Robert Thomas Iron Design

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  ~Leonardo DiVinci

The Blacksmiths

Robert Thomas

bobby bio.jpeg

Robert Thomas has been forging and designing for over 10 years. Truly passionate about art and aesthetic, from the moment Robert began forging metal, he knew blacksmithing was his calling. After completing his education at Hereford College of Arts in Hereford, England, and traveling the world working with renowned artists in England, France, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Israel, and throughout the United States, Robert knew it was time to start something BIG!

In 2013, Robert packed up his tools and moved to Charleston, South Carolina. In a shrimp “shed” located on a quiet, undeveloped island outside of Charleston, Robert founded Robert Thomas Iron Design and has not looked back since. Robert has emerged himself in all aspects of forging, from re-shaping hot metal, designing with a pencil to CAD, to hanging off buildings during installations, he continues to develop his expertise in the forging process as a whole.

“I like to design pieces that highlight the forging process. My passion is using traditional blacksmithing techniques to create contemporary works. The way I build – it's not the easiest way to do it – it's the pursuit of mastery. The way I incorporate traditional technique – it's not recreating the past – it's working directly with the material in a way that cannot be realized with a machine.”

International Recognition & Awards

  • 1st place - 2012 Iron Work Exhibition; Ivano-Frankivsk Blacksmith Festival, Ukraine

  • 1st place - 2012 Forging Competition; Ivano-Frankivsk Blacksmith Festival, Ukraine

  • 2nd place - 2012 Tri-County Show; Malvern, England

  • Featured demonstrating team member - 2012 World Blacksmith Forum; Helfštýn, Czech Republic

  • Sculptural works on permanent display in the Castle Helfštýn; Helfštýn, Czech Republic


Tyler Bickerstaff

Tyler first started working with us as an intern from the American College of Building Arts, where he complete a four-year degree in their architectural ironwork program. After graduating Valedictorian, Tyler joined Robert Thomas Iron Design full-time and has been an essential part of the team ever since. Tyler brings a diverse skill set with him from over 15 years in the construction industry prior to catching the blacksmith bug. Tyler is an active member of the ACBA Board and continues to push for accredited programs in the arts. T-stack, as he’s known to us, handles our day-to-day operations in addition to his forge work. Tyler and his family love fishing in the Folly River, traveling, and Auburn Football.


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Matthew Garton

With over 13 years of experience in forged metal work and blacksmithing, Matthew leads our forging efforts at the RTID shop.  Matt graduated from Hereford College of Arts in Hereford, England with a B.A. Honors in Artist Blacksmithing.  His natural talent and dedication to the craft allowed Matt the opportunity to apprentice in one of the World's oldest functioning blacksmith shops in England, where he further refined his skillset and technique. His love for forging metal and desire to study with master smiths has taken Matt all over the world.

Matt specializes in traditional blacksmithing and has a vast knowledge of forged iron restoration, developed during his time working with the Top and Co. team, the world market leader in ironwork restoration. He has studied and forged in Canada, Chez Republic, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and coast to coast throughout the United States.  Matt has led multiple demonstrations in Europe and the U.S., and his forging talents can be seen on movie sets such as Beauty and the Beast, The Huntsman, and Star Wars.

Matt currently volunteers his time as a guest demonstrator at the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, S.C. 

Congratulations on Matt's gold medal finish at the 2017 World Forging Championships in Stia, Italy!

International Recognition & Awards

  • 1st place- Chain Making open division; 2018 ABANA Conference

  • 1st place- Tong Making open division; 2018 ABANA Conference 

  • 2nd place- Welded Spatula open division; 2018 ABANA Conference

  • 1st place - Team Event; 2017 World Forging Championships; Stia, Italy

  • 2nd place - Individual Event; 2017 World Forging Championships; Stia, Italy


Annie Arthur

Born and raised just outside of Chattanooga, TN, Annie grew up with a love for art and a need to create. Even though she knew nothing about metalworking, Annie decided to attend the American College of Building Arts (ACBA), in Charleston, South Carolina, to study forged architectural ironwork. After taking a handful of blacksmithing lessons and showing a natural talent for the art, Annie enrolled at ACBA, where she graduated Valedictorian of the 2017 class. Annie had the opportunity to intern at RTID while attending school and joined the team shortly after graduation. Annie is an unstoppable force in the workshop and has the ability to assist, collaborate, and lead on any project she touches.

National Recognition & Awards

  • 2nd place- Chain Making open division; 2018 ABANA Conference

  • 3rd place- Tong Making open division; 2018 ABANA Conference 


team awards

  • 1st place - 2019 Top Job Forged Gates; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association

  • 2nd place - 2019 Top Job Forged Furniture & Accessories; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association

  • 3rd place - 2019 Top Job Forged Interior Railing; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association

  • 1st place - 2018 Top Job Forged Railing; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association

  • 1st place - 2018 Top Job Residential Stairs Complete; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association

  • 3rd place - 2018 Top Job Forged Furniture; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association

  • 2nd place - 2016 Top Job Forged Gates; National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association


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