Forging an axe, demonstration at Haliburton School of Art and Design.

Forging an axe, demonstration at Haliburton School of Art and Design.

I work as a blacksmith and craftsperson in the beautiful countryside of Lanark Highlands, in Ontario Canada, where I was born and raised. The area's natural beauty and history has been a source of inspiration in my work and life.

 Archaeology of my childhood.

Archaeology of my childhood.

I suppose that I would have to say that I forged my first “swords" as a child. Having hacksawed an old swingset apart to get pieces of steel tubing, I would then hammer the pieces into blades over a cinder block anvil using an old drywall hammer. I was moved to do so by stories of my Opa who had been a working blacksmith his entire life. These swords travelled with me on the heroic journeys of childhood to fight the beasts of my imagination.

It wasn't until 2003 that I would fire my first forge, a small charcoal fueled hearth, that I used to tinker in the back yard. Inspired by the creative genius of fellow swordsmith and Canadian, Jake Powning, and with a handful of instructions from the Internet, I took my first steps toward becoming a blacksmith. I was immediately hooked and it wasn't long before I was taking time off work to play around at the forge and wondering if there was some way I could do this on a full-time basis.

In 2004, I attended Haliburton School of the Arts, taking the Artist Blacksmith program. It was a good experience and I learned a great deal. I would eventually go on to become an instructor with the program. It was also there that I met Sandra Dunn and Steven White. Sandra was one of the instructors at the college and together her and Steve owned and operated Twosmiths. This is the forge where I would spend the next several years creating works of architectural and decorative nature. I will be forever grateful for the experience, and have much to thank Sandra and Steve for.

I have been working as a blacksmith since 2005 and as a swordsmith since 2010.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my page. If anything here catches your fancy, please feel free to drop me a line.

Cheers,

Jeff Helmes