A former Savannah police officer who spent decades pounding the pavement is now using a hammer, anvil, and forge, to pound steel and iron into works of art. Gilbert walker’s talent as a blacksmith has earned him a spot in a Martha Stewart contest and you can help him win.
Walker made the cut to become a finalist in the Martha Stewart Living American Made Audience Choice Award. Walker says he was on mounted patrol in 2004, when he says the sound of a black smith in downtown Savannah drew him into a local shop and into the ancient craft. He has forged a small business from what began as a hobby. Picket Fence grew from his talent and it is a contender.
This could be the catapult to take his small business to the next level. He credits his talent the talent passed down through his Gullah/Geechee heritage and he says there’s a lot to draw from. ” Because I draw, I carve, I paint…” said Walker. He says it’s the perfect skill set for the medium of molding molten metals.
Black smithing is the canvas where walker’s talent shines and he’s hoping it shines brightly in Audience Choice Awards. American Made made spotlights the maker, supports the local, and celebrates the handmade. Walker’s works fit the bill. ” to put something into a competition that Martha Stewart is arranging for those entrepreneurs, that’s a great feeling.” Gilbert said. Walker said taking take metal and turning it into works of art came somewhat east, but he knows that winning won’t be the same. His competition is made up of people who have also turned their passion for quality craftsmanship and well-designed goods into a way of life. ” I’m competing with several other people, uh, just as a nominee and that’s why I’m asking for votes. said Gilbert.
Win or lose, walker says his work keeps an ancient tradition and part of his heritage, alive.” And one of the things I found is that black smithing is not a dying art, but it is for African Americans because you don’t find it as much anymore.” Gilbert said. If Walker is selected, He wins a trip for two to New York City to attend the American Made event at the Martha Stewart living headquarters; $10,000 to grow his business, and a chance to be featured in the American Made market & website with Martha Stewart Living. Voting opens up today and will wrap up October 19th. Only registered members of marthastewart.com can vote, but they can do it up to six times a day, for the same, or separate finalists. The winner will be announced on or about October 23. Click the link below for the homepage to the contest.