What is your medium of choice? Metal.
Why have you chosen your current medium? I like the way metal looks, feels, and moves. It’s so strong but gives so freely when heated.
Where do you find inspiration? It could be something as simple as a shape of a cloud, tree, a line on a hillside, etc. I can make things with that. It’s all in the way things flow.
Where is your studio? Inwood, WV… The building was constructed in 1948. It was the machine shop used by Musselman Apple Plant. Very cool industrial feel to it.
How do you get yourself out of a creative rut? We do a lot of different things. If there’s ever something that holds me up, I leave it alone and move onto the next project until I feel inspired to get back on that original one again.
You have a time machine. Where are you going? I’d go somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, pre-Civil War. I can picture myself doing what I’m doing today, only back then.
Share your process - bonus points if there's a story behind it. Everything starts with a design. We have to have a picture or a sketch, an idea of where we are going. From there, we draw it out 4 or 5 different times on the table. From the table, we take raw material, and then we hand forge every bit and piece, until those pieces form the template we have created on the table. Then we weld it, if it needs to be welded. We paint it, wrap it, and ship it.
What's your dream project - if you had all the time and materials in the world? I’d want to hand build a car that looks just like a 1929 Ford Model A using only parts that I make.
What artists influence your work - who are your creative idols? I don’t have any. I try to do my own thing. I am inspired by many metal workers, but I try to separate myself from the crowd. I try not to duplicate anyone’s work or copy anyone’s style. I seek advice from others who do similar work, but I take what I like and leave what I don’t.
Describe yourself in 5 words. I let my wife do that for me… she said, “Faithful, conscientious, determined, impassioned, and impatient.”
Describe your work in 5 words. Original, authentic, timeless, heirlooms, wrought.
How do you find balance? We don’t. We are self employed and have five kids. There is no balance. Everything about our lifestyle, and our life – is in constant motion. There just can’t be balance. We make it work though. I will say, my wife and I are both skilled in different areas of the business and we work really well as a team, so, although life is busier than ever, we have a smooth operation.
Is there a story behind your blog/shop name? VinTin was a name I had thought of when I was a kid. I have always had a passion for old cars, the first car ever made was a Model T Ford, often referred to as a “Tin Lizzie”. My dream was to start a hot rod shop, so Vintage Tin sounded great. Plans changed and we became VinTin, which ended up being very applicable.
What's your typical day? Wake up, drink coffee with my wife, eat breakfast with all my kids, make sure I have the order forms I need to start my day, leave the house. My paid apprentice and I get to the shop a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. everyday. We light the forge, open the windows, forge all day. We get many interruptions from clients and friends walking in, and phone calls, but it keeps things interesting. We leave no later than 5:00 p.m. We have modernized banker’s hours.