Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Busy Season

I am pleased to announce that Boone's Hooks shop is very busy these days and that is the reason for my lack of new articles on this blog.
I am participating in local art shows, filling orders from the internet, getting prepared for the local holiday art show and fulfilling a major order for the Gaiam/Real Goods catalog.
Business is great, thank you for your support and please do not hesitate to order your own fine hand-forged ironwork. We still have a couple of weeks to safely ship in time for the holidays!

I look forward to hearing from you. Happy Holidays.

I will be adding new articles regarding blacksmithing, design, art etc.. as soon as I am able.

Smyth Boone

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boone's Hooks: DesignShell.com

Boone's Hooks: DesignShell.com


Here is a nice Interior Design web resource that I just found. The site contains helpful photos, ideas, blogs and resources. Please check it out...

DesignShell.Com is a free online home design resource, here you will find tips and tricks on everything you need to know about home design: interior design, furniture, bedroom, architecture, decor, living room, house, kitchen, bathroom.



Smyth Boone

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Design Style Guide

I would like to introduce a new website called Design Style Guide.

The site is a collection of amazing hand made art from artists that specialize in interior design. The site is a brilliant one stop resource for a growing number of artists and professionals in the home decorating industry.

A couple of my favorite things about the site is that it is simply a networking tool to get prospective buyers to individual artists websites and highlights so many great artists and buyers can see a ton of wonderful art all in one stop.

Design Style Guide is very easy to navigate, features treasuries, and only carries high caliber artwork that meets rigorous standards. The editors make sure every posting qualifies to their specific standards.

Here is the description on the Design Style Guide homepage:

If you are an interior designer, decorator, or home stager, this website is designed to help you quickly find that perfect accent to help you sell to your clients. You can search for items by style, color, room, or material, to help you work more efficiently and use less of your valuable time wading through the mountains of things available online.

Please check it out... http://www.designstyleguide.net/


Smyth Boone

Monday, September 29, 2008

Interview on ETSY

Here is a very nice interview on me and Boone's Hooks that is being featured on ETSY.com.

ETSY is a huge website/network/store featuring exclusively hand made products. It is like the size of "google" for artists. Please check it out, leave a comment etc...

Here is the link http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/spotlight/article/fresh-shops-booneshooks/2615/


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Boone's Hooks in Gaiam/Real Goods catalog

I am proud to announce that the Boone's Hooks hand forged home accessories line has been picked up by the Gaiam/Real Goods Living 2008 Fall Holiday Catalog.

Gaiam is the leading provider for green and ecologically friendly products on the planet. As you know Boone's Hooks are made of 100% recycled steel, the most recycled product on the globe.

Please sign up and get a catalog mailed to you or check it out on the internet. Here is the link to the web page featuring Boone's Hooks...


Here is a word about Gaiam:

Gaiam invites you to live the life of intention you've envisioned. From yoga & fitness DVDs to non-toxic cleaners, we give you the green shopping options and healthy living products to help you live your best life. Discover health & wellness tools, sustainable living solutions and green products from our online catalogs.

and here is the link to Gaiam...

I am glad to participate in the green revolution! Thank you for your support.

Smyth Boone

Friday, September 5, 2008


I am headed to Northern California to unite with people from all over the globe and celebrate the Earth and peace via dancing, visiting, and listening to great music! I will be gone until September 16th.
Please visit http://www.earthdancelive.com/ for more information. I hope to see you there.
Smyth Boone

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Creating Motion...

As a 3-dimensional artist, the artist/blacksmith has the ability to easily create movement and motion with their forgings.
For example...

This sculpture a Smyth Boone original from 2005 is called "Surfing..." (15" x 9" by 18" tall) Owned by the Mueller Collection.
The title, "Surfing..." is a verb because the sculpture shows suggested motion and movement. In the next photo, the viewer can see the balance, visual stress, strength of the medium, and some fun. The waves are forged steel scrolls which give the impression of waves and moving water. The blacksmith is an impressionist(more on this topic in a later discussion). Here is a closer view of the action...In the photo above, check out how far out the surfer is from the base waves. He is joined by two small rivets that go through the surf board and a wave. I extended the surf board as far out as I could to really highlight the strength of the steel; although, it grabs the viewers' attention because it is so far out there that it would appear to be unstable or actually moving. This is referred to as stress or tension in a design. Stress and tension is a very common and strong device to use as an artist because it attracts the viewer.
Notice the body movement of the Surfer. He is twisted in a very natural and possible position. This is very important when using the human form. The human form needs to be in a possible and conceivable position for the viewer to believe the sculpture.
The extension of the arms is another way to direct the viewers eye and create a larger form for the sculpture, once again creating motion and direction. Balance is the double entendre' here. The sculpture is balanced and the surfer is balancing!
Also in the above photo... check out the waves. They are all separate and have a unique flow. This suggests movement to the viewer because each one is a different position which creates action. The waves are not static, they are visually moving. The scrolls forming the waves are compound curves(curves going in more than one direction simultaneously) which is one of the unique properties gained by forging steel.

