TO SEE WITH NEW EYES, RICHARD CARR
JUL. 16 - SEP. 24 2023
Richard Carr, Untitled, 2011. Salvaged steel from water tower on S Florida Street, Memphis. Courtesy of Jim Masterson
“Salvaged material has a story, which gives the finished piece a soul.”
— Richard Carr
Richard Carr is an inspired craftsman with over forty years experience in an industrial setting. His love for old architecture and organic forms, along with his experiences and observations are reflected in his work. Richard utilizes aged, textured materials including iron, stone and wood, which he often salvages from sites throughout Downtown Memphis. To see with new eyes, Richard Carr brings into focus the stories that salvaged materials share, providing viewers a glimpse into the piece’s soul.
Richard Carr was first introduced to metal fabrication in his grandfather’s shop, Mac’s Ornamental Iron Co., in Colonial Heights, VA. Finding an outlet for his interest, Richard attended F.F.A. welding classes in high school and three years of metal working classes at the North Dakota State College of Science. With this knowledge, Richard became a pipe fitter/welder in the fall of 1980 and traveled around the country building processing and fossil fuel generating plants. In May 1989, Richard came to Memphis to work on the Large Cavitation Channel on President’s Island for the U.S. Navy.
Richard was first introduced to the Metal Museum through tourism sources and learned about different classes offered at the museum. After taking several blacksmithing classes, Richard began volunteering in exchange for additional classes. His first project (of many) was to fabricate steel for the back of the Smithy, which eventually became the Repair Lab at the Metal Museum.
From the skills he learned and the people he met, Richard was able to turn a hobby into a career. In the fall of 1995, he went to work as an industrial blacksmith at the public utility in Memphis.