Shakespirit Video

This video shows a walkaround of the Shakespirit piece.  We start on the stage right side of it, where you see the shape of the stage, roof, flags and drapes.  You will also see the actors on the stage.

As you move to a stage left viewing position, the canonical image of Shakespeare comes into focus.


I was honored to be selected to show this work, celebrating the final season of the Adams Shakespearean Theatre.  The Adams Theatre is to be replaced in 2016.

Shakespirit Accepted Into Utah Shakespeare Festival Show


RoadRunner Forge is proud to announce that Ridgecrest artist-blacksmith Mike Mumford’s artwork “Shakespirit” was selected for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s “Adams Theatre Farewell Art Exhibit.”


Shakespirit was installed in the USF Randall Theatre on June 18th, one of the two production venues for the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah. The art show opens at the same time as the USF Summer 2015 season, which opens on June 25th. Ridgecrest visitors to the Utah Shakespeare Festival are encouraged to view the sculpture while attending the Festival. The art show runs through Oct. 31.

DSC03661ed left side DSC03663ed framed right side

Development of Shakespirit represents a venture into a new art form for Mike.  Many people recall the Shadow Sculpture show that featured his work at the Maturango Museum in 2013.  Since then, Mike has continued to produce Shadow Sculptures;  these ideas have evolved into the new form of a Visual Align Sculpture.  In a Shadow Sculpture, elements of the sculpture align to cast a specific shadow.  In a Visual Align Sculpture, the elements of the sculpture align in the direct view to create a specific image.


In Shakespirit, the basic form of the sculpture is an interpretation of the USF Adams Theatre – theatergoers will recognize the shape of the stage front, the balconies over the stage, the shape of the overhanging roof, the hexagonal cupola on top, and the various flags that adorn the cupola.


In addition, there are two actors on stage, with flowing capes and drapes.


When viewed from the proper direction, all of the elements of the artwork line up to produce the image of William Shakespeare, holding a quill pen, writing his plays.  The image is based upon the canonical 1623 image from his first folios of plays.


Shakespirit represents the idea that the spirit of William Shakespeare permeates the Adams Theatre, the actors,  and the presentations on the Adams stage.


Made from forged and fabricated steel, Shakespirit weighs about 100 lb.


The Utah Shakespeare Festival issued a Call for Artists in summer 2014, calling for artists to celebrate and commemorate the final season (of about 54 seasons) of the Adams Shakespearean Theatre.  The Adams Theatre is an outdoor theater, evoking the famous Globe Theatre. The Adams Theatre is expected to be replaced by a new and larger theater complex in 2016.


Out of a much larger number of submissions, Mike is one of 22 artists selected for showing at the Adams Theatre Farewell Art Exhibit.

Swords Into Plowshares

A new Shadow Sculpture!

This is a first-look shop video.

We start with hands (look close at the first frames of the video) holding swords, knives, daggers, etc.  Arrange in a group over a peaceful base.

Then as we move, we find the image being cast – a man plowing.

As a blacksmith, we can be called upon to make swords, and at times are asked to make plowshares.  But, rarely are we asked to forge swords into plowshares.

Material:  forged stee.

Size:  about 24″ wide, 14″ deep, 28″ high.

But The Greatest of These Is …


DSC03638crop web

Finally – decided what finish to put on this one.  All together now – if you want one, please use the contact page to order.


This is a two-light Shadow Sculpture, designed to go into a corner, with two lights at right angles casting the two separate shadows


First Look: New Shadow Sculpture

A new Shadow Sculpture!  This one is titled “The Greatest of These Is…

Inspired by the Biblical statement “Faith, Hope, Love, but the Greatest of these is love.”

DSC03625webWe have a sculpture in which the direct view shows the word Love.  This piece is designed to go into a corner with two lights on it, casting two shadows.  The left shadow is “Hope,” the right shadow is “Faith.

This piece was an interesting challenge – the idea came to me a couple of months ago, but it took a while to get around to being able to work on it.

This is a shop First Look photo – the finish has not been applied.  I’ll get more and better pix later.

Technical Details:

Made of forged steel, about 16″ x 16″ x 5″.

A Rant: What’s Wrong With Art Education?

OK – what’s wrong?  I just spent a couple of days in a watercolor class.  Essentially, this “class” was nothing more than a non-guided opportunity to paint alongside my friends.

To me, a big part of watercolor is learning the skills necessary.  That implies that the necessary skills must be broken down into their component elements, drills and learning events developed which teach those skills, and then hands-on practice of those elements.

There is a lot to “art.” There should not be such mystery to it – while it needs inspiration to create great art, the artist needs skills and skill development.

Why is it that skill identification and development seem totally foreign to many, many people who “teach” art workshops?

Visual Align Sculpture – A New Term

Visual Align Sculpture  or VA Sculpture – A New Term

(and, not the VA that my daddy worked for!)

I’ve been searching for a term to describe Shadow Sculptures, and also to describe a new type of sculpture that I’m working on.

Shadow Sculptures are art pieces which, in my development of them, look like one thing but cast the shadow of something else.

Recently, I was challenged and interested in creating a new type of sculpture, one which presents a certain image when viewed from a specific direction, yet which looks like something else when viewed from a different perspective.

The idea is that you have to view the piece from that specific direction in order for the image to come into focus.

Shadow Sculptures are a subset of the more general Visual Align category, I think.

Examples of V.A. sculptures include:

-the famous Nelson Mandela sculpture ( interesting video, don’t know the artist’s name (

-Shadow Sculptures, by myself and others

I’m looking for a name for this general category – if you know of a generally-accepted name, please let me know.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep using the term Visual Align sculpture.

And, stay tuned:  I’ll be posting the new piece soon, hopefully!

Giving Thanks – First Look





Here’s a first look at a recently-completed shadow sculpture — Giving Thanks, maquette.

This piece was created as we approached Thanksgiving – sorry, I’ve gDSC03457webotten waaaay behind in posting things on this blog.

The picture was taken in the shop, on the worktable where I work out the designs of these pieces.

What we have here in the direct view of the work, is a Thanksgiving dinner — turkey, flowers, candles, and soup or veggie bowls with lids.

All done in steel. Forged, welded, folded.

In contrast, the shadow shows the recipient’s hands, giving thanks.

This is a maquette, or sample/model – I’ll create a finished piece some time later.

Vases!  Actually, vase holders.


DSC03260webThis is the first look – just assembled this in the shop today.   I still have to put the finish on this.


This assignment was to make holders for these tall vases (tallest is 48″), made of thick heavy clay.  This is to go into a very windy spot, there was no way these would stand up on their own.

Material is mostly 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ steel.  Center post is about 2″ hexagonal, forged down and spiraled at the top.

It was assembled today for a fit check.  Now it’s all apart so that I can start painting it.

It’s Summer – Hot!

Hot Day In the Shop Today

Thermometer on shop wall: 115 in the shade – that part of the building seems to collect heat. The semi-official thermometer only said 107.

You can tell when it gets to those kinds of temps – even metal that is in the shade feels hot to the touch.

It’s survivable, but really wears on you. I seem to have well-trained sweat glands – I was soaked all day. Drank a lot of water, about every hour.

The cat doesn’t like summer either: I’m thankful that I’m not wearing a nice fur coat.