Joe Miller was so sure that he wanted to be a blacksmith that he built himself a blacksmithing shop before even taking his first class. The risk paid off— he’s worked as a self-employed artist-blacksmith for almost thirty years. Miller considers himself a self-taught artist, and he names nature as the largest influence on his work. His work spans a variety of forms, from functional pieces such as fireplace tools, candleholders, and chandeliers to larger architectural and sculptural ironwork. Miller lives in the mountains near Brasstown, North Carolina, and teaches blacksmithing classes at the local John C. Campbell Folk School, a position he’s held since 1989.