About Iron Antler Forge
I am a self-taught, professional artist that has been moving and shaping metal for over 18 years. I personally make all the metalwork using a verity of techniques both old-world and modern. I don’t have any precision equipment in my shop so every curve, bevel, and contour that you see on my art is completely hand done. After it has taken me years to hone my skills I am able to make art that has a polished look without loosing the character that is so desirable in a handmade item.
I chose the medium of metal because there is something magical about pulling a piece of steel out of the forge when it is heated to 2000 degrees. The metal is almost alive, dancing and shimmering with colors of red, orange, and yellow. To lay down the glowing mass over a 300lb anvil and shape it under the heavy blow of the blacksmith’s hammer is nothing short of awesome! Thoughts of the ancient smiths come to mind as I listen to the bam, bam, ting of the hammer. New possibilities begin to unfurl themselves from my imagination as I see the molten metal being transformed from a plain piece of bar into an alive and dynamic shape. After the shaping is done, the next task arises which is to clean the metal and bring out the natural colors. Although all my work is coated with a semi-gloss clear lacquer, the colors you see come directly from the steel itself. I use heat, polishing techniques, and oxidizing agents to bring out the natural beauty of whatever metal I’m using.
Recently I have added pewter casting to my repertoire and it has really enabled me to bring a whole new body of work to my clients. Casting has been around for thousands of years and although the processes have changed somewhat, the benefits are still the same. The ability to reproduce highly detailed and amazingly textured pieces of artwork and maintain consistent quality while doing it is the largest benefit for me. I choose pewter because in addition to really capturing the look and weight of steel (if finished properly) it is also food and dishwasher safe! This makes items like the mugs and cups even better than the original, which would need to be hand washed to prevent rusting.
It has been a long journey getting to the place where I am now. At first I created pieces that are relatively common in the metal sculpting world. Trivets, wine holders, fireplace pokers, and utilitarian items that had a traditional look, which seemed to be what a lot of people expected. This line of work was interesting and totally valid but it did not fulfill the desire I had to create wild things that stir and stimulate that sense of story that resides in each one of us. Somewhere along the line I made a conscious decision to create artwork that would stoke the fire of the imagination and bring something into the world that people have not seen before.
It is a busy life but a wonderful one! I have my work in galleries all over the country and have sold artwork to people all over the world. Be sure to check out my work at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, one of the best Ren Fests in the country, where I sell my work for nine consecutive weekends every year. For more information please visit http://www.rennfest.com/.
Thank you for your interest in my work and your support of handmade art. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me here http://www.ironantlerforge.com/contact/
Keep the fire of your imagination burning bright!
Daniel A. Stuart