Creative Quarantine: Blacksmith Leif Eric Barnikel

Eric Leif Barnikel

1. How are you holding up?

I’m holding up pretty well, all things considered. Travel bans have put a damper on some summer plans but we are fortunate to have a roof over our heads and food on the table.

Strike while it’s hot

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

Prior to COVID-19, I was working in property maintenance/contracting and renovation for years. Due to health concerns, we stopped working occupied homes in March and ceased all work in April.
The lack of work allowed me to focus on my home shop, honing my craft, and transitioning to a full-time blacksmith.


3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

My daily routine is much different now as I have no commute or coworkers.
There has been a huge growth in blacksmithing in recent months and I hope the community support stays the same after this is over.


4. Of the artists you follow, who’s handling this particularly well?

My mentor, Clark Martinek is a sculpture artist in South Dakota. His business is flourishing from an increase in online activity/shopping and at the same time, the cancellation of various public events has also gifted him time to focus on his portfolio of sculptures. 

Work in progress

Leif Eric Barnikel is a 33-year-old blacksmith on Detroit’s east side, specializing in tools and decorative ironwork. Check out his Instagram for more.