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Blacksmith Jeff Fetty was born December 15, 1953, in Spencer and graduated from Spencer High School. He has earned international attention for the works he creates out of forged metal in his studio.

He first learned about blacksmithing in the early 1970s from his future father-in-law, Jack Hopkins. Fetty began blacksmithing in a small horse barn with dirt floors and supplemented his income by working as a meat cutter and substitute school bus driver. He honed his craft by working with more experienced blacksmiths and himself now serves as a mentor to young people learning the craft. He has traveled the world to study with blacksmiths working in other countries and has developed an affinity for blacksmiths in Mexico.

He said in one interview: “I know of no other medium where an artist can be as expressive as with a piece of mild steel. It’s a constant adventure to see it come alive between the hammer and anvil.”

In 2007, Fetty and the leaders of Spencer established the Chestnut Ridge Artists Colony on a 200-acre plot of land overlooking the town with the aim of turning it into a hub for artists. Fetty works there in his studio with a small group of employees. He has done commissions for writer Tom Clancy, former president Bill Clinton, musician Jon Bon Jovi, the Globe Theatre in London, and others.

His signature pieces include large metal flowers that can be seen outside Charleston Area Medical Center’s Women and Children’s Hospital and at the entrance to a Charleston shopping center. Fetty makes many other items, as well, including fences, gates, fire screens, tables, and railings, bowls, and candlesticks.

Chosen as one of the world’s top metal designers, Fetty was included in the 2012 International Metal Design Annual, published in Germany. He is only the sixth American to receive the honor. He was named a Distinguished West Virginian in April 2012.

Last Revised on October 19, 2012

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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Jeff Fetty." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 19 October 2012. Web. 24 June 2018.

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