Mark was born and raised in a creative household in Toronto and he’s always had a desire to draw and make things. Using tools and different materials was just a way for him to bring an idea, practical or otherwise, to reality. Mark began to experiment with blacksmithing and forging techniques by trial and error in 1993. Through the forging process metal is squeezed, textured and formed at a bright yellow heat using tools as fingers.
“There is a window of opportunity to achieve what you aim to do before the metal cools and will resist. When the metal is too cold to work it is frozen in a new form with enticing hints of how it came to be.”
As time moves along he finds himself more often paying close attention to the effect of working the metal to unconventional outcomes. These effects and textures are partly dictated by letting go of the typical forging approaches, and at the same time letting the metal lead the way to new possibilities. A raw more organic form is the result.
“Industries are perfecting the raw materials into pristine homogenous profiles and I want to bring them back closer to their imperfect origins.”
Inspiration for his work comes from all the experiences in his life, surroundings, and the people that commission him. Many times Mark likes to mix concepts together and design crazy things that don’t exactly mimic/repeat nature or reality. Forging hot metal appeals to him on many levels including, the interaction of energy and design. Mark is voluntarily caught in a vortex of exploring and challenging the typical.
Pete Braspenninx, owner of Phyre Forge, is a graduate of the University of Michigan school of art and design (2004). He is an artist, blacksmith, and educator. His work has been shown, collected, and published nationally and internationally. His work focuses primarily on building shape and line through visual connections and joinery using traditional skills to make modern forms.
He also does architectural iron work along with sculptural work Pete’s work has been published in Anvil’s Ring, and De Klinknagel (Belgium). He has demonstrated at varied blacksmithing events, and conducted workshops at major craft centers. He has exhibited widely, including a solo show at the Metal Museum in 2018
For CanIRON XIII Pete will be demonstrating using traditional joinery techniques to create modern sculpture.
Dates: August 3-6, 2023 Location: Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex Host City: Fergus, Ontario Theme: “Sparking Your Creativity”
CanIRON XIII will run from Thursday August 3 to Sunday August 6, 2023 at Centre Wellington Community Sportplex located at 550 Belsyde Ave E in Fergus, Ontario. The Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association will host the event.