Friday, July 9, 2010

Fiery Friday - Forging Organic Forms

Welcome Everyone,

    When most people think of steel they picture i-beams and rerod snarled together making up the skeliton of a soon to be skyscraper. There are a lot of straight lines and little or no texture. Being a blacksmith allows me to take an uninteresting square bar and turn it into something eye catching. As a lot of artists do, I tend to look towards nature for inspiration. That's why a lot of my products have a little organic flare to them. People seem to easily relate to nature and it's flowing lines, vibrant colors, textures and smells. Although I tend not to color my forgings, I do try and incorperate anything else nature has to offer. Yes, even smells as there is usually a light smell of bees wax on my finished pieces.

Since Jennifer and I life in the middle of the woods, I have always been fascinated with trees. Particularly Oak tree leaves, acorns and bark. Here is my Oak Leaf Bottle Opener, one of my more difficult small pieces I make. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them this was made from a 1/4" x 3/4" flat bar and not cut out from a piece of sheet metal. I have seen a lot of leaves made my cutting them out of sheet metal and personally you just can't get a nice flow from the leaf to it's stem doing it this way. That's why I prefer to forge it out.

You can't have oak leaves without acorns to go with them. This is one of my acorn key chains forged from a 1/2" square bar. This design is one of the first things I made when I started in the blacksmith craft many years ago.

Here is my newest product. It's a corkscrew made to look like two sticks or logs. It has two finely detailed bark textured rods that have been connected without the use of modern tools. That means I did not weld these pieces together, but they have been fused together with a mortice and tennon joint. The corkscrew itself has a bit of an organic look and was also forged without the use of any fancy tools or jigs. I have been wanting to create this piece for over a year now and have just never had the time. Since completing it the other day I have had a plethera of ideas for other corkscrews, with other organic looks. Check out for more information on this product.

Turning cold steel into something organic and warm seems sort of ironic, but it works rather well. They say that imitation is the best form of flattery and I consider it a privilege to imitate the natural world around us that god has created for our enjoyment.

Well, thanks again for stopping by and I look forward to your suggestions for future posts here on Fiery Friday. If you want to see how it's done or just simply have a question, then please feel free to post it here and remember to strike while the iron is hot.

Zach Sartell

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1 comment:

Jim Light said...

Absolutely Stunning. Wish you would post a how to on the leaf and acorn,

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