For 2 years I did art shows. Shows that ranged from high end home and garden shows that Dragon Forge LTD was part of down to doing demonstrations in downtown Denver at night clubs – they were outside if you were wondering. In that event I had the mind set that I was going to sell metal art work. Doing some research of what I could do but also what did I think others would want, it came to me that the “bowl” or “vessel” was the item to make. It was universal. All cultures have this item, use this tool, understand how it works. Off to work I went designing and forging bowls. I forged about 20 bowls. Some out of chain, some out of scrap pieces, some out of solid plate. Each bowl taught me something along the way. Some new technique, different lesson with each concept. To be honest, I was proud of myself since I could see how far I came once I started.

Taking these bowls to shows was a huge disappointment. The average person did not care, did not know how to use, what to do or even recognize what they were looking at. The most common question was “What would I do with this bowl?” Then started the lesson and sales of trying to sell a bowl. In the process I forged some cigar bowls. The women were the ones who typically bought from me, but upon seeing the cigar bowl a discussion of “that’s a disgusting habit” started up. Then they wanted to talk about something they didn’t like, connect it with the item I made…and would leave! HA! It was a complete fail.

One of the last shows I did, I was concerned that my items would be in the cute nick-nacky category. What was I to forge?! So I forged my first 5 foot sculpture. The show was a young crowd and to get their attention I decided to forge a piece that was about human genitalia…”intersecting” with each other…ok it was sex. The sculpture was a big sexy scene in metal…there i said it!  I put a bright light on it and it gleamed like a new car. People would come over to look at it and it was abstract enough that it was not vulgar or distracting. One gentleman walked by and yelled “Praise the lord, brother!” I toasted him with my beer and he preached some scripture. I let him finish and then brought him to the piece that spoke to him so strong. Once it was clear that it was not a crucifix, he left. The point of this story is I went through the same thing Ira Glass is talking about in the video below. I dove into a creative funk and though I didn’t pay off my college loans from it, nor was I discovered for being the next greatest thing, those two years on my own experimenting, talking, and sharing really tuned me up inside. So if you find yourself in a funk, dont stop! Keep going! You might find something in there that is waiting to be discovered.

Keep forging and most of all keep it dirty 😉

-Dirty Smith

You can see my “funk” here at