Renowned Blacksmith Ivan Bailey, a Georgia artist and teacher widely considered one of America’s greatest artistic blacksmiths, passed away at his farm in Monticello on September 9, 2013. Born in Oregon, Bailey entered a Christian Brothers’ monastery in Napa, California but left the novitiate to obtain a B.A. in art at Portland State University. He then studied at Penland School, North Carolina and received his MFA in 1971. A forge workshop with Alex W. Bealer, author of the seminal The Art of Blacksmithing and Bailey’s future father-in-law, altered the course of Bailey’s career forever. In 1972 he won a Fulbright fellowship but accepted a larger German cultural exchange grant to study for a year under Professor Fritz Ulrich at the Craft School of Aachen, Germany.
Bailey’s original commissioned work is represented in hundreds of private and public installations and collections, including Savannah’s Olympic Torch monument. His many honors include the Governor’s Award of the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Association of the American Institute of Architects Award for Craftsmanship. He was a founding member of the Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America. Bailey retired to Monticello, GA seven years ago. Bailey led an exemplary life, as an artist, a father, and a grandfather.