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Don Esser - Golden Hammer ForgeDON ESSER

Blacksmith, Metal Artist, and Sculptor

Since 1976, using hammer and anvil, I've been pounding, twisting, and shaping hot metal. As a self-taught artist, my approach to life and art has always had an element of fearlessness to it. From childhood on, art has always been a natural, joyful part of my life.

There is a fluid lightness to my work partly because I'm enjoying making it and partly because, after so many years, I have learned the language of my materials. To learn to be fluent in an art or craft, to be able to express yourself with a simple eloquence, is a joy in itself. I'm playing with the hot steel, talking to it with my hammer, shaping it into a pleasing organic form.

I try to capture the essence in as few lines as possible, with a sense of fluidity and grace that can be achieved working in the forge. It is a little like stealing fire from the gods and my goal is to put a bit of that sense of wonder into each piece I make.

That playful quality in my work also means that most of my pieces are one of a kind. There are always new and exciting designs I am wanting to work on, so any series of works only lasts a few years. I've had customers contact me, wanting something they had seen a year or so ago, but the answer is almost always no. Technically, yes, I can still make it, but the fun and excitement isn't there. Life is short and there is no time for backtracking.

People often ask, "How long does it take you to make it?" My answer is, "36 years of practice, 50-plus years of training, and a lifelong desire to make art."


Running Series Sculpture  •  Stainless Garden Sculpture  •  Outdoor Metal Sculpture


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