The Austin Forging Competition with The Battle Belles

The Austin Forging Competition, held each year at Community First! Village, is an exhilarating clash of some of the most talented blacksmiths in the country.

The battle of the metal workers rages 3 hours, and contestants are only permitted to use unpowered hand tools. The pounding of hammers ring on hot metal as flames blaze from each corner of the square arena, deep in the rolling woods of central Texas. Only a 4 foot barrier of wooden beams and corrugated metal separate the competitors from spectators. Children and grownups alike, stare wide-eyed from the sidelines as age-old techniques are used to bend metal to each artist’s will.

Throughout the events of the day, I followed the Battle Belles around.

Blacksmith Competition / Crafted in Carhartt

The Battle Belles:
Blacksmiths Elizabeth and Anne Team Up in Austin Forging Competition

The two meet in a class at Penland School of Craft in 2007. Since then, they’ve followed each others’ careers–enjoying their friend’s success from afar. When Anne was invited to participate in the forging competition, she knew Elizabeth would be the perfect partner.

Elizabeth’s Background:

I got into blacksmithing at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. I originally signed up for an 8 week woodworking class and hated it! But as luck would have it, there was an iron studio right next door calling my name. 

Metal work is my full-time job. I just finished with a two year blacksmithing apprenticeship at the Metal Museum in Memphis. I am now in what some people would call journeyman mode. I travel around working on metalwork in different places and learning from different people. I have equipment in storage, waiting for the right time to land and setup a forever shop.” –Elizabeth Belz

Blacksmith Competition / Crafted in Carhartt

Elizabeth worked in healthcare for 13 years before she dedicated her life to metalwork. Currently, she’s working at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Elizabeth assists with their marketing and development departments. She’ll be helping pilot new classes with them this fall. You can browse Elizabeth’s work on her website.

Anne’s Background:

I discovered blacksmithing while I was a student at Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland. I was in the Metals Department, which specialized in jewelry, holloware, and small sculpture.

I had no idea that blacksmithing was something that people did, let alone that it has an amazing contemporary community producing incredible sculpture and architectural work. The summer between my 2nd and 3rd year, I received scholarships to attend Haystack Mountain School of Craft and Penland School of Craft.

I fell utterly in love with the process.” –Anne Bujold

Anne received her MFA in the Craft and Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University so she could teach at a college level and perfect her skills. She recently completed a two year residency at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, TN, and is currently working on a collaborative project through the end of the year. You can browse her work on her website.

Elizabeth has competed in several different events. Each time has given her greater confidence and taught her new skills you an only learn in the arena.

“It’s not all about showing off and winning. It’s about showing up, hanging out, exchanging ideas, being inspired—showing the public what can be done with metal work.” –Elizabeth Belz

This was Anne’s first time competing. The nervousness weighed on her as she stepped in the ring, but she instantly felt reassured as the process began. The crowd of onlookers faded from thought as her work intensified.

It was really amazing to drop into being focused with so much going on around us.

That’s the beauty of blacksmithing. When you have a piece of hot metal in the forge, that’s the only thing that matters in that moment. If you fail to keep your attention focused, it can burn up in no time, and you only have a short window to work it when you bring it out of the fire.

It’s very much a practice of being in the present moment.” –Anne Bujold

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about blacksmithing and fabricating in general is that it’s for big, strong men. I mean look at me! If I can do this, anyone can if they have the desire!” –Elizabeth Belz

“It’s hard work, and it’s dirty, but anyone who is passionate about this work is capable of doing it.” –Anne Bujold

The duo decided to construct a Bat Bell for their entry. As the only female team, Anne and Elizabeth joked that they would be the “belles of the ball,” hence the name Battle Belles. What else would they craft but handmade bell?

The bat nods to the location of the competition. Austin is famous for the Mexican free-tailed bat colony that lives under the South Congress Bridge. All throughout summer, crowds gather along the river hoping to catch a glimpse of the tiny winged mammals. It’s quite the sight to see one of the world’s largest bat colonies in flight, silhouetted against the brilliant hues of a Texan dusk.

