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Metalwork artist keeps passion for his art

June 16, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - After 32 years of making decorative and functional metalwork, local artist Glenn Horr still has the passion for his art. It shows in the details.

Horr's work is featured in the Mountain Laurel Gallery on Fairfax Street and is part of the Metal Fashioners exhibit on display through July 19 at the Ice House Gallery.

Horr creates hand-forged work in steel, brass and copper at his Highland Forge studio. Handrails, iron gates, fire screens, coat racks, pot racks, fireplace tools, kitchen utensils, candleholders and door latches are among his creations.

Customizing hardware for the home is what he loves doing, he said.

"I get a lot of clients just by word of mouth," Horr said.

He has been commissioned to make candleholders for churches and was part of a collaborative effort with other Berkeley Springs artists who built a door for a Virginia client. Horr made the metal hardware for the stained-glass door. The client was very pleased and commissioned Horr for further work, he said.

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"Glenn has been with Mountain Laurel since we first opened about 1998," said Chuck Wheeler, Mountain Laurel's owner. "His work stands apart from many of his colleagues because of his attention to detail and his fine craftsmanship."

Horr, who also makes his own tools and for woodcarving, said the love of metalcraft began in high school shop class. And after he got a forge, an anvil and a hammer, he started "playing with it and shaping things." He made latches and hinges that were needed on the family farm near Wheeling, W.Va., and then followed with decorative metalwork pieces.

"I always liked the art stuff," he said.

He said he knew creating art was what he wanted to do.

His eyes lit up when he described learning about his craft back in the late 1970s and meeting other artists in workshops who had the same interests.

"I was very curious and wanted to learn. There was not much written about the craft," Horr said.

Horr said he began teaching people how to forge "to pass the craft along." He said you learn things in your own studio "from your own experiences, and you want to share things that will help other artists."

For more than 20 years, Horr has been teaching blacksmithing at the Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, Pa. Once a year during the summer, he teaches the weeklong class of 12 students. His class is always filled and people are on a waiting list to take it, he said.

He was Touchstone's 2005 Artist of the Year.

Horr was chosen to demonstrate his craft at the Quad State Blacksmith Roundup conference in Ohio last year. He has shown his work in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Tennessee and Illinois.

For more information, visit Horr's Web site at www.glennsforge.com.

The Ice House Gallery on the corner of Independence and Mercer streets is open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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