Growing up on a small farm in Southern West Virginia, Allen Harmon is no stranger to hard work. “From age 7, I was expected to help with the farm work morning and night until I left home for college.”
Allen’s years in metal manufacturing, working for other companies gave him the experience and confidence to begin working on his own projects. He started part time, then with the encouragement of his wife began to create his original pieces full time. Southern Iron was born!
Allen takes a personal, hands on approach in creating his custom pieces. He meets with clients to ensure their ideas are truly reflected in his designs. Sometimes he follows the architect’s or designer’s plans. “Other times the client has an idea but no clue how to get there and leaves it up to me. That is the fun part.” Allen includes his clients in the creating process which gives them a sense of ownership and ultimately a product they love! His custom work has been on homes ranging in prices from $300,000 to $3,000,000.
For Allen, this work satisfies his artistic impulse. “When I am creating something from cold flat boring stock pieces and transforming them by heat and force into something beautiful and useful and lasting, and then being able to see the joy and excitement that it can bring to people makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
To not create lasting items from iron that is both pleasing and functional would be difficult, leaving an empty place in his life. He has learned that as an artist, your vision is unique. Your skills, with practise, grow and develop. It’s hard work, but the personal satisfaction makes it all worthwhile. Allen’s final words of encouragement inspiring and important for all of us to remember, “Find something you love doing and then learn all you can about it and make it your own.”