Ep 108 – Peter Braspenninx “The M.C. Escher of Blacksmithing”
Pete Braspenninx is an artist blacksmith living in Cazenovia, Michigan and is the owner of Phyre Forge. He graduated from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design in 2004 with a focus in ceramics and jewelry. Since being exposed to the blacksmith craft 14 years ago he has focused on transforming line into a continuous form with meticulous traditional joinery. He has started a body of work called “Calculating Infinity” and there are 25 pieces in this body of work. We talk about the what, why and how he calculates infinity. We also talk about his upcoming demonstration at the 40th Quad State Round up in Troy, Ohio.
That leads me to today’s sponsor, a big thank you goes out to SOFA and the Quad State Round Up Conference which started in 1977, 40 years ago. The dates of the conference are September 22 to the 24th at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy, Ohio.
The demonstrators are Peter Braspenninx, Michael Bendele, Joe Bonifas (those two cats attended the very first Quadstate in 1977 and have only missed one to this day), Kevin Cashen, Nathan Allen, Richard Sullivan and Benjamin Lockhart with Danielle Russel. I’ve been asked to create a short film about the Quad State history for the Opening Ceremony this year. Don’t miss this year’s event, it’s a very special one with its 40th anniversary and I have a feeling the tailgate sales are going to be unbelievable this year. Please visit the website, www.sofablacksmiths.org to access the online registration form and other details.
What We Talked About
- Pete has been attending the SOFA Quad Round ups for the last 12 years and this year he will be a demonstrator on Friday night. He will forge one of his calculating infinity pieces.
- His body of work called “Calculating Infinity” is a technical assignment for himself. To be able to take one piece of stock and to create it into form.
- Through completing 25 pieces in the series, Pete says he has gained layout and precise measurement skills.
- While Pete was finishing his art degree at the University of Michigan he visited a local blacksmith’s shop, Scott Lankton, and watched him demonstrate forging on a big Nazel power hammer. Pete was excited to learn more about the craft, so he got a job with another local smith working in the paint booth, and watching the forging that happened in the shop.
- Pete recalls his first Quad State Conference when Peter Ross gave a lock lecture and when he met Tom Clark.
- After college Pete worked in an ornamental fab shop for 12 years. They made railings and other architectural work.
- His 30′ x 40′ pole barn shop consists around a coal forge, anvil and one Little Giant 50 lb power hammer.
- Pete will be teaching a couple of classes this year, a hammer rack class at Wasatch Forge in Salt Lake City, Utah and possibly a class at the Center for Metal Arts in NY.
- Pete’s Website – http://www.phyreforge.com/
- Instagram – @phyreforge
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – SOFA Quad State Round Up, www.sofablacksmiths.org