About a month ago I was in the Barnes and Noble in the West Ashley area and just by chance Phillip Simmons was there doing a book signing. I was elated. I got the chance to meet him and I got a signed copy of his book. The book is called Charleston Blacksmith, The Work of Phillip Simmons. He is a legend and if you have noticed any of the iron work in the Charleston downtown area, it most likely is his work.
Phillip Simmons learned his craft from a local blacksmith named Peter Simmons, who ran a busy shop at the foot of Calhoun Street. In 1938 he got into the ornamental work you see around the city today. Simmons has fashioned more than five hundred decorative pieces of ornamental wrought iron: gates, fences, balconies, and window grills. In 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him its National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor that the United States can bestow on a traditional artist. This recognition was followed by a similar award by the South Carolina state legislature for "lifetime achievement" and commissions for public sculptures by the South Carolina State Museum and the city of Charleston. For more about him follow the link.
If you want a copy of the book I just got, check it out on amazon.