Who is Walt Hull?



walt at the anvil ljworld 1


I started out as an academic, studying English and Linguistics at the University of Kansas and the University of Michigan.  In 1974 I took what was to have been a summer job with a small structural steel fabrication plant, and that summer job turned into a 20 year tenure.  I found I liked working with steel, and by the early eighties had become interested in the more artistic side of the work.  I checked out some books, made some contacts, and began to learn and experiment.  By 1982 I was ready to pretend to be in  business, and although the business remained part-time for the next 12 years, in 1994 I took it full time and I haven't looked back.  I now operate a shop just outside Lawrence, Kansas, producing gates, railings, furniture, and a variety of decorative and useful items.   My work appears in several states and on both sides of the Atlantic and has been featured in a variety of books and magazines.  I have been privileged to learn from some of the finest smiths here and abroad and continue to study and experiment.   

Recently I have been moving more towards sculptural pieces, and have had a number of successful showings.   


 What I Do

  The bulk of my work is architectural comissions.  If something is wanted for a building, if it's to be made of iron, and it needs to be attractive and well made, this is the place to come.  But in addition to that I do what blacksmiths do:  I form iron by working it hot, and that can be almost anything.  I've made parts for agricultural machinery and for antique buggies and sleighs.  I've made sculpture, napkin rings, knives, candelabra, staircases, woodworkers tools...If no one else wants to mess with it, I'll have a look.  No, I don't shoe horses.  I've made a couple of horseshoes, but I don't put them on horses.  Farriery is another trade, and a very respectable one, but it's not mine.   


Except for restorations and similar cases where  it is necessary to match existing work, I do all my own design.  I am happy to design to your taste and concept, and one of my strengths is an ability to work in a variety of styles to offer each customer a one-of-a-kind creation.




Walt working on a design for an interior railing

Since 2005 the teaching of blacksmithing has become part of my repretoire.  I have until recently taught a one semester introductory course under the auspices of the University of Kansas and hope soon to be able to do so again.  I have also taught  weeklong courses at John C. Campbell Folk School and been a featured demonstrator for the  Blacksmiths' Association of Missouri, Central States Metal Artisans, Prairie Blacksmith Association,  the         Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association and the  Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association.  On occaision I  have also worked with students from the very valuable Lawrence progam, Van Go Mobile Arts.


Here are a couple of examples of student work done in the KU introductory class:






"Scorpion":  Juniper Tangpuz





"Ribs":  Andrew Leek



I feel that teaching gives me a chance to introduce art students to a new, rich, and demanding medium and to give architecture students a chance to see what goes into the making of quality architectural Iron work.  It also turns out to be a great deal of fun, for students and teachers alike.  Every semester some student gives me a new insight into the work I do.  Each student is required to design and produce a project, and the challenge of helping them find a way to realize their personal vision is invariably eye-opening.


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