Blacksmithing is an ancient craft which has been around for 3000 years and is still very much alive today. What do you think of though when you hear the title 'Blacksmith' - horseshoes? Perhaps the making of swords, ploughs, tools? Yes, traditionally these would have been part of every blacksmiths repertoire indeed still are, but what I am passionate about is promoting the blacksmith as an artist.
I am a traditionally trained British Artist Blacksmith living and working in Hertfordshire. Having studied for two years under Master Blacksmith Michelle Parker FWCB, I continued to gain skills and experience working under the guiding hand and tutelage of Master Blacksmith Steven Rook FWCB for the last year. Since 2013 I have been working as an independent blacksmith and artist completing both private and public commissions and displaying my work in galleries like the ArtWorks art gallery in Lark Lane Liverpool and I have also been accepted by the Dot Art gallery in Castle Street Liverpool.
There are many things that influence and inspire me in the work that I do in the forge. Muchof the inspiration is drawn from traditional tribal art work and artefacts. I am particularly interested in the cultures and artistry of the head hunting tribes of Borneo, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Alongside the inclusion of indigenous peoples’ art and motifs I am also influenced in my designs by the organic shapes and forms to be found in bio-mechanical art and the sculptural forms and functions of the Art Nouveau period, I find the fluid organic shapes and designs to be visually very powerful yet often very simple. René Lalique was an exponent of this naturalistic style in his early jewellery and glass designs, before gaining further renown in the 1920s for his glassware in the Art Deco style which ; in many ways; was ahead of its time.
Although my mentor has no problem with me using space in his workshop, them time is coming where I will need to take the next step on my journey, with the funds raised from this project I will be able to develop my trade as an independent craftsman.
The Crowdfunder project funds raised will go towards helping me to purchase more tooling which will be another step in getting set up in my own workshop and allowing me to take my business to the next level professionally in terms of both practical skills and the projects I will be able to undertake, allowing me greater scope for marketing my work and, most importantly the blacksmith as artist as well as craftsman. I will be able to do demonstrations and help to show the general public what a fantastic craft blacksmithing really is.
These displays would be held at craft fairs and any other events that I may be able to attend. For example I will be demonstrating at the ArtWorks gallery in Lark Lane Liverpool over the weekend of July 12th/13th this year where members of the public will be able to watch as pieces of art are created using skills and techniques largely unchanged for hundreds of years.
Crowdfunder will also enable me to develop further skills and training within my craft. I am very interested in the ancient technique of Repoussé.
Repoussé is the method of decorating metals in which parts of the design are raised in relief from the back of the piece by means of hammers and punches; definition and detail can then be added from the front by chasing or engraving. The name Repoussé is derived from the French pousser, “to push forward.” This ancient technique, which has been used all through the history of metalworking, had heavy use in Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.
Your funding would support me in developing my skills further in what is truly a wonderful, dramatic and detailed form of metal manipulation. Funds raised would allow me to attend Master Classes with some of the UK’s Repoussé masters such as Paul Allen of Art In Metal.
Please help me to raise the profile of the Blacksmith as an artist through funding this project.
Doug Campbell, Artist Blacksmith