Joy Fire

I might be an artist, whatever that means, and I know I can forge, weld, and teach other people to do those things. The act of forging is important to me on a personal level. Bringing something into objective reality is a philosophical act, and it serves to anchor my mind and body in the present. Forging is an example of a true human experience, and I have the immense privilege to have the time, space, and resources to engage in it. Through the act of forging, I have altered the nature of reality, and this is how I know I am alive.

As I was finishing a degree in studio art in 2011, I was extremely lucky to find and be able to apprentice at an architectural ironworks shop called Santa Barbara Forge and Iron. This I where I was introduced to forging as a technical and artistic process, and I worked there for several years as a production assistant. My boss, Dan Patterson, let me use the shop after hours to work on my own designs, and I focused on wood and metal furniture and other functional art.

In 2014 I moved to Orange County, and after a few years rented a space and started my shop Santa Ana, where I create commissioned pieces and develop my sculptures. I am a Certified Instructor with the California Blacksmith Association, a Certified Welder, a Community Education Instructor in blacksmithing and bronze casting, and a Welding Instructor at Orange Coast College.

During the highly physical forging process my body thinks and acts according to its own knowledge, which allows my mind to sink below the waters of consciousness. In this state my unconscious mind moves freely, imbuing the material with itself. Thus, the unconscious is made manifest physically, and is excavated and explicated through my work with the object. But on another level, I just make things. I really enjoy it and I’m very grateful that I get to do it.

  • Instagram

Photos by Keri Oberly