Uniontown Artist Creates Organic Beauty

Article excerpt

September's artist at the Law Library in the Fayette County Court House creates organic shapes in metal and wood.

Jim Campbell, 94, of Uniontown, is a blacksmith and copper artist.

His creations are abstract, but have organic forms, including one of a person that twists in the breeze, and a small abstract animal poking out of a knot hole on a piece of wood.

"I normally use copper and brass. I put the metal on an anvil and stretch or work it on void with a wood, plastic or leather mallet. I shape it, which is what I prefer to do. I also will do metal sculpture with oxygen and an acetylene torch," Campbell said.

"My work is organic," he said. "I get a lot of ideas from nature, from curves in nature, different designs, plant forms, leaf forms and looking at rocks. The works are abstract design forms and shapes. Nature stimulates me to try to copy it."

He became interested in blacksmithing at a young age. He attended the Ella Peach School in Uniontown, now home to the Uniontown Area School District offices.

"In 1932, I was taking a shortcut to school through an alley. I passed a blacksmith shop, and that excited me. I found an anvil and found a forge and started heating metal to see what happened."

He took the first blacksmithing course offered by Touchstone in 1977 and began collecting blacksmith tools, specializing in anvils. …