Featured Artist & Demo Artist – James Hovanec

25 Aug

69 Hovanec, James 1

69 Hovanec, James 3

69 Hovanek, James 2

69 Hovanek, James 4Jim Hovanec always had a fascination with blacksmithing. He was well into his forties before he really began to actually forge. Jim began collecting tools of the trade and watching master blacksmiths at their work. This only added fuel to his fire. He began teaching himself by reading books and by trial and error. Jim then attended classes at Log Cabin and joined a group of artist blacksmiths (WRABA), honing his skills through practice and other demonstrations.

Jim grew up and still lives in Berea, Ohio. He named his forge, The Grindstone Forge because Berea was at one time known as the grindstone capitol of the world. Jim is married, his wife sometimes helps by cranking the blower out in the forge or holding some metal as a third hand. She also does the finish work as well as etches or adds glass to some of the art pieces. When Jim and Anne’s two grown daughters were little, they stood steadfast by their daddy’s side as he watched the master blacksmiths at Hale Farm and Coshocton Village.

Jim has been a blacksmith for about 19 years. He has a small shop in his backyard where all the heating and hammering goes on. Jim uses a coal fire pot and hand forges his metal with a hammer, tongs and anvil.

There are many aspects of blacksmithing. A farrier shoes horses. There are other blacksmiths who do utilitarian works (railings, gates, etc.) Today there are the master blacksmiths who do restoration of old ironworks.
Even though Jim does make hooks, pans and utilitarian objects, he fits more in the category of the contemporary renaissance blacksmith, creating artistic and decorative pieces. The majority of his art pieces are made from what he calls found metal. Jim recycles all kinds of metal into sculptures, wall hangings, yard art, jewelry pieces, decorative bowls, nature art and more.

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