Montana-based architectural blacksmith Glenn Gilmore began his craft shoeing horses — now, he creates art for homes and businesses.
To change the form of steel requires heat and strength. “It’s exciting to heat, hammer, and forge metal into a creation,” says Glenn Gilmore, who initially learned forged blacksmithing when shoeing horses. As a farrier, he shaped horseshoes out of bar stock. Gilmore also created his own punches and tongs for the work. When Gilmore encountered architectural forged metalwork, his excitement for the craft led him away from horses and toward houses. His studies at the International Teaching Center for Metal Design in Aachen, Germany, grounded his skill in traditional and contemporary forms. In his Montana studio he now forges commissioned architectural art for homes and businesses.
“I design pieces, such as railings and fireplace doors, to fit a room or the setting where the house is located. For instance, I created some fireplace doors for a house in Jackson, Wyoming, with a great room that looked out onto the Teton Mountains and a little aspen grove. I designed the doors with three-dimensional aspen trunks, branches, and leaves.”
“It’s ancient manipulation techniques of metal that forms the visually pleasing objects. Through the blacksmithing techniques of forging, heating, and hammering a bar of steel, I can change its form, size, and texture to create whatever I want. In addition, the metalwork is functional and must fit a certain place, such as a stairway. I enjoy the dynamics of measurements and installations.”
Furthering The Craft
“I’ve taught blacksmithing at a number of craft schools over the years, in addition to demonstrating specific techniques for blacksmith groups. I regularly host school groups at my studio and host workshops for people interested in architectural blacksmithing. COVID-19 halted all of these, and my enclosed studio hasn’t been appropriate for health concerns. In the future, I hope to continue.”
For more on Gilmore, visit his website.
Photography: (All images) courtesy Glenn Gilmore
From our July 2021 issue