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In 1955 Smith made a series of eleven sculptures known as the 'Forgings'. They were the first of his works to be made entirely from stainless steel and are among the most reductive and most insistently vertical of his sculptures. They were produced using a power-driven forge hammer in the workshops of the steel fabricators, Seward & Company. It was from Seward's blacksmith, Leroy Burton, that Smith learnt many of the steel-working techniques of which he was to make extensive use in his later works. The direct reference to the method of their production in the title of the 'Forgings' epitomises the close relationship in Smith's work between materials and techniques and the final work of art.

August 2004