As a child I was always taking things apart around the house. A broken VCR meant a good day because I could pull apart all the plastic and metal covers and discover all the little working mechanisms inside. I tended to seek out new things to explore and let curiosity drive me.
When I got a little bit older, the same curiosity led me into some trouble, and I struggled for a good many years as an older teen and young adult to find my way, and to find a way in the "real world" to match my predispositions and constant need to explore with the physical and financial needs that every person has to find a way to meet.
After graduating from Western Washington University in 2010 with a liberal arts degree in Psychology, I immediately entered the workforce with no real intention of utilizing my chosen degree. I can recall angst-filled conversations from that time period, had while working for minimum wage at a thrift store in Seattle, in which I stated my desire to find a way to earn my keep in life by simply "making things for others. "
I had only a vague idea of a goal at the time, but I've spent nearly the last ten years working a variety of jobs that have allowed me to do just that. For several years I managed an artisan pizza restaurant in Spokane, Wa. There, I learned my appreciation for the daily ritual of a craft. Each day I would mix and form pizza dough, learning through repetition of the process and slowly learning the nuances of bread-making and the chemistry of water, flour, salt, and yeast. The other gift I received from my time in pizza was an incredible fondness for working with open flame.
I spent a few years in precision manufacturing making and inspecting aircraft parts for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and other aerospace companies. Here I learned how to read blueprints, the theory of metal-cutting, machine design, machine maintenance, and basic process engineering to create things more efficiently. My days during this time period were spent paying close attention to fine details, using all my senses to find and correct the smallest discrepancies between parts.
My time in manufacturing segued into working for a small science exhibit manufacturer in Spokane, WA, where my recently acquired manufacturing skills were developed further, and I learned how to do business with wholesale suppliers across a number of different industries. In that job I got over my fear of asking stupid questions, something that has served me well as I forayed more seriously into artistic metalworking and blacksmithing.
During all of these years, I spent much of my free time finding ways to tinker and play with ideas and concepts that I wasn't faced with in my work. A handful of projects that come to mind include a macro lens for a point & shoot camera made from junk lenses, two home-built 3d printers, a geodesic dome greenhouse, a hyper-efficient wood-burning stove, and an arduino-powered camera dolly. Just before moving out to Grays Harbor in 2017, I rebuilt (with plenty of help) the decrepit shed in my back yard and outfitted the space with a small homemade forge and anvil. I spent a few months hammering away in my backyard before the move and attended my first hammer-in event; after some earnest discussion with some supportive older working smiths I met there, I determined to make blacksmithing and artistic metalworking my profession.
With the move to Grays Harbor came an expansion to a larger shop. I spent an enormous amount of time and a few thousand dollars I had saved building out the shop the following year, and continued learning how to forge and weld with a torch from DJ Stull, a retired longtime blacksmith who spent many years in Winthrop, WA. I established a daily practice of working with metal and putting my energy into creating a workshop where I could bring ideas to life. In 2018 that effort began to pay dividends in the form of commissioned work from local businesses and residents, and Lone Tree Forge was born.
My aim with Lone Tree Forge is to provide our community with a wide variety of artistic and functional ornamental metalwork. I am constantly studying and experimenting to improve my methods and the quality of my finished work, and look forward to many years of serving this area with beautiful, long-lasting ironwork. Thank you for supporting local artists & craftspeople!