When I first decided to take on the "Artists at Work" series, I knew I wanted to find artists who were breaking stereotypes. After meeting and photographing Adlai - the Blacksmith, he recommended Rachel, who also works within the Columbus Idea Foundry.
Rachel Schutt is a welder - and a graduate of CCAD. She started out as a painter, and then took a welding course out of curiosity. Welding runs in her blood; her grandfather was a welder, and she felt like learning this art made her connection to him that much stronger.
Rachel teaches women-only classes (as well as co-ed classes) in welding to encourage women to step into her lab and feel empowered by doing something that is traditionally a man's trade. She is proof that you can do whatever you are willing to work at.
For the other two works in this series (so far), I only used natural & available light. However, Rachel's lab only has artificial light, and I didn't like the look of adding extra flashes... so I felt the need to add a few extra layers of grunge, and play with light to create more than just a snapshot.
She was working on a commissioned project and needed to make sure the corners were perfectly squared.
To take an all women's class with Rachel Schutt: Go to the Columbus Idea Foundry
Visit The Columbus Idea Foundry (and notice the front picture ;) )
See all of the photographs in the Artists at Work series so far - Gallery
After photographing the glass blower, I wanted to keep the momentum going, so I reached out to a group on FB - The Art and Artists of 614 - and asked if anyone knew a local blacksmith? Within the hour, I was virtually introduced to Adlai Stein with Macabee Metals.
When I photographed Adlai, we met in his studio at The Columbus Idea Foundry (CIF) - where he also teaches classes. He gave me a tour of the CIF, which I will be sharing in a future blog. Today's blog shows how he would start the process of forging a knife.
Anyone else get a kick out of "The Punisher" hanging on the back blue wall of tools? It just seemed appropriate to include it into the first image next to the fire.
The anvil is one of the reasons I wanted to photograph a blacksmith. We often think of it as a primitive tool, and in this digital world, it's great to see that artists are still using the basic tools to forge their arts.
The photo on the left is showing how quickly the metal cools off. The photo on the right is straight out of the fire again. Adlai is starting to hammer down the edges to make a point for the tip of the knife.
We closed all of the garage doors, but left one upper level door open to play with light. The light entering this doorway was landing perfectly on Adlai as he worked at the middle anvil. (Photographer's dream light).
He was constantly putting the metal back in the fire because metal cools so quickly. I've skipped showing this step, but know that the knife was going back into the fire almost every 2-3 minutes.
I didn't get to stay all the way the whole process. But I did stay long enough to see how he shaped the metal to create the curve of the blade and the handle. I have a new appreciation for knives - as I hope you do as well.
I also purchased one of his giant feathers (it looked like a giant quill to me) - and it will be appearing in one of my stylized shoots coming up soon!!
Please make sure to check out the Columbus Idea Foundry (CIF) for classes in Blacksmithing and other industrial arts. This week, I'll be photographing Rachel - a welder with the CIF. And remember to buy local!!
A girl with a camera, trying to be creative out loud. I keep my clients as friends; and believe in endless possibilities.