A Project That Could: Erick Forsyth and The Three Graces Studio

Erick Forsyth still is or has been a boxer, bartender, organizer, writer, blacksmith, photographer, and soul disc jockey. He’s probably had a whole range of curious employments I don’t know about. Currently, he’s running The Three Graces Studio, which specializes in blacksmithing and ironwork, wet plate photography, and writing.

His ironwork is impressive and photography is fabulous, but what may be the most exciting aspect of Erick’s work is how he’s constructing a life for himself out of the work that he finds interesting and fulfilling. He installed plumbing among other amenities into his studio largely by himself, sometimes with the help of a few friends. Among his many accomplishments so far, the third grace, writing, has been elusive.

Not any longer.

Erick just got an acceptance to present his book-in-progress, Of Flesh and Word, at the Summer Institute in American Philosophy at the University of Oregon this year. He attended one of the Institutes and decided to apply himself. I was skeptical. Neither of us have traditional credentials for something like this. The day we met to talk about the submission abstract, Erick was also completing a lamp project for Auburn University, a commission that came through due to the recent death of a blacksmithing friend. I think we were both surprised that he was able to get such disparate and detailed work done in the same few days.

Here’s his general description of the book:

From its beginning the US South has been known for violence. Its rates of murder, capital punishment, and incarceration are the highest, and with the exception of incarceration, this has always been so. While the phenomenon is multifaceted and lends itself to many forms of analysis, largely ignored has been the objects of violence at their most fundamental construction, metaphor. Using both American and Continental Schools of philosophy as well as Southern Literature, History, and Historiography this work takes on the practice of legal and extra-legal violence in the South by placing it in the context of its beginnings as an honor culture with a racially based slave economy through the current era of mass incarceration. The work focuses on three metaphoric constructions– “Honor, Race, Criminal”– and follows their genealogy as sites of justified violence in both common and legal domains.

Late last year, Erick contacted me to look over a manuscript he had been working on for several years. He was interested if I would help him adapt pieces of it into screenplay format. I like working in that genre and I had liked the bits of Erick’s work I had seen. None of it had been finished that I could remember, but what was there, was always interesting.

This was no different.

Since then I’ve been a kind of first reader/editor/collaborator on the project. To be clear, the project is total Erick. I’m just nursing it along. I’ll update its progress when I can.

Also, thanks to Dr. Litaker for help in getting us through the abstract process!


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