It takes a special kind of creativity to shape metal into art. Metal can be unforgiving, with the smallest impurity ruining the work. The creator must be precise and masterful, like blacksmith artist Jeff Fetty.
A native of Spencer in Roane County, Jeff is one of just seven metal artists featured in the 2012 International Metal Design Annual. He is the sixth American to ever be included.
Since its first publishing in 1999, the International Metal Design Annual has been renowned as the collection of top metal artists and their creations. The book is fiercely competitive, and this year’s copy features metal workers from Great Britain, Russia, and Italy, to name a few. Jeff is the only American in the book this year.
“Being chosen as one of the world’s leading metal designers is a pinnacle in my career. I could not have imagined this level of achievement and recognition 40 years ago when I began this artistic journey,” Jeff says. “The beauty of West Virginia inspires me and the people of West Virginia have supported me and that is a magical combination. Throughout my artistic career, individual patrons, government officials, and foundations have been unwavering in their support of me, my vision, and my art.”
You can see Jeff’s work—towering metal flowers, intriguing tables, compelling candleholders—in cities all over the state, and of course the world. Jeff creates masterpieces from his studio at the Chestnut Ridge Artist Colony, high up on a hill overlooking his hometown.
When Jeff began perfecting his art so many years ago, he spent the first seven years creating simple things like fireplace tools. Now his work includes everything from architecturally masterful iron archways to practical but elegant fireplace screens. He is widely known for his sculptures, like those at his Trace Fork Sculpture Garden—a beautiful garden of colorful, metal flowers.
State and local dignitaries will gather Wednesday, April 11, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Chestnut Ridge Artist Colony in Spencer for a special news conference in honor of Jeff’s accomplishment. Special guest speakers will include West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette and West Virginia Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. The event is being coordinated by the Tamarack Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing West Virginia’s artists and their businesses.
Copies of the 2012 International Metal Design Annual are available for purchase at Jeff Fetty Designs and Taylor Books in Charleston. A special book-signing event will be held April 19, 2012, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Taylor Books.
To see Jeff’s work, visit jefffetty.com.