Lorelei Sims, blacksmith artist


Charleston-based blacksmith Lorelei Sims shares her passion for the art of blacksmithing.

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Photos courtesy of Lorelei Sims

Lorelei Sims | ART/BTS

- [Voiceover] When I was young I knew that the visual arts were going to be a part of my life. The natural progressions of being interested in drawing my surroundings, doing sketches of my Great Dane dogs when they were sleeping. All of these things directly related to me developing as an artist. But when I took my very first metal working class I knew that there was a connection there. I think the one real defining moment was taking a sculpture class in college. And they had hired a blacksmith. And when I saw him I just felt like… The connection was complete. I liked the idea that you physically had to work with the material. My blacksmith shop has modern equipment, a Mig Welder Tig plasma cutter. But it also has older equipment, trip hammers, V-Anvils, and some of the hand tools. I love old things, old equipment. I really love the connection of history. You have you, the fire, the metal, the hammer, and the anvil. And from those five basic things you can make anything. I love function and I love when objects that have a specific purpose can also have a wonderful aesthetic. And so, what I would do is I would look at iron work from catalogs, and I thought how could I create the same function, the same purpose, but add my flare to it? And my flare is replicating the botanical elements found in Central Illinois. I love incorporating my outdoor world into my art. So everyday objects can be beautiful, unique, one of a kind pieces. And that is part of what I love in my shop. There’s no two days that are the same. And I know that some people would find that nerve wrecking, but I don’t think I would be happy any other way. I know that what I’m doing is what I’m meant to be doing. And, this is where you’ll find me. This is where I’ll always be until I’m not here anymore. I’m Lorelei Sims and I am an artist blacksmith. And I have been blacksmithing for 23 years here in Charleston, Illinois.