Size: 9 Linear feet
Summary: The papers of influential blacksmith, sculptor, metalsmith and educator, L. Brent Kington, measure 9 linear feet and date from 1944 to 2012. The collection provides a valuable overview of Kington's career through correspondence relating primarily to exhibitions, subject files, drawings, photographs of Kington and his artwork, printed matter and audiovisual material. An additional 5.2 linear feet of papers was accessioned from 2007 to 2012 and remains unprocessed.
L. Brent Kington was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1934. He received a BFA from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in 1957 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1961. Kington began his career primarily as a silversmith working with small-scale objects such as jewelry, silverware, and toys, and then became interested in using forged iron to create sculpture. He sought the help and instruction of the few blacksmiths he could find working in a "traditional" style and began working with large-scale sculptures forged in iron and steel, weathervanes, and other kinetic sculpture. Kington's subsequent research, such as his exploration of forge welding techniques of iron and his experimentation with laminated, non-ferrous alloys, constituted an important contribution to the resurgence of traditional blacksmithing and was highly influential in the fields of blacksmithing and metalsmithing in general.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in installments by L. Brent Kington from 2001 to 2012. Materials donated from 2007 to 2012 remain unprocessed.
The Archives also has a transcribed interview of L. Brent Kington, conducted May 3-4, 2001 by Mary Douglas for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. The interview was conducted in Kington's home and studio in Makando, Illinois.