Stiegler Metal Design
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Artist Statement

In 1973 I prayed for something that I could do that shows that God exists and helps in our lives. I plugged into iron and never looked back; it is what I am intended to do. I feel privileged to have been in on the ground floor of the rebirth and renaissance of the art of smiting in America.  I get behind the anvil and hammer iron.  I suspect if I am at all lucky, I will die that way.

My business has always had a specific structure….God is in charge of finding the clients; I am in charge of doing the work.  God supplies the gift of forging and I tell those who ask that it is a gift and where I got it.  Doors opened, things happened and 35 years later…I’m still doing it the same way as when I first started.  I’m just more experienced now and the stakes are higher, the expectations are higher and the work is ever challenging.  The most challenging part of this type of business arrangement is to get out of the way and let the work sell itself.        

Over the past 35 years I have  taught several hundred workshops  or lectures.  I forge steel or bronze.  Lately it has been bronze...655.  In the last five years we have run nearly  50,000# of 655 through Stiegler Metal Design.  We have one 5 gallon bucket of scrap left over after turning that tonnage  into railings, doors, gates, lighting, sink bases and hammered bar tops.  We specialize in rivets, mortice and tenon.  It looks old, it feels old.        I live in Plymouth, CA.  and do high end forgings for those with discretionary income.  Most of my work is in Pebble Beach and Palo Alto, CA.           

It all started when my husband (now deceased) took a course in horse shoeing at the farrier school in our area of Washington State.  I took the next course and as I was getting ready to start, the old instructor left and a new hot shot took over. The entire thing went past coincidence very quickly as doors opened and opportunity after opportunity presented. The instructor (Barry Rice) saw the potential that I had for the ironwork over the horse shoeing and he had been to Frank Turley's.  He pointed me that direction.  I went to Turley's who pointed me to ABANA which was less than two years old at the time, also to Francis whittaker and Tom Bredlow. The rest is history. Many years have gone by, each with it's own set of challenges and learning experiences.  From Turley's I was asked to teach blacksmithing (imagine that!!!) at the college where I learned to shoe horses.  I learned along with my students and this is probably why I love teaching today...I taught there for 20 years in the Continuing Ed Department. I received an Honorary Teaching Certificate from that institution to teach Adult Education Classes. I have been invited to teach workshops and demonstrations all over the US and abroad. They invite me to spend time in their shops, share their secrets with me while I share mine with them, pat me on the back and pay me with real money before sending me home.  I have learned along with all of them...we have gone to school step at a time, one technique at a time.  I have been fortunate to watch and learn from many greats..Turley, Whitaker, Paley, Gunter, Ross, the list goes on and on..  I have received wonderful awards along the way, many gold in color.  The Bealer Award was a highlight of my life and having my daughter there to present it was priceless. The Laureate Award from the 1998 ABANA Conference is precious to me.   Two Gold Trouser Button from AACHEN Teaching and Design presented by the late Manfred Bredohl are among my favorite. Who could orchestrate such a career?  Certainly not I.  If I had know where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve, I would likely have screwed it up from the start. I have let God be the business manager because He knows everyone and I have tried to let it work out by itself.  I had no idea all of "this" was out there. I have had a wonderful, interesting life because of it.  I just give credit where it is due and give everything into the industry that I am asked. That's one of the reasons I love ABANA so much, it's my chance to give back on a daily basis.  The success that I find in this career is counted in the integrality that I place into every project that I do and into every aspect of my life.  Touching the life of another along the way is the real measure of success to me.  With smithing, I have been able to live a life of integrity, touch the lives of others and show that God loves every one of us and helps us all.  I love my life, sure it is hard and there have been many difficult hurdles along the way...there still are.  However, I have the assurance, based upon the philosophy that started everything, it will all work out in the end.  I need ask for nothing more.  I step up to the anvil and hammer iron and bronze.   If I am at all fortunate, I will die with my hammer in hand.  
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