John Boyd Smith used centuries old forging techniques to change the look of Savannah’s landscape for over two decades. Carriage tours drop by his ornamental wrought-iron creations daily and are described at length to amazed tourists. The Historic Savannah Foundation awarded him in 1988 for his enhancement of the historic district. In 1999, the American Institute of Architects in Georgia gave Johnny Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the arts through his outstanding work as a blacksmith, architectural ironworker, and artist.
John Boyd Smith has been internationally recognized in Dona Meilach’s book “Architectural Ironwork”, where approximately 100 blacksmiths from all over the world are featured. She describes his workmanship and complexity of forms as “astounding”. Ms Meilach writes in her book that “it takes courage and experience to venture into creating seemingly free form shapes, though he is always in control of every bend and nuance of the metal.”
What makes the work so unique is the fact that we take a raw piece of metal (flat sheets or round or square bars) and heat it to forging temperature (2000°F) and then actually shape it with hammers. That is why no two flowers or blades of grass are exactly alike, thanks to the art of hand forging.
John Boyd Smith discovered his passion while rummaging through an old storage shed on his family’s property. In there lay antique blacksmithing tools left behind by his great-great-great grandfather Patrick Hoy, a master gunsmith, who came to South Carolina from Ireland in 1804 and settled in Spartanburg. Johnny began forging metal then and has continued his pursuit of excellence in metal throughout his entire life.
A Mechanical Engineering graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, Johnny uses his background to execute his metalwork commissions throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Mr. Smith’s metalwork has been featured on PBS “This Old House”, HGTV “Modern Masters”, “Good Morning America”, CNNTelevision, Southern Accents Magazine, This Old House Magazine, Interior Design Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, Carolina Architecture and Design Magazine, Spirit of the Carolinas Magazine, and numerous other periodicals.