Using time-tested blacksmithing techniques and modern practices, Virginia-based metalsmith Marc Maiorana creates unique projects, such as ribbon-like steel benches, for clients across the country.
Artist: Born in Greenfield, MA, Maiorana grew up in Montague, NJ, just down the road from the NY, NJ, PA Tri-state marker.
Maiorana was introduced to metal working at a young age. His father was a blacksmith, who came into ornamental ironwork through the farrier trade.
He attended Alfred University, but the curiosity for blacksmithing kept growing and after two years, Maiorana transferred to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, which had a dedicated blacksmithing program.
A year after graduating with a BFA in metalsmithing, Maiorana was accepted as a Penland School of Craft (NC) resident artist and relocated to the South.
Company/studio: Marc Maiorana Studio is based in Blacksburg, VA. The artist has been a full-time metal worker since 2002
Art & materials: Metalwork ($1,000 to $50,000), ranging from custom architectural projects and exterior stainless steel benches to graceful coat racks.
What’s popular: Recently, a string of looping stainless steel benches.
Favorite tool: A hydraulic bar bender he built years ago. Though generally not an equipment enthusiast, Maiorana says he couldn’t do his work without it.
Process: Long bars and strips of sheet steel are worked by hand, hot over the anvil or cold through hydraulic presses into compound forms and assembled into structural, yet free-flowing shapes.
- Early on, art nouveau European ironwork, like Hector Guimard and Victor Horta.
- Over time, nature, geometry and architectural structures.
- The hallmarks of steel itself. “If it has an elegant flowing line quality, I’m curious,” said Maiorana.
Fun or special commissions: Recently completed a bench for a couple in Massachusetts who have two young daughters. With the scrolling, reclining form of the bench, it acts as a natural slide for the girls.
- The Asheville Art Museum recently acquired one of his pieces (a bundle of thin tapered forgings) for its permanent collection.
- The Metal Museum in Memphis added a second piece, a reclining, coiled sculpture to its collections. The first piece was an elegant forged spatula, the model for many made over the years.
Recent project: A long, unusual hand railing for a private residence in Virginia. It’s as much a line drawing as a railing.
What’s next : Private commissions, including a sculptural hand railing in North Carolina and a pair of exterior benches in Vermont designed and inspired by the pastoral views of the residence.
Buy or commission: marcmaioranastudio.com
- Instagram: @marcmaioranastudio