Since the first issue in 1999, the “Metall Design International” annuals from the publishing house HEPHAISTOS in Germany have become the world’s most comprehensive library of contemporary metal design.
All volumes in this important collection are available from Artisan Ideas.
With carefully selected, high-quality photographs – as usual – the new 2011 annual shows the work of seven metal designers from four countries.
The works of Japanese artist-blacksmith Mitsuo Nishida open up new horizons. For more than three decades, he runs his shop, Page One, in Saitama, where he creates works in a way that Europeans or Americans would not think, at first, were traditionally Japanese. With his creations, this passionate amateur tri-athlete has left a technically superior metal designer’s stamp on many buildings in the land of cherry blossoms. The chapter dedicated to Nishida promises an unforgettable journey of discovery. Nishida’s applications, especially forged pets, look out humorously from many fences, gates and railings and provoke many an astonished grin.
Quite different is the Italian metal sculptor Mario Converio. Long well known to visitors of the blacksmith meetings in Helfstyn Castle (the Czech Republic), the artist from Schio near Vicenza is still an “insider’s tip” for collectors of exquisite embossed works in iron. Above all, his women’s torsos and sculptures are as graceful as they are erotic. The 2011 HEPHAISTOS yearbook shows this “Latin Lover” and his work to the international public for the first time*.
Hans-Jörg Bender from Schweich has made his name in Germany with good training and masterful restoration work. In the language of reduced form, he and his workshop team create modern design in metal which is used in the sacred and sculptural field. The chapter shows a cross-section of his oeuvre.
From classic artistic-blacksmithing, in which he grew, Thomas Schneider moved more and more towords his creative – and economically constructed – balconies, stairs or railings. Design with a system – this is the program in his workshop in Seibersbach, Rhineland-Palatinate.
As a student and admirer of the great Italian iron sculptor Toni Benetton, the 2011 annual presents Jiri Bata from the Czech Republic. His career started during the days of the communist regime as a locksmith and as a farrier, but the fall of the Iron Curtain freed Bata from former fetters. Especially in exchanges with other colleagues from all over the world, he found his creative self in producing blacksmith art. This annual presents a photo collection of his best work, accompanied by remarkable views of his works seen for the first time internationally.
In the category of “secret” David Goodsell is classified. A native of England, he has run a small workshop in the city Nürtingen (Germany) for ten years now. He is known especially for his forging techniques. His career in designing with metal began with an old, worn-out poker in an English pub. His reproduction of that has led Goodsell to over 300 different designs for small objects in his “art of weaving in steel.”
The last artist presented is Mirko Siakkou-Flodin, a German-Greek metal artist who was trained in classical ironwork and as a restorer. But thanks to numerous world tours through 40 countries with visits to leading workshops in Europe and overseas he has shown stunning development. In his chapter the authors of “Metal Design International 2011” had the difficult job of choosing which of his excellent works to present, but they can promise a”Best of Mirko”.
* The book, ‘Secrets of the Forge’, available from Artisan Ideas, has a chapter where Mario Converio shares practical secrets of his art and demonstrates step-by-step how to forge a woman’s torso.