The photo above demonstrates the "riders" hair flowing, his arms and hands keeping balance while they convince the viewer that he is moving. Also check out how far the surf board is extended beyond the waves.

Now see the details of the riveted connection, the wave details, and the position of the surfer. His back foot is naturally leaning forward and his toes are on the board while his heel is raised.

The final view, below, shows the motion from a side angle. Check out the suggested movement of the waves, the surfer, and the entire piece together.

One of my favorite things about using steel as a medium is it's physical strength. Not only is it the perfect material for railings, fire pokers and building structures, it also lends itself to beautiful sculpture.
Smyth Boone

Artist Statement

I figure that now is a good time to share my artist statement with you...

"The artist blacksmith has a unique variety of forging techniques that are specific to the craft of blacksmithing. Forged textures, joinery, forge welding, and the ability to transform metal are some examples. In my work, I highlight these many techniques through composition and execution of a project. The resulting effect expresses harmony of design and function with regard to the integrity of the medium."


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Negative & Positive space in design Part 2

This article is intended to demonstrate how to use negative and positive spacial relationships in design. The example I am using actually composes an image in the negative space, creating quite a treat for the viewer.
The example is from a fireplace screen, Fire Dancers, and was designed by Smyth Boone and Robin Boone. All of the drawings are by Robin Boone. The drawings are all full-scale.
Here is the first line drawing that shows the connection of the eight positive "figures"(only two in this photo) which form a circle when laid out. Notice the suggestion of a figure in between the two positive figures.

The line drawing above is not visually clear on the negative and positive attributes that will become the highlight of the design. So... here is a drawing that has been shaded to show the positive(solid) compared to the negative(spaces in between the positive aspects).The negative and positive spacial relationships jump out at the viewer. Now, it appears that the heads and hands of the positive "figures" face each other with their hands extended above their heads forming a suggested circle. This is an example of using positive space to suggest a form in the negative space. The circle in the middle is simply suggested.
An artist has the ability to force the viewer to look in the direction that he/she intends. In this example, your eyes automatically follow the lines of the positive forms leading you to the center of the design.
Another form that has now shown up is the negative space "figure" in the space between the positive "figures" which is facing away from the middle circle.
So.. not only does this design draw the viewers' eye to the suggested circle in the center, but it also, by using the negative space "figures", draws the viewers' eye back out of the center circle simultaneously. This combination of moving one's eyes in and out simultaneously is a very active, fun, and successful design characteristic.
The drawing below illustrates this point.

Now to show one more cool feature highlighting the negative and positive spacial relationships and the actual function of the piece. Lets add fire to the mix...
The fire constantly changes and moves highlighting the positive and negative spacial relationships.
The use of positive and negative spacial relationships is quite an asset to the artist and can make very interesting and intriguing art that pleases both the viewer and the artist.

Smyth Boone

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go Green! Recycled Steel...

Boone's Hooks uses 100% recycled steel for all of it's forgings! With great design, Boone's Hooks transforms the recycled steel into useful functional artwork for your home... to last approximatley 2-5000 years!

This is a great claim that I am proud of for my business. Steel happens to be the most recycled material on the planet. All of the raw material steel stock that I buy at the steel supply yard has been recycled.

According to Wikipedia... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel)
Steel is the most widely recycled material in the United States.[24] The steel industry has been actively recycling for more than 150 years, in large part because it is economically advantageous to do so. It is cheaper to recycle steel than to mine iron ore and manipulate it through the production process to form 'new' steel.

Iron is the base material in steel which is one of the most plentiful materials on the globe. Iron ore is mixed with a few other ingredients which creates steel, a much harder and usable medium.

Here is how it works... old cars, iron structures from buildings, old washers and driers, etc... are all collected and melted in big batches(imagine a BIG pot of boiling red hot molten metal!). Once the metal is melted it can be re-poured into the forms the industry uses consistently. These forms are either bars stock, sheet metal, or industrial stock.

Feel free to support your local blacksmith.. they are working towards a greener planet for us all!

Smyth Boone

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I have found that different places for advertising take different artistic approaches according to the potential clients that will see the ad.

