The real ironman

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The real ironman of Spain
Working in the forge at night

Miguel is the local ironman, but much more than that. Miguel is truly an artist and makes amazing sculptures, some so intricately woven that it is hard to believe that they were made of iron. He has strong shoulders and fleshy hands, both strengthened and moulded by his trade. His work can be seen in towns through out Castellón, and the sculpture in the middle of Atzeneta’s roundabout is his.

The real ironman of Spain
The sculpture in the middle of the roundabout

Although in his mid 50’s, he has only left Spain once, at the age of 19, to visit the South of France. He loves El Maestrat and knows all the old roads like the backs of his hands. Nothing pleases him more than to make an excursion in his 40 year old Mercedes, winding up and down the back roads, looking for old thickened trees, bits of rusting iron and ancient abandoned mills. He treasures the architecture of the old towns, and especially the intricate hand hewn ironwork much in evidence everywhere.

The real ironman of Spain
hammer and heat in the forge

I have accompanied him more than once, both to photograph his works, and to record fine details of these historical iron creations for his archives. In fact it is through his eyes that I have come to appreciate the beauty of iron and the considerable skill required to carve and shape it by hand, hammer and fire.

The real ironman of Spain
Miguel Belle’s cubist period

No outing is complete without a pleasant meal somewhere sampling delicious local foods and wines – for fine dining spent with good friends is the other great love of Miguel’s life. I don’t know how many times he has said to each and every one of his friends that “Life is a collection of precious moments” to which they say, I know, I know Miguel, you have told me before!


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