The design part of the forging process is informed by research. After taking visual cues and reviewing the information we have gathered about a project or piece, we draft a design. We then take that paper design and translate it into forged steel.
The forging process is when the material is actually manipulated to create the design. When forging metal, we want it to look forged. We want the viewer to see that the metal was moved and shaped by hand. We don't want the final piece to look as if machines did the work. The ability to see the hand-worked metal is key to distinguishing the work of a forging blacksmith from that of a fabricator or machine. Forging involves heating metal to around 2000°F and deforming or molding the material. Metal is a great material to work with because it goes through three different states: a solid, a liquid, and a plastic state. The plastic state is the malleable state, when the metal molds like clay. If the metal has been twisted and squished and moved around, we want the viewer to know that happened. We don't want to cover it up. It is what makes the work beautiful.
Finishing is the final part of the job and is often overlooked. Finishing is taking a good piece and making it great. This is when an artist must have great attention to detail and patience, and although it seems like a small extra step, that little extra bit of love is what makes the piece truly complete.