|Artist Profile: |
Blacksmith Michael Leggett
With heredity by his side, Alabama native Michael Leggett discovers a hidden talent — and new career — as a blacksmith.
Humble Beginnings Michael Leggett is a blacksmith prodigy. Self-taught in many areas of the craft, it’s sort of a fluke he became involved with it in the first place. While sandblasting a young blacksmith’s table (a skill he’s been practicing since he was a teenager), Michael’s curiosity was sparked about the art. As fate would have it, his great-grandfather was also a blacksmith and had an old shop that had been disassembled and stored on his family farm for more than 40 years. After bringing everything out of storage, Michael soon realized his natural talent. “I must have something running through my veins,” he says. “My mother also was artistic, so I think it’s a combination of the two that comes through in my work.” What started out as a hobby led to demonstrations at arts and crafts shows and his own blacksmith shop, where he works on various full-time projects.
Behind the Scenes Michael prides himself on making people’s ideas a reality — it’s the catch phrase driving his business. “My work doesn’t really lean toward a particular style, so I can dabble in different styles to give people exactly what they want,” he says. He also sees the project through from start to finish, including the installation of the piece (if necessary). “I’ve learned you have to wear many hats as a blacksmith,” he says.
Material Matters Although Michael predominantly works with steel, he’s quick to mention that there’s much more to being a blacksmith than understanding metals. Woodworking and painting have become an integral role in many of his projects. His sandblasting skills also have been beneficial. “Lots of customers like things that look rusted and worn-looking. By sandblasting the metal, I’m able to take a brand-new piece and make it look 100 years old in a matter of three weeks,” says Michael. His chandeliers also are unusual in that he uses long mule pulls he gets from farmers in place of chains to reinforce the rustic, antique look.
Inspiration Point Though his family has obviously been a huge emphasis in his work, Michael also counts his friends and fellow blacksmiths, Bob Watt and Stan Strickland, as inspirations. “We help each other out. When I need assistance with a project, they’ll come work on it with me, and vice-versa,” Michael says.
Buy It Fireplace sets average $300, while the rest of his creations depend on scale, complexity and time. For more information, call 770-853-6812, or visit creativeforgings.net.
View some of Michael’s work by scrolling down and viewing the slideshow. Having trouble with the slideshow? View MIchael Leggett’s work here!