During the late 1950s and early 1960s, David Shadwick became interested in blacksmithing. A retired agriculture teacher gave him a forge. After burning many pieces, and with the art of blacksmithing on the demise, his interest waned.
A few years ago he discovered the John C. Campbell Folk School, and it rekindled his passion for blacksmithing. Since then he has studied under some of the country's best artist-blacksmiths at the school. He also came across The Artist-Blacksmith Quarterly, a publication that describes the techniques and tools used by the blacksmiths at the Samuel Yellin shops during the golden age of iron work of the early 1900s. The training at the Folk School and the articles published in the Quarterly have inspired him to recreate the look and feel of the vintage iron work of that era.
The following quote guides his work: “There is nothing that is unseen.” In other words, any flaw will be seen. He designs each piece with traditional techniques in mind. Rivets, collars and other traditional techniques are combined with modern processes to recreate the look and feel of vintage iron work. Many people visiting his show booths comment that this type of iron work looks like it was made in the days of their grandfathers. Comments like these indicate that he is on the right path toward recreating the look and feel of vintage iron work.
This attention to detail helped him become a juried member of the Kentucky Crafted program, The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the Sheltowee Artisans.