Penland instructor Michael Bondi was featured in the Wall Street Journal on March 28 in a nice article by Sarah Tilton. The article begins with this:
Michael Bondi didn’t set out to be a blacksmith. After starting a doctoral program in biology, the Washington, D.C., native took a year off to travel that led to an introduction to a blacksmith in Italy. Mr. Bondi then spent six months studying the craft, took a job with another blacksmith in Los Angeles and, eventually, launched his own studio in 1977 in Berkeley, Calif., with his brother, who also took up the waning art form.
More than three decades later, Mr. Bondi, 62, says he has never been without work. He is known for architectural blacksmithing using combinations of wrought iron, steel, bronze, copper, nickel alloys and aluminum. While most metalworking is now mass-produced using molds in factories, Mr. Bondi continues the tradition of working freehand, using the same tools that blacksmiths have relied on for hundreds of years. “I’m working directly on the metal,” he explains. “I’m not melting it into a liquid and pouring it into a mold.”
The story is accompanied by a beautiful slideshow of Michael in his studio (if you like tools, you’ll want to look at these pictures). You can read the rest of the story and see the photographs here.