Made in the Mountain Empire: Rutledge Forge


A local artist is using his skill to help abused animals.

Rutledge Forge showcases handmade sculptures made out of horseshoes.

News 5's Jessica Griffith shows us how the artist also creates a home for animals who need help.

"We just decided to become the voice of the critters," John Drury said. Drury uses his artwork to help benefit abused animals. All of the profits he makes from selling his work goes towards surgeries for animals.

"We had a cat 3 weeks ago from Poor Valley that somebody just shot its paw off. So we got a call, could we do something to help with the cat? And we arranged to have the surgery. The cats now prancing around on a prosthetic paw and doing well," he said. Beyond helping pay for their treatment , he also houses animals on his property, to be a safe haven. He said right now, there are two horses, seven cats, three dogs, as well as raccoons and groundhogs. "We can't fix the whole world, but we can fix the individual animal," he said. The animals provide inspiration for his work. "This guy's name is Brutus. He's represents a horse we used to have." And he tries to personify the animals in the art. "He's got to tell a story. He's got to be the king of the hill and you got to be able to tell he's the boss," he said. These sculptures are completely made out of horseshoes. This one isn't even finished, and has 187 so far. "Most of them were horseshoes from him," Drury said. He starts the process by drawing out his idea, then heats up the metal, before forming it to the way he wants it. You can find his work at Willow Creek Antique on State Street in Bristol or online. "I've got pieces in the last 2 years that have sold in Norway, Munich, Arizona, i just sold one in Johnson City," he said.

Drury said he's been told that he's the only person in the world who makes art like this. "You get one of these and you make me the artist happy, you make some critter happy," he said.

Vist his website here.