When an elderly wood carver was asked how he could whittle a dog out of a block of wood, he replied, “Well, the dog was in there all the time. I just helped him come out.”
“This is basically the same approach to crafting ironwork decorations from 14-gauge steel,” says Alan Moore of Houston, Mississippi, owner of Iron Works of Houston, which produces metal designs, many with a Christian theme.
When people think of “ironwork” they may visualize more of a structural form, such as steel beams in a building. Moore’s work is typically more creative — home decorations, as well as farm and ranch signs and address markers.
Many of the designs give Moore an opportunity to share Bible verses or inspirational thoughts and thus share his faith with those who browse his work on Facebook or Etsy.
“I like to think that when people read a Bible verse or see an inspirational thought, they are reminded that God loves them,” says Moore.
As a young boy growing up in west Tennessee, Moore mowed grass for neighbors to earn spending money. As a teen, he restored antique cars. His love of math led him to pharmacy school, and he worked 35 years as a pharmacist.
A good fit
In 2016, Moore began working with iron … “to keep my sanity,” he said. The hobby also seemed a good fit because his son, Ross, attended welding school. Metalwork seemed like a good opportunity for father and son to spend time together.
“I never thought about it becoming a second career,” Moore said.
But that’s just what has happened, and the entire family is involved. In addition to Ross’ help, Moore’s daughter, Kali, a nurse in Tupelo, often provides inspirational thoughts for his designs.
Today, Iron Works of Houston is known from coast to coast and internationally. His metal Christmas nativity designs are especially popular.
While Moore and his wife, Lesa, were visiting a “Jerusalem House of Prayer for all Nations” in Israel, he was approached about supplying signs that say: “It is well with my soul” and “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening,” (1 Sam. 3:10).
These signs now hang in the House of Prayer in Jerusalem, where those who visit from around the world are reminded of God’s greatness.
“When tourists visit the church, I hope these Bible verses and other inspirational thoughts will make a difference in the life of those who read them,” Moore said.
Moore and his family are active members of First Baptist Church, Houston, Mississippi, where Moore participates in Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief, missions projects and other ministries where his pharmacy background is a great help.
Greg Simmons, FBC Houston student minister, said, “Alan is always ready to work with church programs and encourages others to step up.”
Recently, Moore discovered an ancestor known as Black Jack McKnight from the mid-1800s who was the blacksmith in west Tennessee. In his shop, McKnight not only took care of horses, he also repaired metal farm equipment.
“Perhaps working with iron is in my DNA, and I’m just now finding it out,” says Moore.
For more information on Alan Moore and Iron Works of Houston, visit facebook.com/ironworksofhouston or etsy.com/shop/ironworkshouston.
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