A man leans over an anvil with a warm hammer in his hand. With focus and precision, he repeatedly strikes a red-hot strap of steel. A blacksmith to most, this artist has created works that the most prestigious of judges have enjoyed.
Matt Humphreys graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science in December 2005. When most college students took a study break to play video games or a few rounds of disc golf, Humphreys would spend down time in his garage, perfecting his blacksmith craft.
“One of my buddies in class asked me to make a belt buckle. Then three of his buddies asked me to make one and then three more. I made a bunch of belt buckles. My classmates at Texas Tech were a huge part of getting my name out there,” Humphreys said.
To this day, Humphreys contributes his skills to Texas Tech whenever he can. In 2008, Texas Tech’s School of Law asked him to make a set of spurs for the first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. Since then, Texas Tech School of Law has asked Humphreys to make spurs for other Supreme Court Justices such as Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer.
Humphreys estimates he has made around 300 spurs and more than 2,000 bits. It is not uncommon to see someone wearing one of his belt buckles. His work ranges from $200 for belt buckles to spurs that can cost upward of $5,000.
When asked about Matt Humphreys’ work, Margaret Couch, a graduate of Texas Tech said, “His pieces are one of a kind. They are some of the most beautiful, hand-crafted, works of art you will ever see. I am constantly getting compliments on the buckle made for me. He is a very talented bit and spur maker.”
In 2004, Humphreys made a bracelet for Drew Baker, a girl attending Texas Tech. Little did he know, the handmade bracelet would change his life. In 2007, they were married. Drew graduated from Texas Tech in 2008 with a degree in education. A few months later, the couple moved to their hometown of Spur, Texas.
Today, Humphreys can be found in his workshop beside his house. However, the waiting list for orders is more than two years.
“I love my life, I work for myself, and I create art that I’m passionate about. I have a great wife, two dogs and a whole bunch of life-long friends that I made at Texas Tech. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Humphreys said.