Sketches in Steel

The work selected for this exhibition was completed over the last seven years, and varies in size from one to seven feet in height. While two of the larger pieces, “A Bomb Sculptor” and “Lest We Forget -a tableaux in straight lines” were actually done using sketches on paper as references. Many of the other works were created directly in the studio -hence the show’s title, “Sketches in Steel.” Sculptors working additively in steel, at least this one, tend to follow the studio tactics of the great modern sculptor David Smith …with a basic idea in mind, compose and design as you go. David would often kick metal pieces around on the studio floor until an idea clicked that pleased him. Much studio time is spent looking for just the right piece, or cutting a new piece, to make the sculpture really come alive in its design!

Other design considerations are used when forging red-hot steel with the power hammer. Instant decision-making must take place in this creative technique, as the work heat only lasts for a half a minute or so. When forging steel, design builds much the way it does for a potter, with each action dictating a reaction. A successful forged piece requires knowing when to stop, just as much as it depends on that critical last 300# hammer blow!

While examples from each of these processes are present in this show, most of my work is additive, with some forging for accent and texture. I admire blacksmithing greatly, but in no way consider myself a traditional blacksmith. My goal in creating a successful sculpture is to build a piece that seems effortless in its balance and construction …a work that looks as if it were simply meant to be!

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