Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. James Virgo, founder of James Virgo Cast Bronze Designs, creates his product with his bare hands, which have landed in the gardens at Buckingham Palace. His designs are making his mark in the U.K.
I am an engineer, artist and inventor. I combined these professions into one to invent and sculpt new products in a unique way- from the smallest pieces of jewelry to street furniture. I started my career after managing multiple foundries, eventually set up my business in a small foundry in 1999.
My designs come from life experience. I am inspired by a sight, a smell or even a piece of music that inspires me. I have a story for every piece I have made.
Some of my work is high-profile. My commissions include a bench for Buckingham Palace garden, ensign posts for Westminster Abbey and I have worked with the late, architect Sir Antony Haro. I have also collaborated with Patricia Lovett, a calligrapher scribe and illuminator to produce a sculpture 'Apples of Gold'.
My latest venture is designing and creating a unique product, Bronze Bow Ties. These works combine art, fashion and sculpture and come in a variety of designs and finishes. The basic model is cast in bronze, then polished. The colors are produced by adding chemicals (patination). The silver model is cast in bronze and then coated with silver. Possible additions include gold, bronze leaf and diamonds.
For the sartorially-savvy these creations make a perfect accessory for black tie events and weddings or to reflect a hobby or interest.
I have recently created six individual bow ties to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's six decades on the throne with half the cost benefitting charity. I also create one-off pieces of sculpture depicting everyday events.