As an artist who has recently undergone a change in situation and location, I found the topic of “transitions” to be quite appropriate for some of the ideas and shapes I was developing in my head and translating to the drawing board. Having recently finished the MFA program in blacksmithing at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, I moved back east to run a shop called The Center for Metal Arts that teaches workshops and builds commission work. It was a big move, physically and mentally, that I knew would be accompanied by a long period of adjustment.
After finishing a body of work that represented the completion of my grad school experience I felt it would be sometime before I was able to focus on sculptural work again. I was ok with that as I felt the shop I just moved into and the business itself needed lots of work. I have been there for about a year and a half and most of that time has been spent teaching, making tools for the shop, fixing and installing machinery, and building commission work. Throughout this year and a half I would find myself becoming inspired sculpturally by some of the commission work I was designing and forging. Inspiration came from working with friends and colleagues hashing out ideas, and some came from material challenges I was interested in that took lots of trial and error to figure out how to execute.
In short, this piece is a direct result of my transition from grad school life into the “real world” of running a business and trying to succeed as an artist / craftsman. Without any conscience relationship to post WW1, for me personally it represents everything related to transitions. This work embodies both sculptural elements that I have hung on to and developed during my Carbondale experience, and new ideas I have developed during my time at a new shop, meeting new people, and faced with new challenges.
Always inspired by the physical process of forging and metalsmithing, building this piece helped me make the necessary adjustments and changes needed to my new shop to comfortably produce work that was representative of everything that inspires me about the future of forging and craft as a means to produce sculpture.