This top ad photo is clean and classy. I use this ad on my local movie theater screen. I am able to trade work for the ad space. It shows before all movies and events at the theater, The Paradise, in Paonia, Co. http://paradiseofpaonia.com/
I live in a small town and I find it very important to let the locals know about my business. I have had lots of local clients let me know that they have seen the ad and are glad to support my local business.
It is difficult to trace the direct effects of the ad, but am sure it gets the word out to the local community which I feel is critical for success. The locals are great for recommending one's work when guests visit and are looking for art/crafts.

Next ad...
This is the paid ad that I run in The Mountain Gazette magazine. http://mountaingazette.com/
The Gazette is a free publication distributed throughout all mountain towns in the western U. S. It highlights incredible writers and is a very cheeky vibe which relates well to the local populations living in mountain towns.
You can see the ad reflects the style of readers. Hopefully, the reader finds it interesting and funny enough to check out my website. I have had good results and plenty of good comments and a reasonable amount of sales. The ad runs monthly which is critical for product recognition and potential sales.
Currently, I do not track where all of my sales come from, but that is maybe something I will be able to fine-tune in the future.
Future discussions involving advertising may include discussions regarding the artwork, information, locations of ads, costs involved, and results.

Smyth Boone

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Art for Ourselves or the Client?

Here is a topic for discussion that I have been pondering for years... The original conversation comes from "Craft Versus mass Production" blog on http://designstyleguide.ning.com/forum

Do we create a piece of art for the client/viewer or do we create a piece of art for ourselves?
I had a blacksmith tell me a story about his project of restoring a small railing that was way up on top of a hundred foot high church steeple. After the blacksmith took down the old piece, he looked on the inside of it and there was some very fine chisel work. The chisel work was extensive and very well executed. The chisel work could never be seen by anyone viewing from the ground, not only was it 100 feet high, it was also facing in towards a wall.
This leads to the question... why did the blacksmith put such amazing art where it never would be seen? Was it for the client or for himself?
I tend to lean towards the idea that, as an artist, we create beautiful artwork for ourselves first and then the viewer/client second. I do know that I feel much better making my art as good as I can for my own satisfaction and integrity regardless of what the client sees or feels from it(within reason, of course). Maybe, and hopefully, the client will someday appreciate and understand the art, but sometimes, if ever, it takes along time for another to absorb the true meaning the artist intended.

I am interested in your opinion on this one...

Smyth Boone

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boone Blacksmithing Legacy

I am very proud to be part of a family that has been passing down the craft of blacksmithing for at least 18 generations. Yes, at least 18 generations!

According to family folklore the Boone’s have been forging iron since the time of the Vikings. Don Plummer, author of the book The Boone Blacksmithing Legacy, 1991, has traced the blacksmithing line back eighteen generations from the current smiths in the family; Dan Boone VII, Tom Boone, and M. Smyth Boone. Daniel Boone the famous American hero and explorer was a farrier blacksmith in George Washington’s army.

In the early 20th century the Boone blacksmith’s were working in the shop of their father, Kelse Boone, in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. The invention of the automobile was being developed allowing delivery of products to even the most remote locations and the industrial revolution was in full swing. General farmer blacksmiths services were no longer in such great demand due to the creation of mass produced and cheaply replaceable tractor parts and a cost effective delivery system.

Kelse Boone, Smyth’s great grandfather, told the boys in the blacksmith shop that if they wanted to continue to be blacksmiths, the family trade, that they would need to switch from being farmer style smiths to become artist blacksmiths.

Kelse’s sons Daniel Boone VI and his brother Lawrence Boone, Smyth’s grandfather, heeded this advice and became master blacksmiths of the twentieth century. The Boone brothers were hired John D. Rockefeller to do all of the forged ironwork in the famous restoration project of the city of Williamsburg, Virginia in the 1930’s. The Boone’s also forged the incredible ironwork in the Asheville Hotel and the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina.Daniel Boone VII, Smyth’s father, learned the art from his father and has gone on to become one of the more respected and successful blacksmiths forging in the U.S. today. Dan teaches the art of forging at many blacksmithing schools and regularly demonstrates his masterful signature item… dragonheads.

In the late 1980’s, Dan Boone VI taught his son M. Smyth Boone the art and craft of fine blacksmithing. Smyth has been forging notable commissions and has been teaching his skills internationally since 1991. Smyth combines his inherent blacksmithing skills with the versatile design talents of Robin A. Boone, artist extraordinaire. The unique arrangement of Smyth’s internationally recognized forging skills and Robin’s complex designs combine to form one of the strongest unions in the field of contemporary ironwork.

Tom Boone, Smyth’s brother is forging incredible commissions and demonstrating at some of the finest art and craft festivals on the East coast. You can find some of Tom’s beautiful forging in Dona Mielach’s book, Fireplace Accessories, Schiffer Books 2002.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Great quote

Here is one of my favorite quotes dealing with art and humanity as a whole. It gives me hope as an artist and an imperfectionist.

