Monday, December 10, 2012

The Hammer Of Lorelei

One of my teachers was a blacksmith named Lorelei Sims.  She is a blacksmith in Illinois and I had the privilege of taking a couple weekend workshops with her.  In 1999 I sculpted this piece out of sculptures wax given to me by another metal smith named Whitehorn.  Both Whitehorn and Lorelei mentioned Elizabeth Brim to me, and I believe Lorelei has worked directly with her.
When I worked at 5 Points Blacksmith Shop with Lorelei, I tried out her hammer.  The one she uses most often was a bit heavy for me, but it didn't stop me from trying it out!  Lorelei taught me that it is not necessarily "brute strength" that is needed for the art of blacksmithing.  She pointed out both Samuel Yellin and Elizabeth Brims work to me, as both artists can make metal appear fluid, or like cloth.
I poured the flask and mold for this piece in 1999 but it was not until mid 2000's that I got a chance to cast it as I have been somewhat "nomadic" and have to wait to complete some projects when I can get a hold of the right equipment.  In the instance of this piece, my burn out oven was not big enough to contain the flask, so it was done in Columbus at The Arsenal.  I worked at the Arsenal as an apprentice for two women instructors that also had worked directly with Elizabeth Brim and pointed me back in the direction of her work.  All 3 women who have taught me so much have a playfulness in their own work that is akin to the playfulness in Elizabeth's work.
Lorelei has not seen the hammer I named after her yet.  I hope to get back there someday and show her in person.  The photo behind the silver hammer is from her book The Backyard Blacksmith. 

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