Mar 21, 2016
Guest Intro paragraph
Matt Jenkins is a
Winnipeg, Canada-based blacksmith and owner of Cloverdale Forge. He
got his start in blacksmithing by spending college summers at a
Canadian national park doing historical re-creations for tourists.
He later studied at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North
Carolina. He now works days as a mechanical engineer and nights and
weekends in his own shop. Last summer he took first place in
Drawing and Design and the World Forging Championship in Stia,
What We Talked About
- Matt followed in his father's footsteps by working summers at
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site as a blacksmith doing
historical re-creations for the public. He recalls some of the
funniest questions people asked him and the jokes his dad used to
play on the tourists.
- Matt received a degree in mechanical engineering, but also
studied at the John C. Campbell school in North Carolina, where he
still teaches one week every summer. This year his class will take
place in September.
- He works two full-time jobs. During the day, he's a mechanical
engineer for a custom metal manufacturer doing computer aided
drafting. On nights and weekends he's in his own shop, Cloverdale
Forge, on his family's farm. His shop is 400 square feet and he's
looking at doing an expansion soon.
- Matt teaches classes at Cloverdale and has 4 planned for this
summer doing basic beginner blacksmithing. He's tyring to build a
blacksmithing community and an appreciation for the art in a fairly
- Last summer Matt won 1st place at the World Forging
Championship in Stia, Italy in the Drawing and Design competition.
The contest theme was trash cans. His drawing can be seen at
- Matt's trip to Italy was part of a larger European trip he took
with two other blacksmith friends. They attended a conference in
the Czech Republic where Matt won the “longest spike competition”
in part of a Blacksmith Triathlon. They also visited Germany and
blacksmith friend Gosta Gablick. “It's fun traveling with other
blacksmiths because they look at the same weird things that I do,”
- Matt is also a part of an annual art event in Winnipeg called
“Nuit Blanche” where artists create and display their works
overnight. “We pull the forges into city square and build
something,” Matt says. “In our area, the only time you experience
blacksmithing is at a fur trading post, so to show people it's not
just repair of muskets and traps, I bring the art to them on that
- Matt uses many outlets to advertise and sell his products
including a business web site with a blog, Facebook, Instagram and
Etsy. The Etsy site works well for advertising and exposure, Matt
says, but doesn't bring in huge sales.
- If Matt could meet one blacksmith, dead or alive, he says he
would choose the “nameless guys” who've been doing it forever.
“Everyone says the artistic stuff, but the art comes from me. I
want to learn the skills.”
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – Adirondack
Folk School, www.adirondackfolkschool.org
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