Lorelei Sims is a contemporary blacksmith artist who started her career in Charleston, Illinois following her art education. She has grown her blacksmithing business by forging architectural and functional ironwork that expresses her inherent design savvy. As the best-selling author of “The Backyard Blacksmith” book, Lorelei is well respected throughout the blacksmithing community. She teaches workshops and is a demonstrator at conferences across the US and Canada.
What We Talked About
- In 1993, she purchased her blacksmith shop in Charleston, Illinois. After three months of working in her new shop she realized that she needed more blacksmithing instruction. She then set out to attend her first blacksmithing conference, the Indiana Blacksmithing Association’s annual conference. Being impressed and inspired by one of the masterfully skilled demonstrators, Elmer Roush, she asked him if he would take on an apprentice. At first he was hesitant but it led to an apprenticeship with him for six months.
- Lorelei mentions that Southern Illinois University offers the best well-rounded and technical blacksmithing degree there is in the USA. Here is an interesting Vimeo video of the program, https://vimeo.com/65933423.
- “Objects that have a purpose,” the utilitarian/functional art path is Lorelei’s specialty in the Five Points Blacksmithing Shop. This career path came easily to her and was influenced by seven generations of coppersmiths on her mother’s side of the family. Lorelei grew up with her grandfather’s copper pieces all around her house, such as lamps, sconces, and andirons, all intricately chased and repousséd.
- Her first seven years consisted of selling her artwork at art fairs and festivals. Pricing the art for these shows was a learning process, and she learned how the “perception of value” translated into her sales and helped raise her prices. One of the important lessons she learned about pricing is if you have five customers wanting custom pieces and all five say yes, then the pricing is too low. If all five say no, then the pricing is too high. Ideally you want two to three people out of five to say yes.
- In 2004, Lorelei was approached by a publishing company to write a book on blacksmithing for their “Backyard” series of books. Extremely excited about the proposition she instantly started researching blacksmithing books that were already available for purchase. The first thing she noticed was the lack of color photographs in them; therefore she ended up including 40% color photography and 60% text in her book. Since its release in 2006 it has been Amazon’s best-selling blacksmithing book and is currently in its 22nd printing. You can buy it from Lorelei’s website, http://www.blacksmithchic.com/book.htm .
- “Organic Metalworking” will be Lorelei’s next publication, similar to a magazine format and size it will concentrate on her floral and organic techniques. This serial publication will be releasing in November 2015. To get up to date information on how to purchase “Organic Metalworking” visit http://www.blacksmithchic.com/ .
- Lorelei will be teaching basic blacksmithing skills at the CanIronX event this summer. There will be four to seven anvil stations where you can have access to Lorelei’s guidance on a particular blacksmithing technique for 1.5 hours.
- Lorelei’s website – http://www.blacksmithchic.com/index.html
- BlacksmithChic Business Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/fivepointsblacksmithshop?fref=ts
- The Backyard Blacksmith Book – http://www.blacksmithchic.com/book.htm
- “Oraganic Metalworking” serial publication – Available in November 2015, check the website for more information, http://www.blacksmithchic.com/index.html
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