East Texas blacksmith creates metal pieces of art

Published on Sunday, 22 December 2013 22:57 - Written by KELLY GOOCH kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Artist blacksmith Sam Fontenot is ready to create whenever an idea comes to him.

Whether it’s the heat of summer or the middle of the night, he can head to his shop and work.

In Fontenot’s shop, at his Tyler home, sits a swage block and anvil, as well as a self-made hammer, among other things.

The 34-year-old East Texas native said he always has been an artist. He was previously a tattoo artist. However, he said he stopped doing tattoo work because he wasn’t pleased with the industry. 

Today, Fontenot uses metal to make furniture, decorative pieces, small sculpture bowls and what he called “very industrial art kind of stuff.” He said he shows his work at various art venues, and sells his work at these venues and through his website and Facebook page. He also does refurbishing.

Fontenot said he has worked with a blacksmith in Mississippi, but primarily considers himself self-taught.

“I do it because I love it. I think that’s why people like what I do,” he said.

As far as his materials, he said he tends to focus on recycled and refurbished things, and collects items from different people and places. For instance, he has used a water main bracket and receives wood from a retired miller in Canton. Additionally, he said he has some wooden pieces that he wants to use to make wall art.

Fontenot said he generally sells his smaller work, such as bottle openers, at shows, but his payoff is from bigger pieces.

He enjoys making things that are useful, he said, and will only make an item if he would put it in his own home.

Fontenot said he works “season to season,” and he tends to sell more pieces when he does practical items, such as tables and chairs.

He said prices vary and encouraged people to continue looking at his website, where he will post items.

Fontenot’s manager, Matthew Martin, said aside from selling items, Fontenot also does things for the community, such as volunteering or donating artwork to charities and fundraisers.

For more information about Fontenot, visit 26forgeworks.com or the 26 Forgeworks and Design Facebook page.