Thank you to Marilyn Chung and Rosalie Murphy at the Desert Sun for interviewing me for the Desert Sun Arts & Culture series. I am so grateful for the support of my community and the newspaper. Here's an excerpt with a link at the end:
"Tolley Marney works like an old-fashioned blacksmith. He heats found steel in a one-foot-square forge until it glows pale orange, then holds it with tongs against an anvil. He pounds precisely with a narrow hammer, shaping it steadily until it's too cool to manipulate.
For many years, he shaped horseshoes with these tools and traveled the Coachella Valley as a farrier. Now, he uses them to shape sculptures that captivate their viewers.
"I like blacksmithing, but there has to be more to my development as well. If you can create it with a new face, you've got to do it," Marney said. "As an artist, you're always trying to find a different way to invent the wheel. You want to look at different ideas, different techniques, to create a vision."
When he moved to Palm Springs at 21, Marney joined Smoke Tree Stables as a ranch foreman, then began shoeing horses all over the valley. About 15 years ago, a friend asked him to use his blacksmith's training to do some decorative steel work in her art gallery. She then challenged him to sculpt creatively. He chose the form he knew best: A horse's head.
Marney spent months on the sculpture and unveiled it at a local Desert Riders dinner party. It sold for $5,000 that night.
"I never knew it was sculpting. I always liked to draw, paint, all that, but sculpting is totally different," Marney said. "When you sculpt, you know you've engaged the person when they walk all the way around it. If you can engage the person at every dimension of it, you've hit a home run."
After that, Marney began incorporating sculpture into his daily blacksmithing. He no longer shoes horses, but still works under an awning outside Smoke Tree Stables, just feet from the horses he used to tend.
Marney's early sculptures are horses' heads, made with a forge and anvil in classic blacksmithing technique. Then he moved to sculpting people and plants, like his saguaro cactus. In recent years, he's begun incorporating materials like reclaimed oak and glass to soften the sharp gray steel....Read More