Ramsey Library Exhibits

Life Force at the Anvil

The Blacksmith's Art from Africa

May 22 to August 26, 1998

This exceptional exhibition has been organized by Tom Joyce, a blacksmith from Santa Fe, New Mexico, in conjunction with the 1998 International Forging Conference of the Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America to be held at UNCA on June 17-20. It contains 115 pieces of forged metal work from areas south of the Sahara Desert in Africa contributed by various collectors. The exhibit has been underwritten by UNCA and by ABANA.

International Forging Conference
of the
Artist-Blacksmith's Association

June 17-20, 1998

Tom Joyce says of the pieces in the exhibit:

"… I selected the pieces to accentuate their esthetic qualities, to appreciate them as art alone is to separate the realities they activate and the ideology of the groups they express. Most of these works stay hidden from view and symbolize ethics that their makers conceived as the mythical framework of human interaction at the beginning of time, and they instill social order and organization to this day. The complex histories that brought each into being, however, are absent when the objects are taken out of context from their place of origin. Therefore they must be viewed as parts of wholes, residing now in a space entirely unrelated to their original function …"

Related Web Site

National Ornamental Metal Museum - In Memphis, Tennessee, "the only museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to the exhibition and preservation of fine metalwork."


Lebow, Edward. "Tom Joyce: Architectural Blacksmith." American Craft 55
     (February/March 1995): 38-41.

Hillenkamp, Helmut. "A Wellspring of Ideas on the Prairies: A Visit with Tom Joyce."
     Hephaistos 3/4 (1995): 4-5. English translation, Mike Spencer,

Go back to the top | Exhibits