The Art of the Smith

Sculpture by Paul Cacioli

The Budgeon's display case - Richmond Library Foyer

415 Church Street, Richmond (Melbourne)

23 December 2017 to 22 March 2018

Review by Glenda Fell Jones

An exciting opportunity to catch a tantalising glimpse of an ancient, earth-connected craft and how artisan Paul Cacioli has managed to use it to create fresh imagery. Paul has a rich and varied artistic past from working papier mache into mythical and imaginary creatures in America to life-sculpting classes with Matchum Skipper. Paul was drawn to blacksmithing gradually and while learning to smith metal has experiment with and combined other materials such as wood stone and glass and he particularly enjoys resurrecting discarded metals

Although old-world techniques were utilised to get the ultra-smooth polished surface on this railway spike, it now reflects the hard light of the contemporary world around it. The exquisite wavy line of traditional Damascus steel patterning of this bracelet underlines Cacioli’s words . . . that he 'doesn’t like straight lines, likes organic flow of nature’. Of particular note is his drive and determination to utilise the traditional methods like Damascus steel and create modern pieces of artwork.

Although artisans like Paul still create functional pieces, he is an ‘avid blacksmith’ and works and teaches with the Wandin Blacksmiths, his exhibition work is contemporary and aesthetically complex. The value of his creative pieces are joyous and his artistic philosophy seemingly makes light of the complex and arduous medium he has been drawn to. “My true aim is to enjoy what I do. My art is in the moment, which is seldom fully planned and I let it lead me.”

Paul won an Association of Sculptors of Victoria award in 2012 and has subsequently achieved consistent representation and recognition in numerous prestigious exhibitions.


Forge Welding Display - Paul Cacioli


Athame I and Athame II (witch's knives), forged steel, 25 x 8 cm, by Paul Cacioli


Polished railway spike, 20 x 4 cm, by Paul Cacioli


Damascus Bracelet, forged Damascus steel, 120 layers, 8 x 8 x 3 cm, by Paul Cacioli


Damascus Knife, forged Damascus steel, 120 layers, 29 x 4 cm, by Paul Cacioli


Flowing Steel, forged, polished and chromed steel, 23 x 10 x 17cm, by Paul Cacioli


 Suzie 3, forged steel & acrylic, 63 x 33 x 23 cm, by Paul Cacioli


Tooter, forged & fire-welded steel, 32 x 21 x 21 cm, by Paul Cacioli


Fishbowl, forged steel, 49 x 33 x 17 cm, by Paul Caciol


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