My current work includes two collections entitled Magic Objects and Garden Spirits. The inspiration for these pieces comes from contemplation and research about symbols and objects of ancient cultures. I am most interested in the images left to us before the development of written language, for these symbols carry us back to the earliest desire to communicate through form. The ancients did not by definition make art, but rather made beautiful objects that symbolized their theology. I am intrigued by objects that served as functional and sacred reliquary for ritual and celebration. Today, I find it important to have inspirational objects that give us pause and arouse a connectedness to our personal spirituality, and to our global community. Nana Schowalter has a background in fine art, earning an MFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987, with an emphasis on sculpture. She was first introduced to blacksmithing in 1984. Nana’s work includes interior sculpture, garden sculpture, and commission work. She combines iron, copper, and brass in works inspired by the images of ancient cultures from around the world. She has exhibited and taught nationally. Nana lives in rural southwestern Wisconsin and works in the original Postville Blacksmith Shop, built in 1856.