Mitty’s Metal Art
I live and manage my shop in the breathtaking Appalachian region surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Park in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. This is a big change from busy Kansas City, Missouri where I lived until my move to Tennessee. While in Kansas City I owned and managed a motorcycle repair shop.
Shortly after I moved from Kansas City, to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee in 2015, I met my neighbor William Brock, a traditional blacksmith and the owner of Rusted Bird Studio. Under his instruction, I learned the art of blacksmithing. Now I am blessed to manage my own shop surrounded by the breathtaking Appalachian mountains. I am a proud member of the Appalachian Area Chapter of Blacksmiths (AACB) and Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America (ABANA). When I’m not blacksmithing, I’m exploring the area on my Harley or mountain biking. My goal in life is to work hard, stay humble, smile often, never stop learning, and always be thankful.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
The ability to shape iron with my hands, by heat and tools, was my inspiration to open Mitty’s Metal Art small business specializing in traditional style blacksmith and metal art. Current day blacksmithing is an art that should be valued, learned and never forgotten. Curious visitors stop by when they hear hammering metal and see the smoke billowing out of the shop. They are fascinated by burning coals that heat the iron, and then hammered on the anvil to change its shape. Behind each piece created is a story of history and art.
With Kiva support, I will expand my gallery and working studio to a co-working artist space for the community with an educational hands-on component for youth and adults. With the growth of the gallery, additional tooling will be purchased for teaching the art of blacksmith. With the tooling, I will focus on expanding my product portfolio by offering site-specific projects, and exhibits my work at public venues. I will work with a marketing professional to develop a brand and promotional plan for the shop, classes, and online presence.
What is the purpose of this loan?
When someone visits Mitty’s Metal Art website, they must be sold by two main things; the text content and the accompanying visuals. Two thousand dollars will be utilized to hire a marketing professional to focus on developing and building my brand and website. The website will be mobile and user friendly using compelling text, photos and videos, to attract online reservation for the classes, new customers and tourism. The content and visual brand developed will be used for additional promotion including email, print, online advertising, and to purchase swag to sell in the gallery. Plus I will use the content and visuals on my Etsy Shop and social media outlets including Trip Advisor, Yelp, Instagram and Facebook.
Unlike many other craftsmen, blacksmiths are able to make most of their own tools. Six thousand dollars will be used to purchase a Blu Max 155 power hammer made in the USA. The power hammer has the power and speed to provide maximum productivity. It will be the workhorse and center of activity in my shop to make tools such as hand hammers, chisels, and tongs for students use and expand my product portfolio by offering site-specific projects, and exhibits my work at public venues. In addition to the power hammer, one thousand dollars will be spent to purchase four anvils for students use.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years