About the Artist

Matthew D. Walker

A lifelong resident of the Northeast corner of Tennessee, Matt now makes his home with Teresa, his wife of 36 years, near the small town of Bluff City.

Matt worked his way through school as a cave guide, boat dock worker and car washer during the six years he spent at East Tennessee State University which have proven to be of small value. After graduating college with two degrees, he found himself working on construction jobs all over the Southeast as layout engineer, carpenter, and dynamite man. During this time (early 80’s) he met Teresa and wanted to stay closer to home and get his land surveying license. By the mid 80’s, Matt was married and working as a firefighter, running his business as a professional land surveyor, and rebuilding an old home he and Teresa had chosen as where they would spend the rest of their lives.

Needing some ironwork for the home, Matt went to a friend who did some blacksmithing and traded in tools. The friend wouldn’t price the job but did offer to sell Matt a small forge, an anvil and a bag of coal. Matt also wanted to make some traditional woodworking tools to use in the house rebuilding. So his first blacksmithing project was brackets to hold the mantel on the stone fireplace that he had in progress. Matt really liked the strength and permanence of the things made in the forge and enjoyed the company of the friends he began making in the blacksmithing community. In 1990 the Bristol forge group was formed, and Matt hasn’t missed a monthly meeting since.

By the mid 90’s working conditions had become bad at Matt’s fire fighting job so he allowed himself to be elected union president. Matt believes that one should work to make whatever they are involved in better. This resulted in two federal lawsuits, both entitled, Walker versus City of Bristol. As you can guess that made for a less than rosy situation for the guy on the firing line.

By then Matt realized that he didn’t enjoy the land surveying jobs that he was doing but that he did like working with metal. By then he also realized that some people just aren’t cut out to work for others and can only be happy working on their own terms. Having juried in to a local co-op to sell his work, he realized that the ultimate compliment to an artist or craftsman is for someone to buy their work.

In 1995, with Teresa’s support, Matt quit the fire service on his own terms and started Experiments in Metal Inc. as his full time occupation. The company has and probably will remain a one man shop. So be assured that any work that bears his signature was produced by his own hands, one at a time and is an original. For the past twenty-nine, 19 full time, years Matt has produced a variety of copper and steel items, mostly whimsical items for outdoors.The year 2001 saw a new studio built next to and bigger than the Walker’s home. For the past few years he has been experimenting with Damascus steel for his custom knife maker friends during the winter months. Future plans include larger sculptural pieces and work that incorporates different metals with wood.

See the links page for a list of galleries representing Matt's work. Thanks for your visit here.

Artist Statement 

You’ve just read a story about what I have done and what I do. I strongly disagree with the way we tend to believe that what a person does is who they are. So if you want to know who I am (or better who I try to be) please see the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, written in 1927. I hope a small part of these ideas are passed on in the spirit of each piece of work that I create.