I discovered the joy of drawing at an early age and as I grew into adulthood my appreciation for artistic craft grew.
I have tried many forms of artistic creation throughout my adult life, from silversmithing to stone sculpting and almost everything in between.Of all the different artistic media I have explored, none fit me so well as the first time I picked up a graver and cut into metal.From that first experience I have thought of myself as an engraver.I think the reason I am most satisfied with the moniker of ‘engraver’ is this.An engraver must be part metal-smith, part alchemist, part artist and part machinist. Any one of these vocations would suit me, but the amalgamation of them all suites me completely.
I believe I have horseshoes on the brain more so even than most farriers. I’m not sure why but I guess it has something to do with my own history.Horseshoes have always been a usual fixture in my world.I was raised in the Texas panhandle in cattle country.We ran cattle there on our home place and more years than not while I was a kid, my Dad ran cattle on leased ranches along the Canadian river or in northern New Mexico.So we always had working horses and hence, the trappings that go with them.
Decades before the notion of making things from horseshoes became vogue, my Dad, a resourceful and fiercely independent man, used to make all sort of useful and attractive things from the horseshoes discarded around our farm.Dad made everything from coat hangers to boot scrapers from the used shoes of our horses and though function was his primary concern, his horseshoe creations still had a certain grace and beauty about them.
Even before that, my heritage was steeped in horses; back to my great, great grandfather even.John Alexander Boney was his name. He was born in 1852. Of course back then there wasn’t a person alive who wasn’t involved with horses on one level or another, but he was a horse trader through and through.In fact, the farm where I was raised and where my folks still live and work is partly comprised of the same land he purchased in 1902 when he first settled in the Texas Panhandle.John Alexander supplied horses to the U.S. Cavalry. So maybe it’s just in my blood or something.I don’t know.
Years before I had ever picked up a graver, I had the idea that I wanted to engrave horseshoes. No one had done this before me, though a few people have copied the idea in the last couple of years. I guess it was inevitable. But I laid claim to the title of ‘The Original Horseshoe Engraver’ just to keep a leg up. I’ve been engraving horseshoes for several years now and it has been a real adventure. Doing this has led me to meet a lot of good folks and to vicariously share in their live's celebrations. I have engraved horseshoes for customers as far away as Australia, Italy, Noway, South America, Canada and Japan.