BY SARA SHEIKH
Josh Smith comes from a family that didn’t hire professionals to do their home repairs or improvements. The Greene County native says his parents preferred to do things themselves and, as a result, he began learning skills like carpentry and welding as a youngster.
“I grew up doing everything,” Smith, 33, says. “My dad built our house with trees that he took down. My mom painted and did stained glass. My family is full of doers.”
Smith built on the skills he learned as a youth to start Clutch Fabrication and Design. The Bloomington-based studio integrates the art of design with the craft of welding to customize one-of-a-kind pieces for both commercial and residential clients. While metals are its primary medium, the shop incorporates glass, wood, and reclaimed materials to produce handrails, furniture, and architectural pieces for both interior and exterior use. Commercial clients include King Dough, Cardinal Spirits, The Atlas Ballroom, Hopscotch Coffee, The Warehouse, and Loren Wood Builders.
“We work to cater to customers as much as possible, which sets us apart,” says Smith. “We’ve merged a welding shop into today’s time period to create custom work from start to finish.”
Smith moved to Bloomington after high school and worked as a body piercer at a tattoo parlor for 10 years. During that period he crossed paths with Bryan Absher, a blacksmith, who inspired him and rekindled his passion for metalwork.
“I’ve been fiddling with metalwork for about 10 years,” says Smith. “It really started when I got into cars and bikes, and I’ve always had an affinity for furniture.”
Five years ago, Smith quit piercing to focus solely on Clutch Fabrication, a name under which he had been doing odd jobs as a sideline. To further his ability to customize products and grow the business, he added a design component to his repertoire. The self-described “creative problem solver” says adding the design service came naturally.
While Clutch Fabrication and Design operates primarily in Monroe and Brown counties, Smith says he has completed work for a handful of clients outside the area and foresees growth beyond this part of Indiana.
For more information about Clutch Fabrication and Design, visit clutchfab.com.