Mary Jane’s fascination with metal began in a small fabrication shop on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state. There, she gained a solid foundation in a wide variety of metal working skills, from repairing an Oscar statue to building a concrete silo and outfitting fishing vessels.
Her interest in traditional blacksmithing flourished under the tutelage of Brian Brazeal while working at the Mission San Juan Capistrano for a year. Over the course of the next two decades, she lived in the west of Ireland, creating sculpture and functional pieces in the
Glen Forge. While there, she also joined Umha Aois, an annual symposium of bronze age enthusiasts whose work in experimental archeology has advanced knowledge in that field over the course of more than 20 years.
Alongside her career as an artist blacksmith, she’s also developed more administrative and analytical interests, holding positions as a real estate appraiser, human resources expert, property manager, chair of a non-profit artists’ co-operative and manager of a fine art gallery.
Working as Program Manager at Adam’s Forge fulfills her ambition to be of service in a creative and dynamic environment.
Amanda Kazarian, one of our most dedicated instructors, grew up in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. She attended the Art Institute of Orange County and graduated with a bachelor’s of science in interior design.
After graduation she assisted in set design and construction for AFI and USC student film and thesis projects and began working in entertainment. Prop fabrication and scenic art were skills she obtained while working for various theme parks, stage shows, and independent fabrication shops.
She began attending Adams Forge and attended courses there for several years. Simultaneously, she attended silversmithing and jewelry making classics at UCLA extension. It was during her time learning about metals that she developed a passion for working with it as a medium for her art and design.
Her knowledge of design, fabrication, and art are incorporated into her work. With nature and organic form, she hopes provide lasting inspiration to her clients through her pieces.
I started blacksmithing in 1995 while volunteering to restore the Santa Susanna Railroad Depot. They needed custom brackets for tool displays and I was able to forge them. I have also recreated historical items for Strathern Park, Reyes Adobe, and the Leonis Adobe Museum.
Now, I regularly demonstrate blacksmithing at the Chatsworth Historical Society and the Los Encinos State Historical Park. I also teach blacksmithing at the Stagecoach Inn Museum and the Adam Leventhal Memorial Blacksmithing School and Museum (Adam’s Forge). Teaching at Adam’s Forge since 2004, I created our interpretation of the California Blacksmith Association Level 1 and 2 programs and continue to teach the Level 2 classes. I also teach knife making and about a dozen other classes ranging from Skull Necklaces for Halloween to Horse Shoe Hearts for Valentine’s Day.
The excitement I see in the audience and students when I show and teach the art of blacksmithing is inspiring. To create art from red hot metal seems impossible, but once they see it can be done, they want to explore their ability and express their artistic nature.
I have been blacksmithing and metalworking since 1993, but found it difficult to improve my skills from books without a teacher. In 2012, I found Adam’s forge, and it was just what I needed. I was able to grow quickly, becoming an instructor at the forge a few years later.
I’ve brought some new classes to our programs, and enjoy continuing to learn and teach. It’s a pleasure to see the students take a piece of raw steel and shape it with fire and hammer into something beautiful, useful, or both.
Reymundo jose-maria de la luz torres torrez lopez. Aka, chema and noafraidofdog
Occupations-store clerk, meatcutter of 24 yrs, horseshoer of 14 yrs, law enforcement of 13 yrs, retired.
Hobbies-black powder horn maker, pre 1840 fur trade era, re-enactor, indian powwows, competion muzzleloader, scratch builder of muzzleloaders, gun & silver engraver, movie extra, leather carver, American indian bead work, corn husk dolls, blacksmith demenstrator at rendezvous, renaissance fair’s and medieval, trout fishing. Playing with a bull whip after i catch my trout limit.
Having been born into a family of welders and ironworkers, metal work has been a big part of my life since I was a child. I have had the good fortune to study Blacksmithing in Maine at the New England School of Metalwork and Haystack School of Crafts as well as studying refined whitesmithing techniques at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Along the way I have had the pleasure to learn from Notable smiths such as Douglas Wilson, Seth Gould, and Peter Ross. My interests and area of expertise are mainly in recreating and studying medieval period Japanese ironwork and 18th Century Colonial American ironwork with an approach centered on using historically accurate forging techniques.
I have worked in both Operations and Quality Management in various metalworking operations throughout my 40+ year career. I became interested in Blacksmithing back in college (my girlfriend, now wife Betsy was a trained farrier), but never had the opportunity to pursue it as a hobby until a few years ago.
After being so patiently taught by all the other great Instructors we have at Adam’s Forge I was happy to pay back their kindness when I was asked to become an Instructor. I especially enjoy the Discovery Class where most people are Smithing for the first time; seeing the hesitancy at first followed by the joy of completing the project never gets old.
As a degreed Metallurgical Engineer (Virginia Tech, Go Hokies), I understand the science involved in Blacksmithing processes, but I still have and always will have a childlike fascination with the magic of actually doing it.