Vi is a recent recipient of our monthly Money to Burn mini grant drawing and was kind enough to share some thoughts and pictures with us.
"My name is Vi Cypress of Black Rose Steelworks, and I'm a 21-year-old queer and trans blacksmith. I am so grateful to have been selected for the SIBs December 2023 Money to Burn Mini-Grant! As an individual without a whole lot of means, the $50 grant will provide me with the resources to afford propane, tools, and materials so I can continue building my skills and my business. I feel very privileged to receive this generous contribution and I hope to do it justice through my art and commitment to the craft.
I started my blacksmithing journey in September 2023, only a few months ago. Having just dropped out of college and moved far away from home, I had felt lost and without purpose. I had suppressed my creativity -- and my identity -- for far too long, and I decided that I would take things into my own hands to pursue the joy and fulfillment I wanted in life. Making art and functional tools from steel was, in my mind, the ultimate way to reclaim my power and individuality -- by bending an unforgiving material to my will, and creating art to last lifetimes.
The prospect of entering a majorly white-cishet-male dominated field was intimidating, but I've already found community among the most wonderful queer, trans, POC, and neurodivergent blacksmiths through SIBs. My skills in blacksmithing, as well as interacting openly with the world, have grown blisteringly quick (no pun intended) and my experiences have shaped my being to its core. Blacksmithing to me is a true passion, and as a recipient of this grant I intend to pursue it to my furthest ability. I aim to inspire myself and others, and hopefully to play a part in broadening the field of blacksmithing to more wonderful souls like me."