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Handcrafted Coal Ornaments

Updated on June 2, 2017
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I strive to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.

Welsh coalminer hand made from coal
Welsh coalminer hand made from coal

Art Décor in Coal

Handcrafted Ornaments from Coal is such a brilliant use of a natural material, and with the hand crafted skill that goes into making them (often from ex-miners) coal ornaments are good value for money and when displayed with your other ornaments looks just great.

Appreciation of the Beauty of Handcrafted and Carved objects made from Natural Materials is almost as old as humankind itself; only cave art predates carved wood, stone and bone art.

This article takes a look at our modest but precise collection of hand carved coal ornaments and offers you a chance to share in the delight and beauty of this Fine Art. And if you're searching for ideas for presents handcrafted coal ornaments which is a bit out of the ordinary makes for great gifts to anyone who appreciate the Fine Art in their Ornaments.

Hand Made in Wales Coal Ornaments
Hand Made in Wales Coal Ornaments

Our Modest Handcrafted Coal Figurine Collection

Quality rather than Quantity

It all started with the hand carved 'horse' picked up from a motorway service station between Bristol and London as a gift to my wife; purchased many years, not too long after the British Coalmining Industry had been decimated by the then incumbent government during a power struggle between government and unions.

My wife quickly warmed to the hand carved horse and now whenever travelling around the UK we always keep an eye open for good handcrafted coal ornaments to add to our collection. It's not often we see handmade coal ornaments on our travels but when we do we often find something to add to our collection. As we don't often see handcrafted coal ornaments in tourist shops when on holiday in the UK our collection is still modest with just four coal figurines, the horse, a squirrel, a welsh woman and a welsh Coalminer.

All the figurines in our current collection are handcrafted from Welsh coal, often by ex-coal miners. The horse was the first to our collection, the Welsh lady is the most eloquent with the coalminer pushing a coal waggon my favourite and the squirrel is just cute.

Welsh Lady Hand Made Coal Figurine

A Welsh Ornament of Beauty

The figurine of the Welsh lady handcrafted from coal depicts a woman in traditional welsh costume standing in front of a sign written in welsh that reads "croeso y cymru" which translates into English to read 'Welcome to Wales'.

As depicted on the base of the ornament the figurine of the Welsh Woman was made in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales by Creative Innovations with coal mined from Tower Colliery which is the last working deep mine in Wales.

Welsh Woman hand made from coal
Welsh Woman hand made from coal

Animals Handcrafted From Coal

The Horse and Squirrel

Cute; animals are cute, and in comparison with the welsh woman and welsh coalminer the handmade models of the horse and squirrel are simplistic but nevertheless appealing in their own right.

I love nature so an opportunity to buy models of animals made from coal, and add to our elite collection of handcrafted coal ornaments, when browsing tourist shops on holiday is always a pleasure.

Horse handcrafted from coal
Horse handcrafted from coal
Squirrel hand made from welsh coal
Squirrel hand made from welsh coal
Coalminer handcrafted from Welsh coal
Coalminer handcrafted from Welsh coal

Welsh Coalminer Hand Made Coal Figurine

A Welsh Ornament of Distinction Depicting the History and Roots to the Modern Age

The figurine of the Welsh coalminer is my favourite, it depicts a welsh coalminer pushing a coal waggon and is exquisite in detail even down to seeing the individual lumps of coal in the coal waggon. It's rather poignant in that a model of a coal miner pushing a waggon brimming with coal is itself made from a lump of coal. This figurine of a welsh coalminer is even more emotive in what it represents; a dying industry that not too long ago was a powerhouse upon which traditional British Industries e.g. the steel industry and ship building drew their strength, and more in coal being the foundation upon which Britain was built, having provided the energy for the Industrial revolution providing the power and fuel for the steam age in the Victorian era and on into modern Britain heating the homes of the mass populous and in providing the energy for the electricity that powered industry and home alike for over a century.

As they say, figuratively speaking, a picture says a thousand words or in this case a 3D model of a coalminer conveys a thousand meanings.

