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MFA Metal Art

Daniel Strandow

Iron to Icon: Forging the Sacred from Fragments of Tradition and Technology

From Iron to Icon

What is sacred? How is it relevant for us today? And what does the metalsmith have to do with it?

This project explores the archetype of the metalsmith as a path to constituting the sacred. I fragment and reforge reclaimed iron and modern steel to achieve a fractal aesthetic, as found in the branching of trees and in the patterns of the elements. These symbolize the mystery of iron released from the sky as meteorites, brought to term in the ground as iron ore, until being finally delivered through the forge.

From the traditional view of art I am inspired by the idea that the sacredness of an object is inseparable from its aesthetic and its function. And as a contemporary material-based artist I highlight how the power, rhythm, and material connection of forging can inform the aesthetic, as well as the objects’ function and sense of the sacred. The results are masks and vessels made from both pattern welded and homogenous steels.

The three pairs of mask and vessel represent the three spheres of Sky, Earth, and Underworld. The fourth vessel speaks of fire and the movement between the worlds.