G. Kenneth Thomas | Southern Highland Craft Guild Skip to content

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I have been working as a blacksmith for over twenty years. I began my career by taking a class at the John C Campbell Folk School. I moved on to work with Mitch Fitzgibbon of Mayville, New York. There I worked on hardware for tall ships, which I feel has given me the skill to work very accurately. Much of my work is created for individual customers. I thoroughly enjoy working with the individual to create something unique for their personal space.


Cold, hard, immovable steel and beautiful, graceful, lines, shapes, and patterns are the oppositions that inspire my work. I work as a blacksmith to achieve balance between these properties. The challenge is to acquire elegance through an exciting process of transforming one into another. There is a satisfaction to creating an object from an inherently cold material which is both sophisticated and warm.

The desire to create a graceful shape begins in the fire. Metal is placed in a forge at temperatures of up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. From the fire it is taken and the process of altering its' shape begins. I use a hammer to draw out the surface and exploit the metal's momentary elasticity. The process of heating and hammering takes place every few minutes until the piece is complete. Ultimately, the piece is converted from bars of steel to a functional object with balance warmth and fluidity.

My work has evolved from a very utilitarian style to one that exemplifies grace, and movement. The qualities of light, texture, and shadow constantly inspire and test my creativity. These characteristics move me closer to resolving the contradictions that inspire my work.

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