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A Modern Blacksmith Conjures Up a New Kind of Magic

Set back from the road on a quiet street on the east side of downtown Cleveland, there’s a special type of magic taking place behind a rolling garage door. In a studio that’s packed to the gills with a collection of old and modern tools, high-end functional art is being meticulously drawn out, molded and coerced – sometimes carefully, sometimes violently – from raw bars of steel.

The result? Masterpieces in the form of end tables and bottle openers, desks and vessels, designed and executed flawlessly by its maker, Stephen Yusko.

This isn’t the work of the blacksmiths of yore, who pounded horseshoes and produced pieces for wagons that traveled across the plains. Instead, Yusko brings a refined beauty to this ancient craft. His work, often inspired by industrial steel structures like the bridges and buildings around him, possesses a delicate clarity not often found in metalworking, the precise nature of his calculations articulated perfectly in the medium.

There’s only so much that words can do to paint the picture of Yusko’s greatness, so on a sunny day at the end of July, we asked if we could come by to film him at work. The video – shot as part of our Majestic Steel Art Collection – was filmed and and edited by Joe Tomcho. It gives us a peek into Yusko’s process and a lesson on the revival of quality, hard work and good old fashioned blood, sweat and tears.

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