Inspiration is important in any art form. Where do you get yours?
I find creative inspiration from the natural world, my travels, studies and the work at hand, each piece with its own delightful detail and texture. I teach at different art/craft schools in the U.S.; working with the students brings inspiration. I’m also fascinated with historical metalwork.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am forging 10 sections of my branch railings, two sets of custom fireplace doors, also hinges and latches for a gate and door. My present projects range from Montana to Florida.
Describe one of your favorite pieces, and why it was so special.
At a historic ranch here in Western Montana I used a 100-year-old wagon wheel that had been found on the ranch to make entry door hardware. I used the old metal tire for the escutcheon plate and used three of the spokes welded together to create each of the handles. I also forged the thumb lever and interior knob from the wheel. You can see the end of the spokes in the escutcheon plate. I like that when you open the door you are touching 100 years of the ranch’s history.
You moved to Montana 20 years ago. How does living in the beauty of the Bitterroot impact your work?
Well, looking out my studio windows or stepping out the door takes my breathe away. It makes your spirit soar and sure gives you the energy to keep being creative.
So what does a blacksmith artist do to relax after long days at the forge?
Hike, cross-country ski, garden... and think about the next project I am designing. There is no finish line...