The 17th volume of the “MetalDesign International” yearbook consistently follows the new direction of the previous edition – moving away from only presenting the “life work” of famous blacksmiths by also introducing outstanding metal designers who have specialised in certain techniques, forms of expression and materials.
“MetalDesign International 2015” presents a noteworthy mix of metal designers from six countries who are represented with ironwork, metal design, craftwork and artistic pieces in many different styles.
Liza Bobkhova and Kirill Spasskov for example are young Russian metal designers. Born in 1983 and 1987 respectively, their joint “LK art Gild” is celebrating its successes. Reclaiming the ancient trade, they represent the playful, sentimental forging style of a culture that, for a long time, was dominated by the conformity of industrial production.
Another female blacksmith, this time from Germany, is Sandra Geruschkat whose style is based on everything she learned from Hermann Gradinger in Mainz but who also lets Zen and Feng Shui inspire her. She studied metal design in Hildesheim and, with a feminine perspective, dedicates herself to creating structures in space, “to expressiveness with very clear, simple shapes”.
For the blacksmith Stefan Zydek with his analytical thinking and approach to his work, it was his master Alfred Schmidt from Trappenkamp who laid the foundation of his success. He struck out on his own at the age of 23 in Lochum and, throughout 30 years in the trade, stayed true to the techniques of the craft but transformed them into a personal, modern design vocabulary with an unmistakable style.
David Szalay takes the surrounding architecture and environment into account in his designs, assimilating the fundamental structures of the chosen materials – not only wrought iron and stainless steel, but also wood, glass, stone and ceramics. The young Czech studied at ISS Hradec Králové, followed by four years at the well-known artist blacksmith school in Turnov where he lives to this day.
When he first struck a blow on an anvil, Guy de Bruyne from Belgium was 33 years old. The graduate economist and commercial engineer got to know the blacksmith Henri Bream through his father’s construction company and later took over his operation. He learned a lot about the art of forging from him, his long-time friend Huub Sensen and as a member of the “Ambachtelijke Smedersgilde”.
The Stawaritsch blacksmith shop is the only operation to date appearing in the yearbook for the second time. The statistics for awards at the world’s largest blacksmith convention at Helfstyn Castle impressively document the tireless creative power of the two brothers and their father. Practical ironwork in and on the home forms the focal point of their work. The pieces are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The sculptures by Michael Ernst from Bechstedtstraß bring the “aesthetics of the natural order” into view. A few years ago, the much-travelled autodidact turned from simple metal sculptures to kinetic ones. His scope encompasses abstract animal beings, mobiles, wind chimes and wind tongs that produce an ideal motion with technical precision. At the same time, the details are artistically reduced to their function to such an extent that the nature of that motion is apparent to the viewer.
Roberto Magni’s ancestors have always made tools. He too at first carried on this tradition, mainly due to the fascination of fire, which he considers “the source of life”. After some time as a country blacksmith, he turned to design and got to know Claudio Bottero as a teacher and friend. This dramatically altered the approach to his work. Today he teaches at the school in Stia and mainly accepts private orders.