Ricardo Mediavilla is a blacksmith from Legazpi, a city known for this trade and for its industry. It is located in the middle point between the capitals of the three Basque provinces. Ricardo owns the last working forge in the city and has also worked most of his life in the Bellota tool factory, perhaps the most important of its kind in Spain. As a result of a regulation plan in the early 1980s, Bellota dismissed part of its machinery and one of its power hammers was sold to Ricardo as scrap. He has used it in his workshop ever since.
We met at the beginning of 2019 when he helped me with the production of the sculpture Legazpi Ibaeta, which is related to this and other works. He was about to retire from Bellota. The opportunity came to work together again and I asked him if I could measure his power hammer and replicate the profiles of its parts, using bent laurel branches.
Laurel is easily found in rural paths of the Basque Country where it grows wildly. Its shoots grow very straight from the root, are very flexible, resistant and, when dry, acquire a very dark shade, close to iron. I was motivated to use these branches in this work because of their characteristics and the ornamental use it has been given by many different cultures. The intention was to provoke a sort of regressive state where the industrial stops being functional, metal becomes vegetal and the shapes of the machine turn into nature.