Artist Statement

Artist Blacksmith:  In the early 1990's I met Artist Blacksmith Ivan Bailey at a men’s gathering.  During that weekend Ivan commented: “You remind me of metal!" and invited me to visit his studio in Atlanta, Georgia.  This studio visit then led me to the John C. Campbell Folk School where I spent a week learning the basics of forging steel from Ivan.  This was my initiation into a deeper journey as an Artist Blacksmith.  It would take many years until I better understood Ivan's words and his insight into me.

                                                                                                                                     I Move Between Worlds

Artist: I am an artist whose life has been indelibly marked by my experiences of growing up in a family deeply touched by multi-generational trauma.  My artwork attempts to reflect the integration of my personal experience as well as that which I have learned from decades of studying trauma and sitting with others who have borne unbearable burdens.

Psychotherapist:  I’m a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty treating adult survivors of trauma.  Psychotherapy, a relational process, shares many similarities with the Blacksmith's relationship to the metal being forged... where moments of resistance, bracing and overwhelm may yield and open into a space where the mind & body will soften, reveal and transform what had been deeply hidden inside.  My practice as a psychotherapist has been forever enriched by the physical, mental and emotional experience of being a Blacksmith.

My Process:  My basic process involves heating metal in a fire and forming it by hand employing the tools and techniques used by Blacksmiths for thousands of years: Forge, Hammer and Anvil.  I recycle metals and sometimes incorporate found items into my art.  My work is hand finished, usually leaving some of the natural patina created when metal is heated to forging temperature.  I typically apply multiple layers of a hard wax.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Since meeting Ivan, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from other world class Blacksmiths.  Along my way, I’m discovering my own artistic voice, expressed through the medium of metals wrought by my own hand. Sometimes this voice screams furiously in rage and suffering, at other times it is immobilized, frozen and mute.  Perhaps it may also whisper cautiously of hope and light…but ALWAYS it is wanting to communicate… ALWAYS it is trying to reveal and transform what had been hidden inside.

Dave MacDonald

Extended Study

2018 - Fall Concentration: Seth Gould & Peter Ross
Penland School of Crafts Iron Studio, Penland, NC

2016 - Spring Concentration: Elizabeth Brim
Penland School of Crafts Iron Studio, Penland, NC

2007 - Certificate in Artistic Blacksmithing
Haliburton School of the Arts - Ontario, Canada. 


2017 - Award of Distinction - Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival - Winter Park, FL
2015 - Honorable Mention - Art in Autumn - Weaverville, NC
2013 - Second Place - Bakersville Creek Walk Arts Festival - Bakersville, NC
2011 - Second Place - Inman Park Arts Festival - Atlanta, GA
2007 - Best in Show - All Students Art Show - Haliburton School of the Arts - Haliburton, ON


In the spring of 2018, during an extended period of study with Artist Blacksmith Elizabeth Brim at the Penland School of Craft, I had the delight of participating in the shooting of Anthony Bourdain's series "Raw Craft".   In this episode he featured the extraordinary Ms. Brim demonstrating one of her blacksmithing innovations - "Inflation Forging".  A couple of my pieces are inflated during the video (hint: I make my appearance about 6:30 into the episode. Watch for the ribbon and bow.).

My new Wrought Iron Grille


Horseshoe for "Choir Grille"