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Spencer blacksmith named one of the world's seven premier metal designers

SPENCER, W.Va. -- Master blacksmith Jeff Fetty will be honored for his selection as one of the top metal designers in the world in a Wednesday ceremony at his studio.

State and local dignitaries will gather at Chestnut Ridge Artist Colony, with presentations by state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to pay tribute to the West Virginia native who has built a global reputation, having created metalwork for writer Tom Clancy, the Clinton White House, fashion designer Yves St. Laurent and the Globe Theatre in London.

Fetty is one of only seven metal designers in the world to be selected and featured in the 2012 International Metal Design Annual. The Annual, published in Germany, selects the world's premier metal designers and devotes a chapter to each artist and their work.

Last week in his office, overlooking the blacksmith's shop below, he showed visitors a copy of the book, as well as copies of past editions.

"I've looked at this and thought, 'These are the greats,'" he said of the artists featured in past years. "It has them all. I always wanted to be in it. To be included is astounding."

Fetty is childlike in his enthusiasm for the event, being coordinated by the Tamarack Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing West Virginia's artists and their businesses.

"We're going to have a podium, right here in the studio. And, a satellite truck out back. A satellite truck!" he exclaimed, in anticipation of the event at his rural Roane county shop.

While he's proud of his "celebrity" commissioned works, he's just as delighted with the simple blossom-shaped candlesticks and popular daffodils that he sells at Tamarack. He is humbled to be listed in the book.

First published in 1999, this series of books is the world's most comprehensive compendium of contemporary metal design. Fetty is only the sixth American ever to be included; the most recent American featured was Albert Paley in 2007. Paley created "Halleluiah," the massive sculpture in front of the Clay Center in Charleston. 

The 2012 book features artists from Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

Sally Barton, Tamarack Foundation executive director, said her organization is especially grateful to Fetty for his continued dedication to helping young artists.

"While the Tamarack Foundation has helped Jeff, he has given back in so many ways," Barton said. "He is always an inspiration and a mentor for up-and-coming artists."

Barton said Fetty has attracted students and buyers from around the world to his studio in rural West Virginia.

Fetty said after the ceremony, he'll return to his day-to-day routine.

"After the satellite truck leaves, I'm probably going to go dig a ditch," he said with a laugh.

Copies of the 2012 International Metal Design Annual are available for purchase at Jeff Fetty Designs and Taylor Books in Charleston. Fetty will attend a book signing at Taylor on April 19.

Read an in-depth interview with Jeff Fetty and see more photos of the artist's works in the Life & Style section of this week's Sunday Gazette-Mail.

Reach Sara Busse at sara.busse@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.

 


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