Wednesday, November 16

Changing Seasons

Another fire season ended about a month ago and since then I've been in the process of moving from the woods to the city and finding a space to set up shop. After two years in rural Trout Lake, Washington, I decided to spend my off-season in Seattle focusing on broadening my skills and widening my customer base. 

It took less than a week to find a place to live and about a month to find a shop. I spent the majority of my first few weeks making contacts with Seattle blacksmiths (there are quite a few) and entertaining the ideas of sharing shop space or renting my own. Unfortunately, the price per square foot for warehouse space in Seattle is out of reach for a blacksmith with few contacts coming off of four months away from the forge. 

In the meantime, I had some orders to fill. So, I set up in the backyard trying to avoid the rain and fussy neighbors. I managed to crank out quite a few hooks in my urban, open-air forge. Knowing I couldn't spend the entire winter in the backyard, I continued to ask around. I found an established Seattle smith on Etsy and asked for pointers. She gave me a list of area blacksmiths with potential shop space. Most importantly, she told me about Pratt Fine Arts Center in central Seattle that rents shop space at reasonable daily and monthly rates.

After completing a studio tour and "test" to be sure I knew what I was doing, I paid for a month and walked into my new space. With three forges, about 10 anvils, drill presses, chop saws and a horizontal bandsaw (my new favorite piece of machinery) I couldn't ask for anything else. I share the space with other metalworkers, but we all stay flexible. Which has been the key to this whole move. Remaining flexible and staying positive while utilizing resources (area artists and on-line craft communities) will eventually get you to where you need to be.

So, the days of standing in the rain in the backyard trying to keep my metal hot are gone. I'll be plenty warm and dry this winter next to the forges at Pratt. 

Next time: Finishes - From beeswax to paint.

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