A few blacksmiths in the western part of the US have been forming a tight-knit group to push boundaries and raise the bar of each other’s blacksmithing techniques. We had a quick on the spot interview with them inside a cute little coffee shop called Mamma Llama’s.
Who is participating the collaborative group?
How did this come about?
There have been several separate encounters contributing to the growth of this group.
- In 2009, Claudio Bottero was one of the demonstrators at the CBA Spring Conference in Petaluma and his demonstration was so unique that it raised the bar of blacksmithing techniques and the connection to the metal for the people in attendance. At the time this group of smiths didn’t know each other, but they were all moved to “up their game.”
- Following the Spring CBA conference was the Western States Blacksmithing Conference where they have “Blacksmith Wars” (where teams compete to complete a project) – this is where the group started to form.
- In 2011, John McClellen, a blacksmith from Loomis, CA, needed expert help with a very large gate project; he recruited Mark Aspery, Brett Moten, Dennis Dusek and John Barron to assist. They completed 500 1- inch square pass-throughs in 1 inch bar, all in two weeks! This is definitely cemented the group.
What are they doing?
The project this time will be a collaboration on a bench project where each of the forged pieces will be made individually in their own shops. This bench started with a design that was shared over the internet at first and then prints were mailed to each blacksmith’s home. They plan on completing the bench at the CBA Spring Conference/ Western States Conference in Hollister, CA.
Why are they doing it?
This highly-skilled, tight-knit crew of blacksmiths really enjoy working with each other and pushing the boundaries of their blacksmithing skills.
What happens with the finished piece?
The bench will be donated to the Jake Jackson Museum in Weaverville, where the Weaverville Hammer-In is hosted annually.
Here is the YouTube video link to watch the video of the interview, https://youtu.be/FJCKsPDGwV8