
In conjunction with the Burn Valley Rejuvenation Consortium, he has created a steelwork which comes complete with trees, leaves, insects - all across a bridge.
“There’s a lot of work in it,” said Martin who hails originally from the east end of London and came to Hartlepool in 1991 during the last recession of 1991.
Martin admitted: “I like the people, I like the place, You have got the beaches and the open spaces. You have got very friendly people and I can earn a living here. There seems to be plenty of work.”
The six-week Burn Valley project is now in place but he has immediately moved on to another piece which has special significance this year in particular.
He is creating a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the First World War and is working in conjunction with Catcote School in Hartlepool.
“It will include a pill box and barbed wire and Catcote School is making poppies,” said Martin.
“I have been working on it for three to four months. Most of it is made out of recycled material such as old oil drums and scraps of steel.”
Martin has been based at Flaxton Street for seven years. Before that, his business was based in the Raby Road area of town.
Martin added: “I settled here doing the metal works and the place has grown into retro clothing, artworks and a joinery shop. It is a good mix of different crafts that we have here.”
As well as Martin, his wife Jen runs the retro clothing area while Roy Hugill operates the joinery which is upstairs.
Martin is happy with his business and added: “I have not been affected by the downturn. It seems that the more work I do, the more recommendations I get. I have quite good links with the schools in town.”
His latest First World War project will eventually be based at a plot in the Marina area where Martin has previously done work on a tall ships theme.
He said: “I felt that, with it being 100 years since the First World War, we should do something.
“If it was not for these people, we would probably not be here today.”