Blacksmithing Into the Future
by Nate Burgos
The renewed interest in blacksmithing toward an “artisanal future,” I was reminded of the persons—women and men—who hammer and shape metal. The color of metal is black when heated. The word “smith” refers to making—in this case, objects of metal. It’s a craft of visceral actions and acoustics: forging, drawing, shrinking, bending, welding, and finishing.
Even the title of the blacksmith’s assistant is coined in a cinematic way: striker. Then there’s the environmental aesthetic: open space, anvil, hammer, tongs, vise, water trough, blast furnace. Ultimately, there is the drama of the raw material itself: wrought iron.
In total, the sights and sounds of blacksmithing constitute a mythic scene—and a romantic one. It’s a world where the metal’s heat is matched by the blacksmith’s heat (a more molten and polished version of “Fifty Shades of Grey”).
Their “primary mission is to raise awareness, teach skills, preserve and advance the craft, and broaden and grow the blacksmithing community.”
‘Time Transcending Iron’
Junction City artist to showcase ironwork at Riverfront Arts Center
by Jamie Jung
Blacksmithing has always been a part of life for Boleslaw Kochanowski of Junction City. A third-generation blacksmith, Kochanowski credits his father with helping him develop an interest in the craft. “I’ve been working with iron all my life,” he said.
Kochanowski’s father was a master blacksmith in Poland and was forced to work in a German forced labor camp during World War II. “His high skill saved his life,” Kochanowski said.
Growing up in Chicago, Kochanowski said when he was about 2 to 4 years old, his father would take him to the Chicago Transit Authority shops, where he worked as an industrial blacksmith, and “the smells and sights of worked iron really stuck with me,” he said.
After studying political science in college, Kochanowski realized working with iron was his passion, and with the help of his father, he moved to Junction City in 1979 and built a studio there. He’s been working with iron ever since.
A collection of his iron work will be on display at the Riverfront Arts Center in Stevens Point Friday through Oct. 28. In addition to Kochanowski’s wrought iron forgings and sculpture designs, the show also features blueprints of his work as well as pencil drawings.
Many of the pieces on display at the art gallery are from customers’ private collections, Kochanowski said. The works were lent to the Riverfront Arts Center for the show.
“I work for iron — the ambassador for good things,” Kochanowski said. “I’m taking iron, a common base metal that was used for destruction, and using it for beauty. With this kind of art, I really thought I could be making a good statement.”
Kochanowski, who has been primarily working in stylized realization, said he is shifting to abstract realism for many of his new works — using shadows and voids of negative space to capture his subjects.
“I want to create art that makes you look twice and three times,” he said.
Much of his work also has incorporated the elegance of nature. The grace and robust attributes of birds, in particular, have much in common with the qualities of his iron, he said. This has led to his selection for the prestigious Birds and Arts exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau in 2003, 2005 and, most recently, 2011.
to be continued
Indital USA Announces Launch of New Interactive Website
Indital USA, an Italian wrought iron product manufacturer, specializing in iron handrail stair parts, announced today the launch of their newly crafted website at Indital.com. Aiming for optimal user experience, Indital.com offers a slew of interactive tools to assist with the planning and research of unique handrail designs. The Step One Designer acts as a visual aide that allows customers to seamlessly create and visualize their own design from the convenience of their computer screen before purchasing the parts. In an effort to ensure an optimal user experience, Indital USA also offers a streamlined and efficient checkout, live chat with customer service, and live UPS rates and freight shipping costs.
“The new site aims at being a revolutionary resource for those with a design or vision, to help them bring it to life with our help,” said Ryan Smith Marketing/eCommerce Manager at Indital USA. “We are confident in our product and are excited to see our customer’s projects become a reality with the help of Indital.com.”
Indital USA boasts an extensive inventory of wrought iron parts, including balusters, newels, rosettes, panels and forged artistic pieces, and has access to thousands of wrought iron parts, many of which contain patterns and designs not found anywhere else in the marketplace. Customers can search and shop this exclusive selection straight from the Indital.com. Also available for customers, a slew of additional resources, including video tutorials, literature and catalogs, to assist in the design and implementation of almost any stainless steel railing system.
The new site by Indital USA not only allows designers and architects the opportunity to visualize entire projects exclusively online before purchasing any parts, but also provides the knowledge and tools necessary to create unique iron handrail systems.
TV programme to feature Dorset blacksmith’s work
Simon Grant-Jones is a contributor in the BBC4 programme ‘The Blacksmith’s Tale’ and a piece of ironwork that he made recently will feature in the film.
The Kingston Maurward College blacksmith and forgework tutor said: “When the BBC first called me, they just wanted information.
“They had no idea I was making this wrought iron screen.
“It was made for Kingston Maurward Gardens as a commission and is to reflect the period of Kingston Maurward House, around 1720.
“It just so happens that this fitted perfectly with the programme that the BBC was making on wrought iron.
“Traditional techniques are used throughout and everything is contemporary to the early 18th Century style of working.
“My inspiration for blacksmithing is a man named Robert Bakewell, who was working around 300 years ago.
“One day the producer called me again and said they would be reviewing a Bakewell piece in Derby, would I like to go?
“So we went to Derby and I reviewed the piece and hopefully that will be shown during the programme.
“The crew also came to another event at Finch Foundry, a water-powered forge in Devon, and that should be featured too.” The screen took around 450 hours of work during two years to complete.
Mr Grant-Jones was named Show Champion with the piece at the North Somerset Show last week.
He said: “This was the first of ten shows which will take place this year. At each show, the champion receives ten points and the reserve gets four. The points are added up over the whole series of shows and whoever has the most points will be named National Champion.
“I was National Champion in 2010 and I’ve been Reserve Champion twice. I’ve got off to a good start and it would be really nice to win again.”
The screen will be used as a show piece until September, when it will be permanently installed in the formal gardens at the college.
The programme is the third in the ‘Metalworks!’ series and will be shown tomorrow on BBC4 at 9pm.
IND.I.A. SPA’S BIRTHDAY
Ind.i.a is a company as solid as steel, the kind of steel which proclaims history, passion, difficulties, and progression at the same time. It is made up of a group of companies which all started and began 40 years ago.
Back in 1971, Arch. Bruno Gonzato started the company, Ind.i.a, to produce amphibian means of transport. Ind.i.a, with the initial letters coming from the Italian name Industria Italiana Anfibi, later was changed to Arteferro.
To sponsor this business he first started producing wrought iron scrolls, which is a very common item throughout the Vicenza area.
Within a very short period, Bruno Gonzato realized that his business is much more fascinating that he could have ever imagined, and decided to start investing in this market. Following his instinct, the art and passion of wrought iron was able to transmit.
Ind.i.a has grown through much experience and magnitude to become a group of 22 subsidiaries worldwide, all producing and distributing components, forgings, and finished products of wrought iron and stainless steel through three different name brands: IND.I.A, II Grande Fabbro, and Arteferro Inox.
The expansion has not undermined the love for tradition which marks out this ancient art. To this day Arch. Bruno Gonzato still considers himself a craftsman rather than a major manufacturer, always running his company looking for innovation and design.
He is helped by his wife Stefania, whom is also an architect and designer, as well as his daughter Francesca and sons Matteo, Davide, Dario, and son-in-law Andrea. Through the will of letting second generation grow in managing the industry, it sets a solid base for the future and grants continuity of the company’s philosophy and quality of the brand Ind.i.a.