Episode #10 – Shawn Lovell – “Forged Tree Beds with a Japanese Power Hammer”

Shawn Lovell is a blacksmith and artist living and working in Alameda, California.  With a degree in graphic design from Arizona State University and a degree in sculpture from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland California, Shawn Lovell has combined the two worlds of elegant design and the art of blacksmithing. Starting out as a metal fabricator and artist assistant she eventually was drawn to blacksmithing and set out to learn everything she could about the age-old craft.

In 1997 she established her metalworking studio taking on one of kind commissions. A signature piece of hers is the “Tree Bed”, 4 trunks with spreading branches and leaves that hold a bird’s nest over the bed.  She made her first tree bed for a landlord 15 years ago and she recently finished her twenty second bed.

Tree.Bed_ (480x640) Trellis by Shawn Lovell (467x589) american-craft-cover-large

Shawn’s Links:

ShawnLovell Metalworks FaceBook page

Shawn Lovell’s SL Metalworks Website

AmericanCraft Magazine Article
What We Talked About
·How she started with blacksmithing, being an artist assistant at the California College of Arts.  This is where she learned how to fabricate with metal.

· She was drawn to blacksmithing through books, one of them was by Dona Z. Meilach called “Decorative and Sculpture Ironwork: Tools Techniques and Inspiration”.  Available at Amazon, http://amzn.to/1uZrYaJ .

· Her first visit to a California Blacksmiths Association event was in 2001 where she met Arnon Kartmazov (a Japanese knife maker who was demonstrating).  This ended up being a life changing event, eventually spending a week with him learning in his shop.

· Shawn’s first power hammer came from Arnon’s shop, a Japanese knife making power hammer that has dies that hit harder on one side.

· A visit to the Czech Republic and took a class with Alfred Habermann for a week.  Here is a video of Alfred Habermann (it’s in Czech) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKLSSnm-inA .

· She made her first Tree Bed in her first year of being in business, 1997.  Starting with a 3 inch diameter pipe, she uses the power hammer to taper down to 1.5 inches.  They became popular with the help of the internet.

· The Tree Beds take about 200 hours to make.

· Private commissions make up most of her business, most of it being architectural gates and railing.

· Pricing her work includes her detailed time logs, she uses a time management app called TDF Tracker, http://bit.ly/1FI1ClX  ($9.99).

· Design fee is an essential piece of the pricing process, she always charges a design fee.

· A down payment of 50% is taken in the beginning.  Shawn gives the customer a ball park price that includes a number that it will not exceed.

· A 1500 square foot shop with 2 power hammers, a platen table, welders, grinders, and fly press.

rail_ramos (467x390) bed_whitetree (467x403)

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