Much of my blacksmith education and training has been self taught with books and plenty of trial and error, but I have had the rare opportunity and great good fortune to work and live with several master blacksmiths in Europe.
While in Europe I lived with and worked with Paul Zimmermann and his two sons Heiner and Christian along with their family at their smithy "Atelier Zimmermann" in Plietzhausen Germany.
After leaving the Zimmermann's I traveled to Sweden to work with Berth Johansson and his daughter Therese at their smithy "Smedja Volund" while living with them and their family.
My time with these wonderful artists and their families was a wonder and special time for me that I shall cherish and remember always. They are one and all a part of my extended family.
I have also had the great chance to study with some fine American Blacksmiths as well.
Darryl Nelson, of Eatonville Washington was and continues to be an inspiration for me.
The following are some of the blacksmithing workshops that I have taken part in.
Darryl Nelson- animal head forging
Uri Hofi- from Israel -general blacksmithing
Jay Burnam-Kidwell - from Arizona- Furniture work
Bill Moran- Master bladesmith
Don Hastings- Master bladesmith
Jim Crowell - Master bladesmith
The artists that have influenced me besides those that I have been so fortunate to work with are legion, but here are a few that stand out for me.
Albert Paley ,Rochester New york . After seeing Albert's work in a book "hand made in america" I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. Paley studios produces some fantastic pieces.
Tom Joyce , Sante Fe New Mexico. Hard to say enough good about this fine craftsman and human being. His work is of the best that there is.
Simon Benetton of Treviso Italy, truly a visionary artist in my humble opinion.
Achim Kuhn - Berlin, Germany
Alfred Habbermann - Austria
Russell Jaqua - Port Townsend, Washington
Corky Storer - Washington State
All of the above have been interspersed with the running of my own blacksmith shop, Flashing Forge Metalkraft Studio.
My shop started in a small space in Texas in the late 1980's growing larger over the years .
In 1997 I moved the shop to the magnificent Pacific Northwest in Oakland Oregon where it is now.
My education in artist blacksmithing is an ongoing one that I shall partake of my whole life through.
"So much to learn so little time."
I would be greatly remiss if I did not mention those who have been so very valuable to me in this journey through space and time.
My mother who has helped so much through my whole life. My mom , what else can I say.
My Father who taught me how to work with my hands, such a precious gift.
Grayson Nance artist -blacksmith, my partner in the whole process of moving from Texas and setting up the shop here in oregon and getting things going on . This was no small task, daunting even for those strong of limb and stout of heart and soul.
There are others for sure , but these three stand proud in my heart .