Nathan Kimpell grew up in Minnesota, the son of an architect and a nurse. He began making art at a young age, first drawn to painting, drawing, and pottery. In high school and college, he started working with hot glass, metal, and sculpture. Nathan focused more intensely on metal while studying art at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Montana. He then took a job in a miscellaneous metal shop as a welder making stairs and railings. This led him to create small sculptures. He worked as a carpenter in and around Missoula for twelve years and has now brought his attention back to metal. He enjoys designing personal, small-scale projects, though he is well-known for his impressive large-scale creations that can be found in places like the Top Hat bar and the Wren House.
Nathan began blacksmithing in 2009 and was hooked the first time he hit the anvil. He can now create more fluid movements with steel. He likes working closely with clients to create one-of-a-kind pieces for them.
Blacksmith: a person crafting tools and work out of iron/steel
Metalsmith: a person crafting tools and works of art out of various metals.
As an English suffix, -smith connotes a meaning of specialized craftsmen.
Making a tool needed to create another tool or item helps you understand the relationship between those two things. When making belt buckles, I forge a tool to stamp into the hot steel to make an impression that forms a pattern or design. By learning how to make the tool, I also learn how the metal is going to react when I hit it with the tool. The more I work with a certain material, the more I learn about its nature and how to shape it.