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IronFest Blacksmithing Regional Conference

Visit the IronFest website at www.ironfest.org for details.

IronFest 2005: Artistic and Functional Ironwork
by David W. Wilson

An excellent combination of artistic and functional demonstrations was on display at IronFest 2005. The event was held June 3-5, 2005 in Grapevine, Texas. The blacksmiths at IronFest helped to establish the word "artist" in "artist blacksmith". Jim Wallace, David Ponsler, Peter Sevin, and even vendors and glass artists participated.

Jim Wallace worked in a full range of chasing, hand hammering and power hammer work to create wonderful ironwork. A harpoon, letter opener and a large kinetic sculpture resembling a feather were a few of Jim’s accomplishments. He entertained the audience with colorful descriptions of the National Ornamental Metal Museums large projects. Jim's knowledge of metalworking is truly amazing.

David Ponsler's topic "Beyond Fold-Forming" produced numerous beautiful examples. Several copper pieces had extraordinary patinas. David created some very difficult fluid forms, effortlessly. His large fold-formed iron sculpture was mounted on a plow disc base. Its fine lines and textures invited touching it and moving around the seemingly massive sculpture.

A southwestern style was reflected in Peter Sevin's two excellent table lamps. Sevin assembled the numerous textural pieces into functional lighting items with Spanish and Art Deco influences. Peter also forged a fine double caliper and later a nice rose from one circular plate. He displayed an excellent finial sample for railing use.

In the public area, vendor James Johnson showed the many uses of the Anyang power hammer. His examples had detailed and varied textures resembling wood grain.

As a fascinating sidelight, Bill Davis of Saltfork Craftsmen worked with the Vetro Glass Studio artist David Gappa to create an iron and glass sculpture. An unusual method was used by blowing the glass into the iron stand. The glass was then removed, annealed and re-inserted for a perfect fit, creating an outstanding work of art.

The blacksmith shop crew worked long hours, including Tom Clark's nail-making contest. Tom also furnished the use of power hammers for the demonstrators.

David "String Bean" Lowry's auctioneering skills entertained the audience at the excellent auction, Saturday night. On display were an extraordinary range of items that were products of a very rewarding conference. Thanks to all of these fine artists. We're now looking forward to IronFest, June 1-3, 2007!

David W.



Jim Wallace forming the feather area of kinetic sculpture.


Peter Sevin's lamp base


David Ponsler's copper sample of fold-forming


Peter Sevin creating a part for table lamp.


Jim Wallace working on iron bracelet.


Vase by Bill Davis (iron) and David Gappa (glass)


David Ponsler describing fold-forming methods


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