"As machines become more and more efficient and perfect, so it will become clear that imperfection is the greatness of man."

~Ernest Fischer (1899-1972) Austrian editor, poet, critic. The Necessity for Art, ch. 5 (1959, trans. 1963)

This quote will lead us to a nice discussion on design in the future...


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Design Topic 2: What is good design?

I would like to share my personal opinion of what I feel creates good design.

My experience comes from years of working on all facets of the craft of blacksmithing. I have taught numerous classes on blacksmithing and explained this discussion to the participants with regard to the topic of design.

I will use this railing sample to illustrate my explanation.This is an original Boone Wrought Iron design by Robin and Smyth Boone in 1997.

Here is another view.
This design is located on a large house that one drives up to. When a person drives up, they will notice these horizontal lines with some sort of uprights/verticals holding the lines perpendicular to each other and sitting on top of a stone wall on the perimeter of the house.

Next, in the vertical dimension, one notices the oval shapes with "arms(scrolls)" crossing over each other on top and reaching out to connect to the straight vertical bars. The scrolls are attached with collars and seem to hang the whole center element in the air. This motion lifts the viewer's eye higher into the design. It is not a static design, it is active. The "hanging" of the central element gives the design some stress( another blog subject to come...) and seems to have the element floating from the upper connections(collars) which creates visual stimulation.

A lot of suggested triangle shapes present themselves to the viewer in an inverting repeating manner. One can quickly realize the interesting patterns and are then hopefully interested enough to look more as they get closer.

As the viewer gets closer to the railing they realize that the upright straight bars have a twist just above half way up which creates another relationship between the twisted bars and the height of the collar on each oval element. The twist also creates interest for the viewer. The details keep coming alive as one gets closer to the piece.

This drawing is by Robin Boone:
Please note the imaginary triangle between the three collars. Humans are naturally attracted to triangles which is one factor that helps this to be a successful design.

Next, the viewer will notice the positive and negative spatial relationships going on. The positive space is the solid bars and the negative space is the air between the solids. This is one of very interesting aspects for your eyes to actively perceive. Once again drawing the interest of the observer.

The next aspect, after the viewer is enjoying the design and is interested in learning more, is touching the forged railing. This is the ultimate for the blacksmith/artist because not only is the design successful enough to engage the viewer visually, they can be assured the person will love the soft hand forged feeling(texture). All of the bars have had they corners softened by being hand hammered from the fire and sanded for a soft touch. The observer then finds that everything is soft to the touch, yet very hard due to the fact that it is made of steel and is an impenetrable border. Irony is intriguing; and therefore, another successful design technique for the artist to use.

Another interesting aspect once one is very close are the forged details that show up. For instance; riveted tenon joinery, the collars are made of 1/2 round stock, and the overlapping joints at the main upright bars, to mention a few.

So... my idea of what constitutes good design is...

At every vantage point the viewer finds something intriguing and interesting from the design keeping them participating by engaging their mind/soul by continuing to look at, absorb, touch and/or "feel" the art.

Hopefully, the art is memorable and perhaps subject for further discussion and exploration.

Smyth Boone

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Design Topic 1: positive and negative space

This piece is a forged scroll measuring approximately 10" in diameter. At first the viewer is drawn to the simple elegance of the universally appealing scroll. Why?
Here is one reason...
The appealing element of this scroll is the use of negative space and its' relationship to positive space. A perfect scroll always has an increasing negative space.(note: this particular forging has a growing negative space towards the center of the scroll and then a diminishing negative space on the outer edges in my attempt to create more of a circle for this sculpture.)
Positive space is what we refer to as the solid material. Negative space is the blank space between the solids.
The artist can use the positive space to create an interesting negative space that engages the viewer. This is what humans are drawn to. Interesting relationships.
Forged iron is an excellent medium for expressions in positive and negative space usage. Steel/wrought iron is a very strong, yet fluid material that creates bold lines(positive) and makes one see the artists' suggestion of design found in the negative space.
Once you can see the detail a little closer, one realizes that there is a flower suggestively chiseled into the scroll. This will lead to our next discussion on the gestalt style of design and suggestions for the viewer.
Another very interesting design element, to be discussed in the future, is the use of the golden mean.
I look forward to your comments and ideas.


Welcome to my blog.

I plan on adding many interesting discussions regarding design, positive and negative spacial relationships, forging steel, the Boone blacksmithing legacy, teaching art/craft to mention a few.

I am open to any topics related to art, blacksmithing, marketing, sales experiences, etc...

I look forward to networking and learning with you.

Smyth Boone