Coal as a Fossil Fuel

The Power Struggle of Coal

Coal, like oil, is a fossil fuel which in the current climate of 'greenhouse effect' is a dirty word due to the greenhouse gases released during its use. Britain was fortunate in sitting on a large oil and natural gas reserve in the North Sea just off the west coast of Scotland, although it is a limited resource and reserves are being depleted. However, Britain is sitting on 200 years' worth of untapped coal reserves under our feet that's not being mined and under the current political climate isn't likely to be either for the following reasons:-

1. Firstly, and the one on the tip of most peoples tongues, the so called greenhouse effect. Burning coal in traditional coal power stations to produce electricity releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases, and other unwanted pollutants, into the atmosphere, although technology exists that with political and populous will could be further developed to filter out and collect these unwanted pollutants; many of which could be re-used as a by-product beneficially in other manufacturing processes for producing other products.

2. The second reason for ceasing large scale coalmining in Britain is the increased cost of digging ever increasingly deep seams of coal from the ground; but I'm sure with advancements in modern technology and the political will many of the technical issues could be overcome and coal production could be made more cost effective.

3. The third and I think the real underlying reason why the coal industry was decimated in the 1980s in the UK was purely political in that at the time coal was the prime power source for running British Industry, providing most of the electricity needs for commercial properties and domestic homes alike; this high level of dependence on coal for power gave the coalminers mining the coal the potential power to bring the country to its knees during any industrial dispute.

The Future of Renewable Energies

Research and Development

I don't know what your views are on 'climate change' but being of a scientific mind and taking an interest in such subjects I'm aware that climate does change with or without human intervention; and most probably at this time without the human influence we would be edging towards another ice age period. As I'm cold intolerant I know my preference is towards heat rather than cold.

During the dinosaur era the planet was a lot hotter than it is now, albeit sea levels were also far higher. The dinosaurs not only survived during this hot phase in the earth's climate but thrived. It's not always so much climate change in itself that can be devastating but more the rate of change; a rapid change in climate can be disastrous whereas slow changes gives time for eco systems (including us in our environment) to be adaptive e.g. to move to higher ground and to reclaim lands previously covered by ice.

While alternatives to fossil fuels is developed I think there is still room for research and development to deliver clean fuel from coal albeit it wouldn't be cheap, but neither is the building and decommissioning of the much favoured nuclear-power stations around the world. In my view the risk and potential radioactive devastation from nuclear power is far greater than the greenhouse effects from fossil fuel. There's also a greater potential for renewable energy sources in Britain than isn't being tapped, mainly due to the lack of populous and political will.

Britain isn't exactly a sunny climate so there are limits with solar power but with advancements in solar panel technology it can be economically viable to utilise the roofs of people homes, especially south facing roofs; and in the UK energy providers are under a legal obligation from the government to pay the householder for any surplus energy the homeowner produces; with that surplus energy being fed back into the national grid for use elsewhere.

Where Britain has a potential for a win/win and yet underutilised energy source is water and wind power. Britain is a wet and windy land surrounded by high seas; many of our fast flowing waterways are under tapped. I know many people will think there are not that many suitable rivers in Britain and will argue that you can't build watermills in built up areas and that they would have to be built on big fast flowing rivers way out in the country. However Britain is over flowing with rivers and the Victorians and their predecessors demonstrated that you don't need large fast flowing rivers to economically and commercially extract usable energy from water. For an example Uley in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire (where I lived in my childhood years) is a prime example of what can be achieved when there is the political and economic will. Uley, a small village with a population of just 1,000 people has no rivers, just lots of springs feeding small streams, yet during the 18th and 19th century over ten commercial watermills were built specifically to generate waterpower for the woollen industry. If the Victorians and the people before them could tap into water power at that small scale and make it commercially pay I'm sure with today's technology we could do a much more efficient job at generating energy from such small sources of water.

Transition from Fossil Fuel

Although the technologies for clean renewable energy is here now it’s obvious that it’s going to take time before wind, water and solar power are fully established to provide all our energy needs. In the meantime we could continue burning fossil fuels and spend serious money into research and development to more efficiently extract unwanted greenhouse gases during the burning process so fewer pollutants reach the atmosphere or we could continue with building even more nuclear power stations at the risks of contaminating the world with radiation.

Until Renewable Energy is fully established should we rely more on fossil fuels e.g. coal or nuclear fuel for power.

Your views and comments on coal as a fossil fuel and cool coal ornaments

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Climate change is nothing to do with the human race. It's caused by cycles that the earth goes through and has done for billions of years!

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      soaringsis 4 years ago

      This is new to me (coal ornaments), very fascinating and beautiful pieces. Thanks for sharing.