Mar 21, 2015
A few blacksmiths in the western part of the US have been
forming a tight knit group to push the boundaries and raise the bar
of each other’s techniques. WE had a quick on the spot
interview with them inside a cute little coffee shop called Mamma
Llama's Coffee shop.
Who is in the collaborative group?
How did this come about?
There have been several separate encounters contributing to the
growth of this group.
In 2009 Claudio Bottero was one of the demonstrators at the CBA
Spring Conference in Petaluma and his demonstration was so unique
that it raised the bar of blacksmithing techniques and the
connection to the metal for the people in attendance. At the time
this group of smiths didn’t know each other, but they were all
moved to “up their game”.
Following the Spring CBA conference was the Western States
Blacksmithing Conference where they have “Blacksmith Wars”.
This is where the group started to form.
In 2011 John McClellen (a blacksmith from Loomis, CA) had a very
large gate project that he needed expert help with so he recruited
Mark Aspery, Brett Moten, Dennis Dusek and John Beran. They
completed 500 1 inch square pass-through’s in 1 in bar, all in 2
weeks! This is definitely cemented the group.
What are they doing?
They are collaborating on a bench project where each of the
forged pieces will be made individually in their own shops.
It started with a design that was shared over the internet at first
and then prints were mailed to each blacksmith’s home. They
plan on completing the bench at the CBA Spring conference/ Western
States Conference in Hollister, CA. and then donating it to the
Jake Jackson Museum in Weaverville called
Why are they doing it?
This highly skilled, tight knit crew of blacksmiths really enjoy
working with each other and they all like to push the boundaries of
their blacksmithing skills.
What will you do with the finished piece?
The bench will be donated to the Jake Jackson Museum in
Weaverville, where the Weaverville Hammer-in is hosted