David Cross belongs to a select group of Artisan Blacksmiths who work full-time in the craft, preserving its traditional techniques and aesthetics but employing them in contemporary design. He creates both functional metalwork and sculpture.
David’s artistic practice has expanded beyond hand-forged works to include other media and methods. He has produced castings of aluminum and silicon bronze using the ancient lost wax technique, and has created assemblies including materials such as stainless steel, repurposed machine parts, and found objects.
In some of his work natural, flowing shapes are coaxed from the metals while in others the human and organic elements are presented against the industrial, engineered environments.
A native of Galt, Ontario, David now lives in Fergus and operates Rio Bravo Ironworks in the heart of Elora.
“I am a child of the twentieth century. There were open roads coursed by convertibles without seat belts, and fastbacks with earth pounding V-8 engines. Brave men piloted massive rockets into “outer space”. We played outdoors unsupervised, went on Sunday drives. Our black and white TV picked up seven channels (three of them from Buffalo, NY). Blackened limestone mills were scattered about our city; their windows often agape releasing the thundering sounds of power hammers and the acrid smell of hot iron.
All this has passed.
My life has turned in unexpected ways. With little planning and no defined goals, I acted on a decades old desire to create; to use my hands, to make something. I learned to manipulate metals; earthly elements. Methods, techniques and technologies were studied, experimented with and practiced.
My sculptural work is deeply rooted in that past century; the portion I witnessed and much that came before. But it is not nostalgic. Art deco skyscrapers, streamliners, air-cooled motorcycle engines, sci-fi movie sets and concept cars from Detroit: these are acknowledged; not mourned. Forms are always changing, in motion, leading me onward. I see in them something not wholly natural, but they are alive none-the-less; a dialogue and a dance unfolds between the organic and the manufactured. These interactions are sometimes tense and threatening, sometimes melodic and serene, always genuine.”