Sculptor & Metallurgist
Lee Sauder, a sculptor and blacksmith/metallurgist at Woods Creek Forge on McLaughlin Street, first began working with iron 33 years ago at the age of 12. He apprenticed for Larry Mann, owner of Woods Creek Forge, and then went on to work in shops from Maine to Prague.
In 1984, he returned to Lexington and took over Woods Creek Forge. In his business, he creates custom furniture and architectural iron for commercial customers. Artistically, he creates unusual and imaginative iron sculptures, using the process of bloomery smelting. This ancient method of releasing iron from its ore was used from the beginning of the Iron Age until the blast furnace took its place in the middle ages.
Sauder has spent much of his time studying, researching and experimenting with this lost technology. He finds the iron ore that he uses for his sculptures by hiking into old abandoned mines in the surrounding mountains, where he fills up his backpack with discarded ore chunks and carries it out. Sauder writes and conducts workshops on the subject of bloomery smelting and is happy to talk to visitors at the forge. His sculptures are exhibited in a small gallery at the back of the forge. More information on Lee can be found on his web site, www.leesauder.com.