Ep #98 – James Garvey “The Statue of Liberty and Clark bar”

Welcome to episode number 98 with James Garvey.  He is an artist blacksmith just outside of New York City in Piermont NY.  His training includes 6 years at the Art Department of Colorado State University and 10 years as head of Blacksmithing at the Rochester Folk Art Guild.  He has designed and built public commissions in Manhattan including works at two subway stations, The School of Spirits Doors at the Dwight School in Manhattan, The Lariat Rustic Rail in Central Park, and a restoration project on the Statue of Liberty.

But before we get into the interview I wanted to tell you guys about the Hammer making online class with Patrick Quinn.  It’s going to be an online course where Patrick is walking you through the steps of forging a 2.25lb straight peen hammer with a striker.  You will learn how to measure, punch and drift the hole, forge the cheeks, forge the peen and fuller around the face and peen. The majority of the work will be done with sledge- hammers and a striker; focus will be placed on proper striking technique. All heat-treating steps will be covered, including hardening, tempering, and finishing (polishing the faces). Handle making will also be covered so you will have the knowledge to make a handled straight peen hammer ready to use!

So keep March 9th in your mind for you to visit www.blacksmitheracademy.com to find out more details on the course and to purchase it. The price is $35 for the online course and once you sign up for it you will have access to the course forever.


What We Talked About

  • James talks about how he has moved his blacksmith shop 5 times and the benefits that come from moving.
  • Currently, James is teaching his artistic blacksmith class every Saturday and forging sculptures that he wants to make.
  • James uses his hydraulic 75 ton press for a lot of his forging. Though on the Statue of Liberty project he used their 120 ton press.
  • He tells us about how intense the project was to restore the armature on the inside of the Statue of Liberty. He and a crew of 40 guys forged and replaced 1600 bars for the job in 1985.
  • While he was the head blacksmith for the Rochester Folk Art Guild they went to 12 festivals a year and sold their craft work, it made for a very busy schedule.
  • He explains how his BFA has helped him with his artist blacksmith career, mainly for writing his syllabus for his forging class he teaches at the Arts Students League of New York.
  • Within his syllabus, James has come up with his own glossary of terms; Form idea, Visual forensics and Visceral cognition.
  • When asked what blacksmith James would like to learn from he mentioned Alessandro Mazzucotelli, the Italian blacksmith in the early 1900’s.

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