A talented sculptor is aiming to make his mark in Ironbridge after branching out into a new high street store.
Nik Burns and his partner Corrine Keady have opened Angler Fish Interiors at 9 Tontine Hill in the town as they looks to grow Nik’s sculpture business which he first established a decade ago.
Customers will be able to buy his unique, handcrafted items, made with heritage skills from metal, wood and brass, at the store as well as specialist prints and t-shirts which he has designed himself.
To add a little more diversity, Nik and Corrine have asked local artists Mandy Ferriday and Duncan White to exhibit some of their creations in the shop.
Mandy creates stunning wall art using Inks and mixed media while Duncan who works predominantly in ceramics creates miniature scenes and pots decorated in the style of a bygone age.
Nik and Corrine have been supported with a business start-up grant through Telford & Wrekin Council’s Pride in Our High Street programme to launch on the high street.
Now they are hoping their shop and the items they sell, which are made using reclaimed items and high quality materials, will bring something different to Ironbridge as well as increase footfall to the town.
Nik has always created his products in his own workshop but feels the time is right to move into a full time high street premises – opening up a bigger shop window to customers.
Nik said: “After 10 years of taking our work and selling our goods to galleries and art shows, including RHS Malvern, FRESH Ascot and Autumn Fair NEC, we want to bring our unique sculptures to the high street.
“Ironbridge is the ideal home for our products. The industrial heritage of the area is a perfect fit for the quirky handmade pieces we produce and materials like wood, iron, brass and copper.
“We create bespoke sculptures based on marine life, insects and animal forms. The pieces are made of combinations of wood and metal and each piece is entirely handcrafted in Shropshire.
“We have become well known for our best-selling product, the Anglerfish lamp, which has sold all around the world.
“With over 450,000 visitors coming to the Ironbridge Gorge each year it is a major tourist destination.
“Customers will want to take home something memorable from their visit and our products will certainly give them this.”
Current Angler Fish Interior products also include monster lamps, jewellery and wall art and the business is also aiming to offer framed sketches/prints, greetings cards and t-shirts.
Nik will predominantly work in his established workshop making stock for the new shop while Corrine will take over the day to day running of the unit along with administration duties.
Nik added: “The business has continue to grow steadily year on year making a healthy profit but customers are always asking if I have my own shop.
“Since moving to the area three years ago, we’ve been eagerly waiting to open a shop in Ironbridge and the Pride in Our High Street team have played a big part in making that happen for us.
“We are looking forward to the challenge of running this business on the high street in Ironbridge and hopefully, it continues to grow and be popular with new and existing customers.
“Hopefully, the creations will catch the eye of tourists visiting Ironbridge who are looking for a bespoke sculpture or one of our designed prints.”
Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Place (the Economy & Neighbourhood Services), said: “The Pride in Our High Street programme has helped many businesses to launch on our high streets in the borough since it was launched in 2018.
“It’s important to give unique businesses like Angler Fish Interiors, which bring something different to our towns, the opportunity to have a high street presence.
“Ironbridge is the perfect location for this business, an area which attracts thousands of visitors each year.
“We wish Nik and the Angler Fish Interiors team all the best with their new venture.”
You can find out more about grants available through the Pride in Our High Street programme here: Pride in our high street – Telford & Wrekin Council
Photo: Councillor Carolyn Healy (Lab) Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Green Spaces, Heritage and Leisure, far right, with Angler Fish Interiors owners Nik Burns and Corrine Keady, centre, at the shop opening.