When you have the privilege to sit down and speak to an artist about their craft, most of the time the passion they have comes through in the pieces they create. That is true in regards to Iowa artist, Jim Birmingham. When speaking to him about his craft you also get the feel of his huge sense of family and how much they mean to him. Jim is the oldest of four, born to Floyd and Jane Birmingham in West Des Moines, Iowa where he has spent the last seventy-one years. He has been married to the love of his life wife, Lois, for the past 49 years and they have two grown sons, James and Bob, a daughter-in-law Trish, and two grandsons, Hunter and Max.
He started out in the eighties making wooden duck carvings. Over the years his talent of being able to look at something and seeing the beauty in it, or recreating something from memory, has evolved. Much of the skill required to make his welded yard sculptures of today comes from lessons that were taught to him by his father, Floyd. Jim explains that looking around on Pinterest has given him inspiration for some new ideas. He knew in his heart his skills at welding could be used to make amazing, one of a kind pieces for people’s yards. Jim has created ornate bottle trees, whimsical flowers, and palm trees all out of re-rod and scrap metal. Luckily for Jim, a friend of his owns an iron shop, but he also looks for recycled and rusted pieces to add uniqueness to the piece at hand. Since working on the metal pieces, his grandson, Max, has been by his side. Jim has enjoyed passing on the skill of welding to the next generation of Birmingham men.
Most of the yard sculptures are created in the spring and summer when Jim can be outside. However, Jim is using the winter months trying to learn another craft by creating beautiful carved fish that his cousin and close friend, Bob Foster, has taught him. He is truly enjoying making these one-of-a-kind creatures which allow his thoughts to turn to fishing season here in Iowa when he can take his own boat out. Jim gives thanks and feels very lucky to have such a great teacher in his cousin, Bob.
What an amazing feeling it must be to be able to create something with your own two hands for other people to enjoy and cherish. Teaching his grandson skills of welding, wood carving, building bowie knives with deer antler handles, and learning to make walking sticks out of tree limbs found in the woods is a wonderful reminder of years gone by and simpler times. Thank you, Jim Birmingham, for sharing your God given gifts with us. We cannot wait to see what you create next!
Contact Jim Birmingham at firstname.lastname@example.org