|Dan Nauman first put a hammer blow to hot iron in the historic shop in Cedarburg's Cedar Creek Settlement in 1979.
Dan travelled the United States in search of others who could teach the exhilarating trade of the blacksmith; and incorporated Bighorn Forge in 1991. Dan is now invited to lecture and demonstrate at trade conferences, living history events, and art museums around the country.
Dan's service to his art:
The range of styles found in Dan's portfolio developed from his study of the wealth of architectural treasures in Wisconsin, many of which appear in the National Registry of Historic Places. A few of these notable buildings include:
"Forging metal has become a passion and a livelihood that has patterned my vision in life. I have arrived at a stage where I no longer grapple with the material. I revel in exploring the styles of the past, as well as expressing new visions in metal. The essence of my skills flow from intense tutelage as well as the finished works of numerous metal artists, coupled with many years of my own practice and studies in iron and copper. Fortune has allowed me the pleasures of forging a potpourri of styles and designs in furniture, accessories and architecture. I derive immense satisfaction knowing that my work resides alongside other architectural master's worksboth past and present."
Daniel Mark Nauman
4190 Badger Road
Biography and Resumé
Daniel Nauman is a Kewaskum resident and a native of Wisconsin. He is married to Toni Farrell, and together they raise horses and other livestock on their 5 rural acres. As an industrial traveling salesman, a manager of industrial quality control, and a foreman of an industrial production line, he has had the privilege of working a well-rounded industrious life in southeastern Wisconsin. In 1984, Nauman founded Bighorn Forge Ironworks, and incorporated the company in Kewaskum, in 1991. He opened a second forge in 1995 on Hwy. 57 in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin, on the picturesque Door County peninsula. In 2000, he acquired another shop at the historic Cedar Creek Settlement in Cedarburg, WI. The Baileys Harbor shop was closed in 2001, and the Cedarburg shop closed in 2006 to concentrate solely on commissions in the Kewaskum shop.
It was in 1979 when Nauman started forging iron. He has the pleasure of designing and forging chandeliers, wall sconces, fireplace tools, railings, gates, tables, sign brackets, door hardware, arbors, and much more for numerous homes and mansions. Most notably, he has made items for the Kailas and Becky Rao Estate (Herman Uihlein Mansion, an Italian Renaissance mansion) in Whitefish Bay, WI; the Pabst Mansion, (Flemish Renaissance) in Milwaukee, WI; the Executive Residence in Madison, WI; for the former Governor Patrick Lucey Estate (Georgian Style Mansion) in River Hills, WI, for Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum (Tuscan Style Villa) in Milwaukee; and produced basin brackets for the Kohler Company. Nauman designs his work to suit classic, as well as contemporary tastes. Incorporating French and German repousse’, flora and fauna motifs, and hand forging the iron in the tradition of the old world craftsmen, Nauman continues to strive for the highest quality designs and workmanship. He relentlessly studies the great master’s works and drawings to continue the life-long learning curve.
He has been awarded several grants to study and document the work of one of the famed metal masters, Cyril Colnik (1871-1958). Colnik came to this country in 1893 from Austria. Colnik applied his mastery to the finest homes in southeastern Wisconsin and has been dubbed the ‘Tiffany of Wrought Iron Masters’. Nauman has recorded Colnik’s works in iron through black and white photography, and color slides. Through a 1997 grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, support from Miller Brewing Company; the Kailas and Becky Rao Foundation; and several other private and corporate interests, Nauman was the Project Director of a video documentary on Cyril Colnik. This feature aired on Wisconsin Public Television (a partner in the project) in 1998, and on Milwaukee public Television in 1998 and 1999. Currently, Nauman is redesigning the Colnik Galleries at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.
Early in Nauman’s career he traveled around the country from New Hampshire to Idaho to learn what he could from dedicated masters of the blacksmith’s trade. Today, Nauman returns the favor by traveling the country demonstrating and teaching the trade he so loves at conferences and workshops. Nauman has written several feature articles, has lectured, taught and demonstrated the trade. He has served as a board member for “The Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America” (ABANA) from 2000 to 2006, and is the chairman for the ABANA committee that is currently writing lessons in forging for the trade journal “The Hammer’s Blow”. He is also a member of the “National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association” (NOMMA).
In 2005, Nauman received an international award for workmanship from NOMMA for a chandelier made for the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee. The piece was a reproduction of a Cyril Colnik original, which once adorned the grand foyer of the mansion.
In 2006, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum commissioned Nauman to redesign the Cyril Colnik galleries. The new galleries will be more interactive, and will properly display Colnik’s works as they were intended to be seen. Upon entering the galleries, patrons will see the many tools used by the smith to make the wonderful items seen in the galleries. Some of these tools were used by Colnik himself. Colnik’s sample boards, drawings, blueprints, and numerous photographs will also be displayed.
Also in 2006, Nauman was offered a position as a professor at the “American College of the Building Arts” in Charleston, SC. The ACBA is the only college in North America which offers a bachelor’s degree in any of the following building arts: Forging, Masonry, Plastering, Carpentry, Timber-framing, and Stone carving. Though Nauman enjoys teaching, fully supports the ACBA’s mission, and understands the importance of proper instruction, for personal reasons he decided to respectfully decline the offer. For more information on the ACBA see www.buildingartscollege.us
Dan Nauman’s Volunteer Service