Born in eastern Kentucky, Matthew Maynard has been working metal in one form or another since around age 12. His interest sparked while reading the Foxfire series of books. After reading a volume about blacksmithing, he pieced together a small coal forge in his grandfather's barn. A broken tractor axle became a makeshift anvil.
Matthew explains "It was a very old log structure and it's a thousand wonders I didn't burn the place down, but Granddad was willing to encourage me and let me explore. Looking back, I suppose that was really a quite a pivotal moment for me, and thankfully he said yes instead of no."
Karine studied small metals and sculpture as part of her undergraduate training at the University of Wisconsin. She and Matthew met in 2004 and she came to work with him in 2005 white attending graduate school at the University of Kentucky studying studio art and art history.
"It was an exciting time in our shop," Karine says. "While it is undoubtedly rooted in craft, I knew that Matthew was creating art and I pushed him to challenge himself, the work and teach me everything he could. What we were creating was blurring the lines between art, craft and design. I guess you could say I got a welder and an anvil instead of an engagement ring."
The couple married in 2009 and incorporated Maynard Studios in 2010. Shortly afterward they started a small furniture line. In 2012 Matthew was awarded the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and in 2013 Karine completed a Kentucky Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship. They continue to grow their skill sets. They begin each project using metal and architectural space as their media—each commission uniquely designed and each component created by hand.
In 2013 they built a new and larger studio space and in 2014 they added a small foundry, casting unique bronze medallions for a railing commission in West Virginia. They now have three full-time employees and hire various part-time help when needed. The duo currently accepts commissions across the United States. Their most recent railing installation was in Annapolis, Md. Their work has been written about internationally, and was featured on the cover of a book titled "Ironwork Today." They continuously support local artists, traditional blacksmithing and other metalworkers in the region. Locally, their smaller pieces can be found for sale in a few select galleries and a handful of their commissions can be seen at local distilleries. They continue to specialize in hand-forged custom stair rails, furniture and applied design. Their focus is on quality over quantity.