Contact us by email info@essentialiron.com
All images copyright 2009-2017 Essential Iron. All rights reserved worldwide.
Appalachian Forge and my studio/workshop are located west of Hendersonville in the mountains of  Western North Carolina. It is an area rich with Appalachian tradition and craftsmanship. Along with  the smithy and metal art, the shop is fitted for general welding, fabrication and repair. In my work, I  get to use old-world techniques and modern technology to achieve the results I require. My anvil  was forged by Mouse Hole Forge of Sheffield, England in the late 1700’s and a blacksmith from that  era could step into my forge, find familiar tools and begin working. At the other extreme, my  Thermal Dynamics plasma cutter turns an electric arch into a precise shaft of superheated plasma  which cuts through steel like butter. While the new “toys” of the trade are fun and efficient, I prefer  working with my hammer. When I hear my anvil ring, I’m connected with centuries of tradition.   Currently the forge and shop are not open to the public.  
My path to artistic ironwork has been a winding one, interrupted by college degrees and “real” jobs which were as important to  the process as any other stop along the way. I stumbled onto this path as a child in my father’s workshop. The trail has been full  of side paths demanding to be explored, each leaving their impression on the journey. Our family has its share of artists, so old  pieces on the shelves were as common as easels, canvas and oils during my childhood. Yes..., looking back I was bound to  follow this path, and I can’t imagine it any other way. For a great deal the journey, I’ve been blessed to have the companionship  of my best friend, my wife. She has encouraged me to explore the side paths and choose new directions. I love what I do and  knowing this is a lifelong journey were anything could be around the next curve.  
The Tools
The Artist   John Arnold
The Art
Tools of the Trade essentialiron.com
What draws me to metal is its ability to transform. The techniques I use in my work span centuries and  examples of forged metals date to before 1350 BC. I have a deep respect for the tradition of metalwork.  Blacksmiths were the engineers and innovators of their time, artists who blended form and function from the  natural elements available to them. I am drawn to the organic lines and shapes of nature and, in my  traditional pieces, I am influenced by the work of the old European masters. Currently, much of my time is  spent developing these organic elements. Metal’s qualities of texture, color, light and shadow lend themselves  to capturing these elements in three dimensions. My contemporary work tends to extremes. One minimal,  using as few elements as possible to engage and convey a moment, allowing the observer’s own experiences  to guide their interpretation. The other, complex and precise, attempting to draw the viewer into the pattern. The process of  creating a fluid form from a cold, hard raw material is always satisfying.   My work is labor intensive and permanent, standing in stark contrast with the current culture of disposable mass-production. I  view my work as a continuation of a high tradition and strive for quality and beauty worthy of that artistic history.  
Grapevine ~ essentialiron.com
Artist’s Statement
Shows and Awards
The Arts Council of Henderson County’s  “Bring Us Your Best X”  Juried Exhibit, August 15th through 30th, 2013. ~ Artist’s Choice  Award - Awarded by vote of exhibiting artists ~ 1st Place - Three Dimensional Art 
The Arts Council of Henderson County’s  “Bring Us Your Best XI”  Juried Exhibit, August 11th through 29th, 2014. ~ Artist’s Choice  Award - Awarded by vote of exhibiting artists ~ Honorable Mention - Three Dimensional Art 
Contact us by email info@essentialiron.com
All images copyright 2009-2017 Essential Iron. All rights reserved worldwide.
New
Appalachian Forge and my  studio/workshop are located  west of Hendersonville in the  mountains of Western North  Carolina. It is an area rich with  Appalachian tradition and  craftsmanship. Along with the  smithy and metal art, the shop is fitted for general welding,  fabrication and repair. In my work, I get to use old-world  techniques and modern technology to achieve the results I  require. My anvil was forged by Mouse Hole Forge of  Sheffield, England in the late 1700’s and a blacksmith from  that era could step into my forge, find familiar tools and  begin working. At the other extreme, my Thermal Dynamics  plasma cutter turns an electric arch into a precise shaft of  superheated plasma which cuts through steel like butter.  While the new “toys” of the trade are fun and efficient, I  prefer working with my hammer. When I hear my anvil ring,  I’m connected with centuries of tradition.   Currently the forge and shop are not open to the public.  
My path to artistic ironwork has been  a winding one, interrupted by college  degrees and “real” jobs which were  as important to the process as any  other stop along the way. I stumbled  onto this path as a child in my  father’s workshop. The trail has been full of side paths  demanding to be explored, each leaving their impression on  the journey. Our family has its share of artists, so old pieces  on the shelves were as common as easels, canvas and oils  during my childhood. Yes..., looking back I was bound to  follow this path, and I can’t imagine it any other way. For a  great deal the journey, I’ve been blessed to have the  companionship of my best friend, my wife. She has  encouraged me to explore the side paths and choose new  directions. I love what I do and knowing this is a lifelong  journey were anything could be around the next curve.  
Montreat Toll Road essentialiron.com
The Tools
The Artist   John Arnold
The Art
Tools of the Trade essentialiron.com
What draws me to metal is its ability to  transform. The techniques I use in my  work span centuries and examples of  forged metals date to before 1350 BC. I  have a deep respect for the tradition of  metalwork. Blacksmiths were the  engineers and innovators of their time,  artists who blended form and function from the natural  elements available to them. I am drawn to the organic lines  and shapes of nature and, in my traditional pieces, I am  influenced by the work of the old European masters.  Currently, much of my time is spent developing these  organic elements. Metal’s qualities of texture, color, light and  shadow lend themselves to capturing these elements in  three dimensions. My contemporary work tends to extremes.  One minimal, using as few elements as possible to engage  and convey a moment, allowing the observer’s own  experiences to guide their interpretation. The other, complex  and precise, attempting to draw the viewer into the pattern.  The process of creating a fluid form from a cold, hard raw  material is always satisfying.   My work is labor intensive and permanent, standing in stark  contrast with the current culture of disposable mass-  production. I view my work as a continuation of a high  tradition and strive for quality and beauty worthy of that  artistic history.  
Grapevine ~ essentialiron.com
Artist’s Statement
Shows and Awards
The Arts Council of Henderson County’s  “Bring Us Your  Best X”  Juried Exhibit, August 15th through 30th, 2013.  ~ Artist’s Choice Award - Awarded by vote of exhibiting  artists ~ 1st Place - Three Dimensional Art 
The Arts Council of Henderson County’s  “Bring Us Your  Best XI”  Juried Exhibit, August 11th through 29th, 2014.  ~ Artist’s Choice Award - Awarded by vote of exhibiting  artists ~ Honorable Mention - Three Dimensional Art