Steven Bronstein Interview



Steve Bronstein, Blacksmith, of Blackthorne ForgeRisa Borsykowsky: How long have you been a blacksmith?

Steven Bronstein: 30 years

Was this always your career?

I started out in biology and switched majors.

How did you get started? Where did you train?

As a hobby, I was turning wood and needed a weird shaped chisel. I got a book on making tools and discovered blacksmithing. I learned mostly from books from the library and then networked with other blacksmiths to add to my learning.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I love how lines can cut through space and, in the process, create new spaces. I often just have a vague sense of the final image and just start by moving a piece of metal. The concept usually reveals itself as I continue to move.

What do you enjoy most about this career?

Every day I get to make things. I continue to be surprised at what comes out. The challenge of how to make a living as an artist is as much a part of the design process as the work itself.

Who or what had the greatest influence on you as you developed as an artist, or did you always have your own style? How would you describe your style?

When I started I had no sense of myself as an artist and no sense of a personal style. I began with a greater interest in process, moving hot metal. I started out making historical reproductions. As I acquired my skills, I also acquired my own sense of style and began to follow it towards my current unique sense of design.

Risa Borsykowsky, Owner of Jewish Gift Place, and Steven Bronstein of Blackthorne ForgeWhat do you do for fun?

My work is still fun for me, but outside of work, I spend time outdoors hiking and skiing.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

There are two challenges for an artist. How to create the vision you have inside you and how are you going to make a living. They can be combined or kept separate - either works. If you decide to combine the two challenges, then they each have to be given the time and energy required. I know a lot of artists who can create the work but have tremendous ambivalence about what to do with the work after it is created. If you choose to sell your work, that is a design challenge that requires an equal amount of energy, and to be successful requires that the business of art be treated, by the artist and the consumer, with the same honor and respect that the work itself deserves.

How would you describe your creative process?

Jump in and get dirty.

Who is your favorite artist? Musician? Writer?

Hoagy Carmichael for his ability to take complex musical forms and make them seem so simple and accessible.

Thanks so much, Steve!


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