baggett the blacksmith.
My grandfather was larger than life to me. He only had a 6th grade education, but he could build or fix anything. He was a true southern storyteller and the entire family would circle around to hear his stories. He would tell us about growing up on Budd’s Creek in John’s Hollow, shoeing horses in Muhlenberg County, mining coal and being a slave to the Company Store, and working in the railroad shops in Paducah for the Illinois Central Railroad.
Honoring my grandfather, I crafted five totems made of Poplar wood that is indigenous to Kentucky. I populated the totems with text from my grandfather’s stories. Representing the stages of his life – from birth to work to death – they tower up to 11 feet tall. Larger than life, just like my grandfather was to me.