People On The Move - Drew T. Weber
Working over a 2,100-degree forge, hammering against a circa 1860 anvil, self-taught artist Drew T. Weber is working on his current project, a 12-foot-tall ‘Giant Man’ who will eventually earn his wings and become Saint Michael.
Weber, 32, a resident of Colt’s Neck since the age of ten, works in many media: carving marble, leather and wood, making guitars, as well as historically accurate swords – but his great passion is bringing movement out of rigid steel.
While he takes commissions, much of his work comes from his vivid imagination and eventually finds a home with someone who connects to his work. “I let the music guide the movement of the piece,” Weber says. Walking into his shop you may hear Led Zeppelin or a band from the 40’s. It’s easy to imagine Weber working on a Viking sword while he turns up the volume on Heidivolk, the folk metal band from the Netherlands. It’s perfect for hammering steel.
Finding inspiration from DaVinci to the Vikings, Weber obsessively researches his work, which he calls “historically inspired.” He has crafted a Viking Seax and an Italian Cinquedea (a ‘five fingers wide’ blade popular during the Italian Renaissance). He is one of the few craftsmen in the world using the original technique to create the Cinquedea. Nobility wore the lethal blades in highly decorated sheaths to show their wealth and for self-defense. It’s a far cry from his first metalwork piece, a Bowie knife replica, made when he was 20. “I suppose it was a decent first effort, but even then I saw ways I wanted to improve.” For Weber, it is not enough for his work to appear historically accurate, he also uses historically correct tools and methods.
Weber credits the New Jersey Blacksmith Association (NJBA) with keeping a dying craft alive. He notes that Associate members will “share their knowledge of a lost craft. Most are more than willing to openly share their secrets.”
Weber himself is a bit of a secret. His colossal sculpted roses sprang up outside the Colt’s Neck Post Office without fanfare, and his work “Reflection from a Dream,” which graces the courtyard of the highly-regarded Restaurant Nicholas in Middletown, seems to have grown there. “Chef Nicholas connected with the piece,” Weber recalls. “It was a natural fit.” Not one for social media, but with encouragement from his wife Diana and three children, Weber finally opened a Facebook page (look for “Drew T Weber, Artist”) after friends and fans begged for pictures of his latest work. Seeing photos is nothing compared to visiting the work in progress. Housed in Weber’s double garage studio in Colt’s Neck, the giant sculpture is as tall as the rafters, and once the wings are ready, it will have outgrown the space. Weber doesn’t know where the sculpture will go just yet, but he doesn’t create with a more specific goal than expressing his larger than life vision. Public installations can be viewed at the Colt’s Neck Post Office and St. Mary’s Church, both off Route 34 in Colt’s Neck, and Restaurant Nicholas, Route 35, Middletown.
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