During the late 1950s to early in the 1960s I became interested in blacksmithing, and a retired agriculture teacher gave me a forge. After burning many pieces in an attempt to create a few items, and with the art of blacksmithing being almost dead, my interest waned.
A few years ago the discovery of the John C. Campbell Folk School rekindled my passion for blacksmithing. Since then I’ve studied under some of the country's best artist-blacksmiths that come there to teach. At the school, I 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 me to recreate the look and feel of the vintage iron work of that era.
The following quote has stayed with me and guides my work. “There is nothing that is unseen”; meaning any flaw will be seen. Each piece is designed 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 my show booths comment that this type of iron work looks like it was made in the days of their grandfathers. Comments like these indicate I’m on the right path toward recreating the look and feel of vintage iron work.
My attention to detail has allowed me to become a juried member of the Kentucky Crafted program, The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the Sheltowee Artisans.