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Garry Johnson | Artist Blacksmith in Cornwall


I began blacksmithing in 2000, training for two years at Hereford College of Rural Crafts, where I gained a B.Tec Certificate and a B.Tec Diploma. On completing these courses I returned to my native Cornwall where I worked in my own forge making small craft goods and demonstrating blacksmithing skills in the Victorian forge at the Morwellham Quay Working Museum near Tavistock.

After a year I returned to Hereford with the aim of developing my design skills and honing my craft at the College of Art and Design, where I was accepted on to the Artist Blacksmith degree course – a course which specialises in the design elements of metalwork.

Whilst following this course and since its completion, I have won several awards for work exhibited at county shows and also won open competitions for artistic and modern sculptures. I have also had photographs of my work and an article published in the BABA (British Association of Blacksmith Artists) magazine. More importantly, in terms of professional development rather than kudos, I have learnt a great deal about traditional and contemporary design, as well as the skills necessary to create my own designs from natural forms and stimuli.

While I mostly work to commission, I particularly enjoy the freedom of creating sculpture and artwork for exhibitions. I have exhibited in a number of London shows and in her review of the ‘New Designers’ exhibition in Islington for the Financial Times (22-07-06), Janice Blackburn wrote that my work was “exuberant” and “sophisticated”. I have exhibited at wide-ranging venues, from galleries in London’s Chelsea and Islington, to the gardens at the National Trust’s Lanhydrock House and the Glastonbury festival.

I work from my forge in rural Cornwall using traditional blacksmithing techniques which were developed for industrial and agricultural usage, translated into a modern context to create decorative ironwork. In so doing, I aim to help preserve the ancient blacksmithing skills which might otherwise die in this technological world.

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