Meet the Penland Gallery Artist: Anna Koplik
Q: Where do you live and operate a studio?
A: I live and work for most of the year in New Jersey at Peters Valley School of Craft as the Blacksmithing Artist Fellow, where I get to use the blacksmith shop for my own work as well. During the off-season, I travel and work at other blacksmith shops around the country doing architectural blacksmith work.
Q: How long have you been a full-time artist?
A: I’ve been working as a blacksmith for 7 years.
Q: What is your favorite object or piece to make?
A: It’s a tie between spoons and blacksmith tongs.
Q: How has your work changed over time?
A: When I first started forging, I was repeating other people’s work, processes, and forging styles as I learned. Over time I’ve developed my own style within my utensil and tool-making.
Q: Why did you decide to become an artist? Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were an artist?
A: I’ve always known I wanted to be making art, but it took a while to decide I wanted to be an artist. My most defining moment was when I was in college and decided to switch my major from art education to jewelry, officially giving up a more certain career path for a more ambiguous and unknown future as an artist.
Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Seth Gould, Pete Braspennix, Elizabeth Brim, and Maegan Crowley.
Q: Of all the tools in your studio, which one is your favorite?
A: The folding metal Lufkin ruler given to me by Jake Brown at the end of my first blacksmith job as his shop assistant.
Q: What are your ideal working conditions?
A: Being by myself in the shop and dancing along to music while I forge.
Q: What’s the best creative advice you’ve ever received?
A: To just make work, just start forging. Gotta burn shit to learn shit.
Q: Is there a technique or skill that is unique to your work? (for example, do you dig your own clay, use a historical process, etc.)
A: I make most of my utensil work from scrap bits of steel I find laying around the shop and my design is often inspired or influenced by those limitations.