Guest Intro paragraph
This week I’ve got Evan Wilson from Austin, Texas who is the program director for the blacksmith shop at this nonprofit community organization called Mobile Loaves and Fishes. The Community Forge & Woodshop empowers their community of homeless members to engage in the creation of timeless crafts while also earning a dignified income. Through blacksmithing, woodworking and a range of other projects, the men, and women in this Community Works program become part of a restorative journey toward social contribution, financial stability and a mastery of handcrafting skills.
Their craftsmen and artists receive 100% of the profit from the sale of their products, enabling them to become more settled and experience greater stability in Community First! Village. They also encounter a greater sense of purpose, healing, and friendships, foundational components of life that every person needs and deserves.
What We Talked About
- Evan talks about his experience being a striker for Claudio Bottero at the Florida Artist Blacksmith Association in October 2017, “like drinking from a fire hose”.
- Mobile Loaves and Fishes is a nonprofit organization in Austin that started 19 years ago, they help feed and cloth the homeless population.
- The organization decided to build their own RV park to house the homeless and start a community-centered program on 27 acres with 250 housing units.
- Within the community, they have programs for the members to attend and learn from such as: animal husbandry, ceramics, glass blowing, leatherwork, painting, woodworking, and blacksmithing.
- These programs provide a way to learn how to earn a dignified income, alternative economy. The community has a market and gift shop where they sell the wares of the members.
- Evan talks about his nonprofit background and how he worked for one in Afghanistan teaching English and helping with a Maternal and Infant Mortality program.
- He mentions his “Metal Mother” Dawn Raines (the Welding and Blacksmith director at Austin Community College) who taught him a lot at the beginning of his blacksmithing venture. Haley Woodward is another mentor he mentions who took him under his wing and helped a tremendous amount in building the community blacksmith program at Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
- Evan has now taken the reins of organizing the Austin Forging Competition that started in 2010. It used to be held at the Austin Forging Authority (Haley Woodward and Colby Brinkman’s Shop) and in 2015 Evan mentioned they should hold it at the community Works workshop.
- Mobile Loaves and Fishes community Works Program link – – https://mlf.org/community-works/
- Instagram: @mobileloaves_communityforge
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