MAGIC HAMMER FORGE










 

 

Artist Statements & Resume

    At MAGIC HAMMER FORGE we build metal furniture and architectural detail such as tables, chairs, beds, lighting fixtures, gates, railings, grills, hardware, and small sculpture. Most of my works are custom one of a kind commissions in a verity of styles and finishes.

     I work hot steel ( iron ) by hammering it into the desired shape against an anvil, a process called "forging". When heated until white hot ( about 2000f. ) iron can be manipulated as if it were clay. Instead of using my hands to work the "magic", I use precise hammer blows to transform the otherwise hard unyielding steel into soft and graceful objects with the inherent beauty of hand worked art. The interaction between the hammer and anvil imparts a texture that reflects how the piece was made.

     I like to think of myself as a "modern blacksmith". Generally, I use a coal-fired forge to heat the steel to forging temperature, an ancient process. I use over one hundred different shaped hammers, dozens of tools and shapes that work in conjunction with the anvils. I also employ modern, even space-age equipment like a plasma-arc cutter and an electronic microchip controlled welding shield. I love the irony ( excuse the pun ) of combining both the ancient and modern technologies in my work. I feel that almost any tool, when used properly, by a conscientious crafts person, will help to produce the artists' vision.

     I have had a lifetime adventure blending craftsmanship and art in many different mediums. My father, Cushing, was a "rock hound" and jack-of-all-trades who introduced me early in life to lapidary and jewelry work as well as more general trade work.

     These crafts led me to experiment with stained and etched glass as well as sandblasted and carved wooden sign work. In the realm of metal I have ventured into bronze casting, welding and fitting, working stainless steel and aluminum.

     While giving a wealth of experience these other ventures have always led me back to decorative and functional metal work. In 1983 my wife, 'the lovely Cindy' and I started the Magic Hammer Forge. I feel that in a way I have gone back to making jewelry only on a grander scale. House jewelry!

     If you are one who is looking for high quality, high end, unique handmade furniture, examples of my art can be seen by 'clicking here'.  Cindy or I will assist you in meeting your needs, and answer your questions about our product.
You can call 985-735-0049 for an appointment, or fax us at 985-735-7236.I hope that you enjoy your visit to our web site, and come back often. We intend to continuously update this site.
Please sign the "Guest Book". You can also 'e-mail' us anytime.

RESUME

EXPERIENCE:
     1960 to Present, A lifetime of endeavor in art with many mediums; lapidary, stained and etched glass, sandblasted and carved wooden signs. Work in metal includes 18 years of experience with brass and sterling silver hand constructed jewelry; working at times with friends at American Art Foundry making cast bronze sculpture; 4 years as welder/ fitter/ crew pusher, working stainless steel, aluminum, and steel at Boland Marine Shipyard; and since 1985, as an artist / blacksmith forging decorative and functional items such as furniture, sculpture, and architectural detail of iron, steel, bronze, copper, brass, as well as found objects.

ABOUT MY CRAFT:
I am an "artist / blacksmith". I "forge" metal. Forging is to shape metal, to change the shape of a piece of metal. To accomplish this, I first heat the metal until it is very hot, ( around 2000 ) . When iron is this hot it takes on a plasticity that some people compare to wet clay. To get the iron this hot I use either a coal or a gas fired forge. Next I use a verity of hammers to hammer the metal into the shape that I desire, this usually requires several heats and a lot of hammering. I find it to be very much like making jewelry, only easier................and harder. I use as many as four different anvils, over one hundred different shaped hand hammers and any of three swage blocks. I also use a power hammer, it is a 75 lb.. air hammer that my oldest son, Noah, and I built over the summer of '98 . Oxy- Propane torch, a plasma cutter, a chop saw two band saws, a regular arc welder and a MIG welder are all employed as well.

COMMISSIONS INCLUDE:
A life size copper statue of The Risen Christ, Baptismal Bowel, Holy Water Bowels, and Tabernacle for St. Michael's Catholic Church in Vicksburg, MS. 
for Canizaro & Triginani Architects, Jackson, MS.
Entrance Gates for the Abney Estate in Abita Springs, LA
A complete house full of hardware (circa 1832) for C&F Properties , Ltd. New Orleans, LA
Architectural Detail and hardware for Louisiana Timber Framing, Bogalusa, LA.
Assorted works for Barry Fox & Associates, Architects, New Orleans, LA.         
Conference Table and assorted works for George Hopkins, Architect, New Orleans, LA
Hand rails and Alter piece for Christ Episcopal Church, Covington, LA.
Gazebo for Wallace Interior Design, Jackson, MS.                                                
Gazebo & Furniture for Kevin Hunt, Franklinton, LA
Wall panels and three sets of driveway gates for Mrs. Sam Cooke, Jonesboro, LA.
Reproduction Bronze game table (circa 1910) , Lynn Brown, Pascagoula, MS.
A 75% restoration of a set of garden gates (circa 1700) , Dunbar Estate, Cape Cod. 
Entry Gates for Turnbul Residence, New Orleans
Garden Gate for Dr. & Mrs. Westfall, Slidell, LA
Restoration & repair of Samuel Yellin panels, circa 1930, Zemurray estate, Madisonville, LA
Chandeliers and many pieces for Cheek - McGehee residence, Bogalusa, LA
Beds  and many pieces for Dr. & Mrs. Palazzo, Bogalusa, LA
Dining table and many pieces for the Bush estate, Bogalusa, LA
Beds, tables, chairs, mirrors, fireplace tools, lamps, door knockers, small sculptures far too numerous to list.

MEMBERSHIPS:
Founder and former president of Louisiana Metalsmiths' Assn. (LAMA)     
Editor of the LAMAGRAM  on-line newsletter of LAMA 
Artist / Blacksmiths Association of North America (ABANA)                          
Member of the Board of Directors of ABANA                      
American Crafts Council
Louisiana Crafts Guild
Craftsman's Guild of Mississippi
St. Tammany Art Assn.
Society for Louisiana Artists in Metal (SLAM)
Louisiana Furnishings Industry Assn.
Mississippi Forge Council
Alabama Forge Council

AWARDS:
"Best of Show" 1995 Contemporary Arts Division, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
"Best Display" 1996 Contemporary Arts Division, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
"Chamber Award" 1997 Three Rivers Festival, Covington, LA
"Award of Distinction" 1998 & 1999, Three Rivers Festival, Covington, LA
"St. Tammany Art Association" Award 2000 Three Rivers Festival, Covington, LA
"Best Display" 2003 Contemporary Arts Division, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

info(at)davemudge.freeservers.com