The industrial age brought us untold growth in forming beautiful works of metal. Before the industrial age the works of blacksmiths across the world were hammering and forming great works in metal by hand. While those days are long gone the beating of hot metal in small forges continues.
I cannot say for sure where the line is drawn between a “metal artist” who welds and cuts metal into useful everyday objects and a blacksmith who forges and twists hot iron into hooks or pokers. I do a little of both. Purists will protest that a blacksmith shouldn’t use an electric welder, band saw or plasma cutter in his work–as they didn’t have these tools in the 17th century. They might be correct, of course, but I feel they are missing the point of working in metal. Ghandi liked to say he preferred production of the masses over mass production. Operating Oriental Ironworks is my “piece by piece” production by the masses. I am more than willing to have a philosophical discussion of this at the Bean in Oriental for a free cup of coffee. And I can say with pride it is Made in America though the steel is probably Chinese.
Chuck Beattie, Proprietor
Oriental, North Carolina