John Lee: The Kilted Blacksmith:
There is just something about working with metal. I have always loved working with my hands, taking raw materials, measuring, cutting and creating something. 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, but the life of a starving artist is tough.
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. My kitchen knives and herb choppers began their lives as farrier’s rasps, sawmill blades or new high carbon steel. Once the rasps and saw blades have outlived that purpose, they make great knife blade material. If you have any scrap metal lying around, let me know. It may be something I can use and we’ll keep it out of the landfill.
I occasionally volunteer at Dallas Heritage Village doing demonstrations with their master blacksmith Fred Christen and learning all I can from him. I have a booth most Saturdays at the White Rock Lake Farmers Market as well as at other arts and crafts shows in the area. The first weekend in December I am at the Randy Broadnax Christmas Show at the Sons of Herman Hall in Deep Ellum. Come on out and see me.