Blacksmithing --- Lost Craft Reborn

Livingston Center for the Arts, Livingston, Montana Sept 21 - October 16, 2004

The ancient art of Blacksmithing, once eclipsed by the Industrial Revolution, is in Renaissance. A century and a half ago, every village had its own blacksmith. He made hardware, swords and plowshares, shoed horses, fixed wagons and made anything of iron that might have been required by his townsfolk. Then, as mass production in urban factories came to be able to produce standard items more cheaply than the local blacksmith could, his craft was doomed. It faded away with little notice by history. Most of the secrets of the craft were simply lost.

Then, the 1970s saw a resurgence in craft-made things of all types. A yearning developed in individuals to create tangible works with their hands instead of pushing paper in an office. Connoisseurs embraced the idea of hand made, functional works of art made especially for them. But with regard to ironwork, virtually nothing had been written about the craft. It had to be learned all over again.


This show presents the Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association members participation in the rebirth of the art of blacksmithing.


  Table. Tom Holcombe.


   Dragon Firetool Set. Marcus Engler


  Table.  Glenn Gilmore


  Cross. John Cook


   Square Bowl. Jim Bolinger


  Copper Clad Mirror. Toni Seccomb


   Firegrate.  Morris Hallowell


   Stair Rail Maquette  -  A working sample for a client commission.  Marcus Engler.

The Northwest Rockies Blacksmith Association is a group of dedicated blacksmiths of all skill levels that share a hunger to learn as much as possible from each other about forging red-hot iron with fire, hammer and anvil. Of inclination as well as of necessity, blacksmiths tend to be quite open about the secrets of their craft---such as they have been able to rediscover. Groups such as ours foster the art of blacksmithing primarily by holding conferences at a memberís shop and inviting a skilled craftsman to demonstrate his specialty. The hand forged ironwork at this exhibition is the result of our sharing of skills, techniques, resources and enthusiasm.

Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association.   415 St. Mary's Road, Stevensville, MT 59870   406 531-0211

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