(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Vaughn Terpack, Three Rivers Forge)
Blacksmithing is my sole source of income at the moment. I got tired of working for someone else and having to deal with all the soap opera drama; so, I decided to take a gamble and start smithing full time.
Financially, quitting a “real” job to try my hand at being an artist probably wasn’t the best of ideas. It’s been a thorough bear of a struggle, but then I look at all my customers around the world and marvel at how these people have chosen my work over that of every blacksmith on the Internet. From Singapore to Switzerland, Australia to Israel, there’s a little bit of my soul in every corner of the world.
I honestly don’t know how you put a dollar figure on that, or how you can even quantify what that means. In a hundred years, I’ll be dead and buried, but my legacy will live on in iron.
When I first started, my goal was simply to help bring the blacksmith’s craft back to the forefront of peoples’ minds. I wanted to help get people thinking about quality over quantity. I wanted folks to see what I call the “Art in the Everyday” — opting for beautiful handmade goods in lieu of cheap mass-produced products, even if that means having less “stuff” overall.
It’s hard to convince people to spend $40 on a hand-forged bottle opener when most bottles have twist-off tops and the opener they bought for a dollar at the corner store works just as well as anything I can make. But, I honestly believe that by sacrificing on the quality, surrounding ourselves with chintzy, we impact our psyches in a negative way.
My hope is to make products that the average person can own and look at every single day. When you hang your coat on a hand-forged wall hook or pop the top on a cold one with a hand-forged bottle opener, you’re in touch with something that’s rare these days. You get to experience that “art in the everyday.”
(Vaughn’s work can be found in his store, Three Rivers Forge on etsy.com.)