Marquette artist creates with metal and fire
“I started blacksmithing on my own in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia,” blacksmith Gordon Gearhart said. “I built a forge in my mom and dad’s backyard and started a fire and started hammering, and that was the beginning for me.”
From hunting knives to elaborate sculptures, Gearhart has been forging metal into beautiful creations since 1981. Gearhart utilizes many of the same techniques and tools that blacksmiths have championed for centuries.
“The hammer and the anvil are the basics,” he added. “Between the forge, which provides the fire, and the anvil, which is the work table, and the hammer, which is the tool that does the shaping, those are the basics, and then beyond that, there’s any number of chisels and punches and tongs that are kind of ancillary to the forge, anvil, and hammer. I’m fairly old school in my techniques and tooling. If anything, I’ve probably regressed, and I continually try to find simpler ways to do things, as opposed to more complicated ways.”
At his Marquette studio, Gearhart creates both functional items and complex found object sculptures. His passion for all things metal has allowed him to maintain a successful blacksmithing business for over two decades.
“I’ve been working at this as a business in Marquette for approximately 25 years. There’s enough business to keep me going and keep me here,” he said.
Gearhart is also a member of the Zero Degrees Artist Gallery, where several of his sculptures are displayed. You can even see what irons he currently has in the fire on his Facebook page, Gordon Gearhart Blacksmith. Either way allows a glimpse into the past at an art from that’s all but lost.
“Part of what I do is because I really support and enjoy handcraft work, whether it’s what I do – metal – or clay or wood or stone. Any material that has been shaped by the craftsman or artist into a finished product really interests me and keeps me going,” he added.