Jay Polk serves as the Treasurer for Adam’s Forge and is an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he works on advanced rocket propulsion. He built his first forge when he was about 14 and taught himself a few blacksmithing skills (to make knives, of course). He rediscovered his interest in blacksmithing in 2010, and got properly educated in classes at Adam’s Forge. He continues to be fascinated by sharp, pointy things and the fact that if you get metal hot enough, it becomes plastic and can be formed into many cool shapes.
Leonidas Moustakas is the Vice President of the Board. He’s an enthusiastic amateur blacksmith and a formally trained astrophysicist with a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. He has held professional positions at Oxford University, at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he is currently a Scientist. After moving to Los Angeles in 2005, Leonidas discovered Adam’s Forge in 2007 and forged ahead with Mark Aspery’s Mastering the Fundamentals five-day course which cemented his passion for blacksmithing. Leonidas is committed to Adam’s Forge’s mission to engage and serve the community through the ancient art of blacksmithing. Leonidas has served on the Board since 2010.
My children are my greatest achievement: Amy, a composer, Adam, a sculptor, Max, a not-for-profit theater executive, and Seth, a lawyer. Despite Adam’s suicide at 42, I remain thrilled to have known him. Even after he was stricken by what turned out to be a fatal illness, he was a vital, funny, unexpected mensch.
As for what else I’ve done, I am a writer of novels – my most recent Among the Survivors–, short stories, plays, poems, essays, reviews, advertising, indeed everything but screenplays. I’m also a brilliant marrier, first to H. David Leventhal and after his death to Jon O. Newman.
Heather McLarty is a true “woman of steel,” and has become one of the most renowned, respected, and sought-after artist blacksmiths in the country. After training as a theater technician in college, Heather McLarty got interested in steel art, and hasn’t stopped creating since. Over the past nearly 30 years, she’s transformed industrial materials into soulful sculpture using fire, anvil and hammers, mind, body, and heart. Heather’s work is featured at public parks, national art exhibitions, fine homes, and at Occidental College.
Becky has been involved with blacksmithing at Adam’s Forge since 2013. Becky teaches classes, participates in demonstrations, and is on the Executive Board in the role of Secretary. She particularly likes teaching what she calls “choose your own adventure” type classes where she teaches techniques for a given project and students then have the choice to choose and/or develop their own designs. Her class line-up includes the ever popular Magic Wands and Egg Spoon classes. She also teaches basic blacksmithing tooling such as the Hot Cut Chisel class, and is always working on new class ideas!
Becky has long had a passion for traditional arts and blacksmithing in particular, and was introduced to the craft by her grandfather, who ran an antique shop specializing in early American wrought iron lighting fixtures and kitchen utensils. She likely has the largest collection of antique Betty lamps outside of a museum.
Becky has a dual BA in Economics and Asian Studies from Tulane University and a MA in International Economics/Japan Studies from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her professional career includes working at The Long Term Credit Bank of Japan and Merrill Lynch Securities, where she was Vice President of Credit Risk Management and was responsible for managing risk related to derivative trades with Japanese banks and securities companies. Becky lived in Japan for 10 years and has travelled extensively around Asia.
Becky is actively involved in her community. In addition to her work with Adam’s Forge, Becky volunteers as one of the resident summer blacksmiths in Yosemite National Park, serves on the Endowment Committee of Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village, and is a leader in her local Scouts BSA troop. Becky is actively involved in providing oversight to Adam’s Forge and is committed to ensuring the organization is stable, healthy and successful.