Michael Budd

What do you say about yourself on your own website? I’m not about to write in the third person and pretend I have a P.A. that deals with all the trivial while I’m busy creating. It is too far from the truth and too close to being pretentious. And, to be honest, if you are trying to be an artist of any sort you are always very close to or actually being pretentious. It’s an occupational hazard, simultaneously a necessity for anyone trying to push their work out into the world while acting as a barrier to creating work in the first place. So anytime you can take a step away from it the better, in my opinion. So where to begin, and more importantly, how long to go on for?

Other artists ask me why I call myself a blacksmith and not an artist, sculpture or metal worker? The truth is blacksmiths have always been all these things and much more, stretching back thousands of years. A key reason I fell in love with forge work was the holistic nature of the craft. I found it captivating that not only did you make the work but also the tools and, very often, a tool to make the tool you use to make the work. I guess I found this very romantic. And I still do. This has kept me coming back to the anvil, hammer and fire time and again, still feeling challenged every time. This is why I call myself a Blacksmith.

A key part of the challenge is how do you take a craft that is thousands of years old and create contemporary work that reflects you and your community in a modern context? This has been my goal since starting my own forge. To immerse myself in the craft and find a way to satisfy my need to communicate my thoughts and feelings about the times we live in. I think it is a challenge I will always pit myself against. There is something in this craft that is hard to explain. On the face of it you are just heating steel and hitting it with a hammer. When you delve deeper you find that you are making changes to that steel on a molecular level. Just the act of heating the metal changes it from a ferrous to a non-ferrous material. It loses its magnetic field as it rises above a certain temperature. Then factor in that iron was created at the beginning of the universe and had to acuminulate on our planet, this bestows on the art a hidden depth before any object is fully formed.

I guess that if I wish this short bio would convey anything it is my love of what I do. This craft, this art form, this wondrous obsession has given me so much that I can’t possible quantify it here. But if my passion for it comes through, that is something.