Opposites attract in the latest exhibit to open at New York Folklore on Jay Street.
Delicate flowers, leaves and root systems made of weighty metal are on display, all made by Capital Region blacksmith Noah Khoury.
The exhibit, titled “The Helderberg Blacksmith: A Blacksmith’s Art,” reveals not only the practical side of the craft but also the imaginative side. In one section, an ornate garden bench is placed next to a metal skeleton of a pre-historic-looking creature.
“These objects are romanticized visions of the natural world around us. These forms, which are familiar to us all, are framed and tailored into art objects, rich with texture and hand-wrought forms,” Khoury writes in his artist statement. “It is also interesting to consider the forceful and aggressive nature of the forging process in contrast with the tranquil nature of the subject matter.”
Khoury is an Albany native who first learned about metalworking in his father’s blacksmith shop. After high school, Khoury attended SUNY New Paltz and went on to study at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee, getting his bachelor’s degree in metals. He started his Altamont-based business The Helderberg Blacksmith in 2013 and he specializes in home decor, ornamental railings and historic reproductions. Khoury also teaches blacksmithing workshops at venues like the Schoharie River Center.
In one piece included in the exhibit, Khoury shows the development process of making one leaf, a trowel and a small mouse. At each stage, one can see the metal as it’s flattened, hammered and reshaped. In another piece, called “From the Ashes,” viewers see more of the delicate metalwork, as three saplings seem to be rising from a brick-like foreground.
Further along in the exhibit, viewers get a glimpse of Eurypterids, an extinct type of sea scorpion. The carapaces of two such creatures are a textured copper-colored metal, that seems to shimmer when the light hits it just right. Their limbs, if they should be called that, are a muted black, and give the impression that the Eurypterids are swimming.
Also on view are a few of Khoury’s home decor pieces, including accent tables and lamps, the latter with creeping vines and leaves climbing up the bases. There are also smaller pieces, like hooks, bottle openers, business card holders, etc., for sale.
“The Helderberg Blacksmith” will be on view through spring of 2022. The gallery is located at 129 Jay St. in Schenectady and it’s open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Christmas Eve. The gallery is closed Sundays in January and February. For more information visit nyfolklore.org or call 518-346-7008.