Jake James

Team Forging Demonstration

Jake will be gathering 12 of the USA's finest young and not so young, contemporary smiths to produce a large sculptural work over the duration of the event. This team is going to rock your world!

The 12: Timothy Dale, Patrick Quinn, Matthew Christiano, Mackenzie Martin, Kyle Martin, Haely Woodward, Dennis Dusek, Daniel Widollf, Brett Moten, Ann Klicka, Andy Dohner, and Aaron Bushey


Jake James has over 15 years of blacksmithing experience, including classical training at Hereford College in England, an apprenticeship with master blacksmith Richard Bent, Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, and journeyman’s travels from Sri Lanka to the United States. He’s been running his own shop on Vancouver Island for 10 years producing commissioned work ranging from intricate sculpture, public art to large-scale architectural work.

Jake has built his shop and his work ethos around the ideal that the hearth and anvil are the very heart of everything he does. Each project is designed to showcase the elegant and expressive nature of hot forged steel. 

Below is some of his past work.

Listen to the BlacksmitHer Radio podcast with Jake






The ABANA Sculpture Project

  • Description

The sculpture shows the god Hephaestus tired from a lifetimes of work, stood over a damascus billet from which the form of a plough share is being forged.

The billet is going to be forged from material recovered that has an association with the military industrial machine, be they tank parts, shell, weapon etc. This part of the sculpture, important for the narrative of the piece, but highly repetitive time consuming to produce on site will be forged ahead of time and brought to the conference. The final sculpture will be life sized, at approximately 6' High x 3' Wide base.


Thoughts about the sculpture project piece from Jake James

This sculpture reflects the long and not always healthy history of our craft, but also its importance... a conversation I had with a native Alaskan jeweler I worked with reminded me, with my abiding love for iron that it is not a material viewed so graciously by all. Mired as it is in a history of conquest and bloodshed, especially here in the ‘new world’. The worn out stature of the god shows the weight of history on the shoulders of that craft, the plough share reflects the hard work it takes to begin to undo that association, and the necessity of that move.

Having been a blacksmith most of my adult life, making mostly objects for the wealthy, I have come to realize that the most satisfying job I have ever done was when I was working in a village smithy in Sri Lanka, at the start of my journeyman travels. There I made ox plough blades for the local farmers and watched them in use the next day... This brings me full circle to present this sculpture, of the great god of iron forging the most lowly agricultural object, and the message, hey, lets all try and get along a bit better.