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And then you walk into Jef VanSyoc’s shop, and there he is – pictured above – a very young guy, 38, devoting his life and art to blacksmithing.
These photos, supplied by VanMadrone MetalWorks, Jef’s business, tell the story of a blacksmith creating art.
Blacksmith work, especially in a piping hot Minnesota summer, is not for the faint of heart. You can hear some of the ways VanSyoc handles the heat for his art today in my Minnesota Sounds and Voices segment on All Things Considered.
Jef says, yes, it’s really hot work. His forges where the steel is heated, run at about 1800 degrees.
Jef does jobs ranging from medieval-looking steel picket fences to delicate filigree work for any purpose you’d like.
He learned blacksmithing as an apprentice to a rural Ashland, Wisconsin smithy back in the 1990s.
He opened his Minneapolis studio in 1999 and now works in the former Purity Bakery building in south Minneapolis.