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Jessamine County man makes art through blacksmithing

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky.-- It's not a long trip to work for Jim Jones of Nicholasville, just a walk to the shed behind his house. It looks quiet on the outside, but inside it's all heavy metal.

Jim is a blacksmith artist. He paints with wire brushes and the color comes from torches or the coal-fired forge.

Jones said, "Seventeen years ago I saw a gentleman at a fair in Vermont. He had a coal forge going making fun stuff and I watched him and decided I wanted to do it. "

It started as a hobby, mostly self-taught, but soon he was so busy, he decided to leave his job as a mechanic at the University of Kentucky and play with fire full-time. He can now make delicate things out of bars of steel.


"I love it," Jones said "Once the steel is hot you can make it do any shape you want it to go and once it cools, it's permanent and unbreakable."

He sells the items at craft shows and through the Internet. Wine racks are popular, so are branding irons for steaks and anything made from horseshoes.

"Nothing is junk. I will stop along the road and pick up a bar of steel that fell off somebody's truck. I can honestly say that."

Jim's teenage daughter, Bri Rodriguez, has also taken a shine to metal crafting. She makes decorative items such as reindeer, owls and turtles.

She says it's therapy.

"It kinds of relieves anger and stress because you're getting to beat on things and light things on fire, she said. "It's really fun actually."

Blacksmith artistry is a new twist on an old craft. It's neat to see modern things made with century-old tools.

He uses wire brushes and beeswax to give pieces an aged look. "I make antiques while you wait," he jokes.

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To learn more, visit the website for Forge On Metalworks. Jim Jones also offers lessons for people who like to try their hand at blacksmith art.

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