Our studio, located in rural New Mexico, is a 6000 sq. foot workshop where we explore hot metal as an art form.
Nestled at the bottom of Rowe Mesa, it is also a resource for the Southwest Artist Blacksmith Association, which holds events and demonstrations here. We are fortunate to have blacksmith Pedro Cobos and studio manager Rhonda Thompson who form the core of our work group.
Christopher Thomson, Master Blacksmith
My approach to ironworking was shaped by my lifelong friendship with blacksmith Francis Whitaker and a summer of study with master potter Marguerite Wildenhain.
In 1979, my wife Susan Livermore and I began building an adobe house in rural New Mexico. We dug into the hillside by hand, gathered tons of rock from the arroyos, making thousands of adobes, cutting vigas and latillas in the mountains. Those five years of work with materials amidst a culture that honored such endeavors changed us.
In 1985, we founded Christopher Thomson Ironworks. I spend much of my time hiking, kayaking, and camping in the deserts and canyons of the Southwest. I often go alone, transported by the light, vastness, and geologic time made visible--marvelously random, while revealing the character of their material—expanding my ideas of organic beauty and rightness of form.
Today, I forge in white hot iron and bronze. Forms initially explored for their own sake find their way into my gates, railings, chandeliers, lamps, tables and chairs. Life experiences blending with the rich tradition of my craft, quietly pushing my work in unanticipated directions.
I improvise flute music to interact with magical places--music forging a middle way between emotions too subtle to capture in words and their final expression in metal. You can listen to my music here.
My collectors and customers see all of this in my work, though to me it still remains a mystery.
Susan Livermore, CEO
As CEO, Susan applies her skills and talents as an artist, painter, photographer and design consultant to Christopher and for clients. Her other responsibilities include marketing, scheduling, photographing, arranging deliveries, painting sculptures and customer relations. She and Christopher create their advertising together. You can read her full CV here.
One of Susan's favorite products is the Twisted Valley Bedside Lamp.
"I love our lamps; they are forged from heavier stock and transitional in design so they compliment varied interior styles from contemporary to rustic. The heirloom quality bases are wired with solid brass 3-way sockets and are topped with American crafted sheepskin shades. The golden glow from the shades highlight the forged aesthetic of the ironwork.”
Rhonda Thompson, Office Manager
Rhonda Thompson joined the studio 23 year ago, after moving here from Alaska. Her input, skills and talents are invaluable in so many areas. Rhonda is Susan’s assistant and our in-house bookkeeper, the finishing and wiring department and the shipping department. Rhonda can fix just about everything. Rhonda is an organic farmer who grows chilis, squashes, cucumbers, apples and pears and makes chicos in a traditional horno.
One of Rhonda's favorite products is the Calla Lily Wall Sconce.
"All of our hand forged items are made to last for generations, this includes our various Calla Wall Sconces. Unlike many of our other forgings it is more delicate and refined with it’s Calla Lily shape and accompanying candle. Like in nature, no 2 flowers are exactly alike. It takes patience to make them all from the same garden."
Pedro Cobos, Blacksmith
Pedro Cobos was hired through a state job training program and has been with us in the forge/studio with Christopher for the last 16 years. A father to two teenage sons, Pedro is also an accomplished blacksmith who is adept at technique and brainstorming to solve the endless problems presented in the shop. Pedro’s willingness to undertake the crazy challenges of installing steel sculptures for the public and private clients is awesome. In addition, he carries a mental catalog of where forged components are stored in our studio and warehouse.
One of Pedro's favorite products is the Dining Table Pendant.
“It’s a powerful feeling to create something from a cold steel plate using fire and a hammer. I particularly love making the pendants and thinking about how their shape will cast light when they’re finished and installed in a home.”