Sterling was a recipient of one of our monthly Monty to Burn mini grant drawings. Many thanks for sharing more of your story with us Sterling!
"I feel very privileged to have received a Money to Burn grant. The money, while not a lot, allowed me to offset some of the cost of a weekend class in mokume gane. That is a subject that you can only learn in a handful of places, nationwide. One of the biggest passions of my life is learning more about metalsmithing in general, and blacksmithing and bladesmithing in particular. Having also done damascus, forging 2 high carbon steel types into a homogeneous bar, I can certainly say that forging mokume gane is far more difficult. Heating the metal too long and one can end up with a puddle on the forge floor. I was fortunate in that I now have a mokume gane billet that can be used for future projects, a pommel or guard for a knife perhaps.
What I appreciate about SIBS as an organization is that is represents a community that supports others regardless of their race, gender, age, sexuality, or orientation. A huge challenge that I face is both age and race. I have never, ever, met another BIPOC or AAPI blacksmith, let alone one that is 62+. I contact individuals in other white male dominated metalsmithing/blacksmithing organizations and, in some cases, don't even get a reply. And I belong to some of them, in bladesmithing, there is no choice but the American Bladesmithing Society (ABS). While I have never met a member of SIBS, I appreciate the fact that they are trying to generate diversity in the field of blacksmithing. Blacksmithing and bladesmithing need that, desperately so. SIBS are a lot less focussed on the final product, more interested in inclusiveness."