It isn’t often that history inspired a young person to create useful art objects that once were necessary tools that our ancestors needed to survive. Fifteen year old Richard Riley, Jr. said he was inspired by the “frontiersmen who helped build our nation”.
Richard began using a forge when he was thirteen years old. Materials that he uses include steel, wood, slag, brass and car or truck parts that are available. An idea for a piece comes from observation of his surroundings, and normally, a week of working time is needed to complete a forged piece.
Besides studying the history of the land and people, living in the Black Belt has taught Richard to be resourceful. Richard is proud of his work when, as he said, an “item becomes a source of usefulness” and a scrap of material becomes a beautiful work.