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Brent Kington

Kington's art training began while he was in Topeka, Kansas public schools. He specialized in sculpture in his last two years of high school. Kington went to University of Kansas for his undergraduate degree. There he studied under Carlyle Smith and Robert Montgomery. Due to Montgomery's urging, Kington went to Cranbrook Academy of Art for graduate school in 1959. Kington, taking his professor's advice, went to Cranbrook and studied with Richard Thomas. Kington concentrated his studies on sculpture and design. A few of his peers at Cranbrook were Michael Jerry, Stanley Lechtzin, Fred Fenster and Heikki Seppa. As graduation came closer and closer for Kington, his work took on a more production-like approach. Richard Thomas was the one who encouraged Kington to teach. Richard Thomas helped Kington attain a teaching position at University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale where he still teaches today.

The birth of Kington's first child had a strong influence on his work. Kington found a way in which he could express his love for his son through making his first sterling silver rattles. As Todd, his son, grew…so did the toys. Kington made rattles to pull-toys to whistles. Kington's intention was to keep these toys as an heirloom that would be shared from generation to generation. In the early 60's Kington discovered matchbox toys and started making his cars and machines with drivers that were noticeably enjoying their ride. Kington learned, through his son, how important fantasy is to a child.

Kington attended a metals symposium at the First World Conference of Craftsmen held in New York City in 1964. He had the opportunity to look around the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was immediately overwhelmed by the arms and armor section. After viewing this display Kington decided to do some work in blacksmithing. Over several years Kington accumulated tools and information from regional blacksmiths and the few books available on the subject. Kington taught himself the skill and control he needed to manipulate ferrous metal. He organized a conference on blacksmithing in 1970. He invited professors from numerous metalsmithing programs to introduce this form of metalworking into the metalsmithing field; although Blacksmithing has been practiced for hundreds of years. He is noted for introducing blacksmithing into contemporary metalsmithing as an art form.

Kington's work is represented in numerous permanent collections and has received various awards and honors. He has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Besides Kington's many contributions to the field, he is also a founding member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the first official president of that organization.