John Lee: The Kilted Blacksmith:
I have always loved working with metal, taking raw materials, measuring, cutting, shaping and creating something from, basically, nothing. My life as a metal artist began with a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico some 30 years ago. I made a friendly wager with my companion that I could make a candle holder as good as the one we saw in a boutique, but couldn’t really afford. Returning home I set about teaching myself metalsmithing from books and trial and error. I won the bet and she purchased some additional tools for me that Christmas. (Thanks Kym)
I continued to learn as much as I could from the silversmithing books available at the time. (We didn’t have Youtube tutorials back then.) Feeling like I was ready, I struck out on my own and had a small silversmithing business for a while selling to several Dallas boutiques, but the life of a starving artist is tough and I found that working for myself wasn’t paying the bills.
I rejoined the workforce and I spent the next 28 years in a rewarding career in public safety working as a police officer, firefighter and a paramedic. I retired in 2017 with the rank of lieutenant. Now I spend my days learning everything I can about blacksmithing, silversmithing, raising bowls from flat sheets, hand engraving and enameling. I make practical, fun, and whimsical items that please my eye and I hope will please yours as well.
My favorite thing is exploring the possibilities of taking a worn out or otherwise discarded metal items and forging them into something new and useful. Some of my kitchen knives and herb choppers began their lives as farrier’s rasps or retired sawmill blades. Others are made from new knife steel or pattern welded “Damascus” steel that I make myself.
I am also the resident blacksmith at Dallas Heritage Village doing demonstrations and teaching blacksmithing classes. If you haven’t been, you really need to check it out. It is a hidden gem in the shadow of downtown Dallas in the Cedars neighborhood.
2022 Show Schedule:
I will be at the White Rock Lake Farmers Market the first Saturday of the month from April to September. We will be at a temporary location on Oldgate Dr about four blocks from the normal Garland Rd. location.
October 1st, I will be at Oddfest in Waxahachie
November 5th, Back at WhiteRock Lake
December 3rd and 4th I will be at Leslie’s Backyard Show at the Armadillo Ale Works in Denton
I will end the year December 17th at the White Rock Lake Christmas Market
I hope to see you all there.
If you need anything reach out to me through the Contact me tab above or Instagram DM.