“My introduction to the craft of the blacksmith started in 1988 with the serendipitous event of walking into a small blacksmith gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was instantly enthralled by the hand-forged iron. I called the smith, Stephen Stokes, and was invited to come to his shop the next day. After a brief tour of the shop, Stephen put me in front of an anvil and taught me how to forge a chisel and center punch. After the heat treatment, he told me ‘You're now free, because never again will you be beholden to any man for your tools.’ During the noon meal, I was shown books with the work of Robert Bakewell (famous English blacksmith) and the Davies brothers (famous Welsh blacksmiths). By the end of the day, I realized I had met my calling, I would be a blacksmith from then on.
“I have craved and pursued learning the skill of the blacksmith from that time on. After our first meeting, I spent every free weekend working in Stephen’s shop. I say ‘free’ as I was in the middle of a career in the Army. But once I retired from the Army, I returned to Stephen's shop and began to work for him. I spent about three and half years there, then went to Britain to spend a few months in Stephen's father's shop (now run by his brother). After returning to the US, I opened my own studio, Wayfarer Forge. I've continued my learning by working for other smiths in the area and by taking at least one class every year. For the last nine years I've been training under the guidance of Mark Aspery. I consider myself a tool maker first and an artist second.”
Studio number 23