Grandpa was a tool collector, artifact hunter and yard art aficianado. We spent our time together discussing found arrowheads, the combination of stick and stone for tomahawks, and utilizing steel gizmos to decorate the yard.
MÖTALÍF metal sculptures began in earnest during those seasons with Grandpa the innovator. Grandpa the craftsman. Grandpa the metalsmith. Grandpa the ornamental artist.
He unknowingly taught the significance of yard ‘eye candy’ – placed in just the right spot. If you’ve ever been to Ohio you know exactly what we mean – ancient blacksmith and agricultural tools that fill garages and basements; the rest sacrificed as outdoor ornaments that perfectly accent one’s garden.
Having lived across the street from Galion’s Train Depot where ore and steel were hauled through town, we often walked the tracks looking for lost treasure – successfully. Grandpa’s spirit of exploration, love of life and constant wonderings, ‘What can we make out of this?’ forged chunks of our souls. His devotion to ancient tools and their uses made him a connoisseur of metal art that created new ‘life’ while tempering our future.
During those formidable years, our family moved to England in the 70’s at which time I met one of the greatest blacksmiths to ever walk the face of the earth. Encouraged by my folks to play with his kids during visits, soon after arriving I would casually work my way into his Claydon-based smithy. Stuart Hill forged the impossible.
The ‘living’ sculptures he created from chunks of pure wrought iron went on to become world famous. He pioneered ways of joining iron no one had previously dreamed. Consequently, many were patented. The wrought he combined with free-hand designs and other artisan materials beckoned commissions from the Queen. Today, Stuart’s work can be found in many museums, books and publications.
What I loved most about Stuart – like Grandpa – was his patience and willingness to pass along his knowledge and skill to others.
The culmination of Stuart and Grandpa – their ability to express, enhance and imitate life by hand-shaping or joining common earth elements – cemented my vocation as an artist…a blacksmith, and they and are the foundation of every MÖTALÍF sculpture.
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