Episode #77 James Makely “A Design of WW1 Shovels”

James Makely is an artist blacksmith in Colorado, USA.  He works full time as an artist blacksmith with the award winning design company, Living Design Studios.

Figure 1 by James Makely St Regis Hotel Aspen James Makely Railing James Makely living design studios

What We Talked About

  • At 12 years old, James became interested in the blacksmith craft one year when he saw a blacksmith hammering on an anvil at a local fair.
  • He soon became active in the local Appalachian Blacksmith Association to learn and expand his skills.
  • The book “Country Blacksmithing” by Charles McRaven was a great resource for James, as well as “Professional Smithing” by Darryl Streeter.
  • To further his career as a blacksmith he applied for an apprenticeship with Dragon Forge in Colorado. Craig May introduced James to being a modern blacksmith by using modern blacksmith equipment, hydraulic presses, and power hammers.  He was an apprentice there for 5 years.
  • For the past 10 years, he has been the main artist blacksmith at Living Design Studios, Inc. They design and create large commercial commissions as well as private residential commissions.
  • James has been picked to be a master blacksmith at the Ypres 2016 International Blacksmith event. His panel design was one of the winning designs picked from the 104 designs submitted.
  • His panel design includes nine different examples of shovels from WW1. Each shovel has its own unique design based on the country of where it was made.
  • When asked how he came up with the idea of using shovels in his design, he said the simple utilitarian item played a big role each soldier’s lives during that time, in living, in surviving and in death. When looking at old pictures from WW1, you would almost always see a shovel in the picture.
  • While attending the event in Belgium, James will take a full-size drawing of the panel and possibly a small maquette to help with communicating the design to his assisting smiths.

Guest Links

Living Design Studios, Inc website – http://livingdesignstudios.com/

A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor ypres logo www.ypres2016.com

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