I awake hearing the rumblings of a grandfather seven hundred miles away, I see the fingerprints of a woman long dead on my breakfast, and I work to the rhythmic footsteps of a man plowing fields half a century ago. I cannot define myself except in their words. My relationship to this mythology is that of a mule to its yoke. This mythology binds and burdens me, yet it allows me the confidence of definite path. This body of work addresses these blessed burdens; it allows me to understand my own compulsions and to give permanence to all the things I find are too easy to forget and impossible to live without. I have come to see the tobacco farmer as every bit the craftsman I aspire to be and metalsmithing forms my tribute to those who bent their backs to labor we now consider unnecessary. The physicality of process binds me to the South with a shared labor. I fold rows of copper as a harrow rolls hills of dirt, grateful for the ache given by the day’s efforts as it mimics those of the arthritic hands of my grandmother after a day in the fields. Art allows me to catalog this journey, broadcasting the allegories of my childhood in new and verdant minds with the hopes that they may live on when even I have left them behind.