“I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at a really young age. I think I was in my 20’s, and now I am 33 years old. I am currently waiting on an official diagnosis of Lupus. It’s not something I run around telling everyone, but it’s something I wake up with every day.

Sometimes it takes me a little longer than it should to get out of bed, but blacksmithing and metal work are what get me going every day. It sucks to be in pain all the time, but when you are heating metal up to 2000 degrees and hitting it with a sledge hammer—who has time to worry about the pain? It is really just you, fire, and that metal.” –Elizabeth Belz

There is a lack of diversity in the field, and that’s something that needs to be actively addressed.

I am part of a project called the Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths. We started with a group project in 2018 and have been working towards building a community that can support, encourage, and inspire folks who want to pursue this work—because this work is for anyone who wants to do it.

We are developing a scholarship project, to provide direct support to underrepresented folks to take classes, as well as a mentorship project. Both will be launching before the end of the year.

It can be really hard to step into something when you don’t see yourself represented in that world, whether that’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical limitations. Building a network of support for those who encounter systemic barriers to pursuing their ambitions is important.

Blacksmithing will only benefit from having a more diverse pool of practitioners, bringing new perspectives to the craft.” –Anne Bujold

Both Elizabeth and Anne are involved in the Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths, doing their best to make the world of metal more inclusive.

“The community around smithing is one of my favorite parts. That really shines at an event like the AFC. The people who pursue this craft are some of the smartest, most driven, interesting people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with. I feel so lucky to call these folks my friends.

Then of course there’s the making itself, which is incredibly gratifying. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do, but seeing my work improve over time is really satisfying.” –Anne Bujold

Blacksmith Competition / Crafted in Carhartt

The Battle Belles add the finishing touches to their handcrafted Bat Bell.

The Battle Belles may not have won the competition that day, but they had fun and pushed themselves to greater heights in their careers. It was encouraging to see their friendship translate into the world of hot metal and creativity.

The community of metalworkers is constantly growing. If you’re interested, check out the Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths. There is a place for you to learn and flourish.

Dirty hands: proof of a job well done

The Women of City & Guilds of London Art School

City & Guilds of London Art School was founded in 1854. This specialized art college, in the middle of England’s capital city, offers a wide range of courses. Currently, it’s the only school in Britain that offers undergrad and postgrad degrees in historic carving. Today, we’ll introduce you to a few of their talented ornamental woodcarvers and architectural stone carvers.

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
City & Guilds is located in London’s Kennington district along the river Thames. A row of Georgian buildings and a large warehouse have been converted into classrooms and learning facilities.

“The school is a small independent Art school in South London. It is the only place in the UK which teaches carving to a degree level. The school is very unique – we are taught in a very traditional way – something that is very rare in the contemporary art world. The course emphasizes that to become a skilled carver there are many supporting disciplines to be mastered: Drawing, Clay Modeling, and Art Histories classes are a must. We also learn the Art of Lettering – drawing out letter forms ready to carve is a whole world in itself. The classes at the school are very small, making the whole school a really tight knit community.” -Student and Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
Woodcarver Silje Loa

Over the past 3 years, Silje Loa has been studying woodcarving at City & Guilds. When she graduates, Silje will have a degree in ornamental woodcarving and gilding.

Her journey toward woodcarving has been a pilgrimage of her own making. To outsiders, some of her steps may seem random, but each change in course laid a foundation to her current career. Her understanding has deepened and her eye has matured.

  • It all started after high school, when Silje set sail on a tall ship. Everyday was a lesson in the maintenance of wood along with other practical and invaluable skills.
  • She then went on to study Prehistoric Archaeology. Her classes revolved around crafts, skills, and history.
  • Those studies led her pursue a degree in the conservation of pictorial art at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
  • Once she earned her degree, she realized that she wanted to learn a craft and create great works of her own, leading her to City & Guilds of London.

“All of my experience outside of carving seem relevant and inspiring to me in my work… I love working in wood. There is such a huge variation of softness, grain, use and look in different types of wood and thereby a lot to be learned and explored. I learn better practically than academically, and the physicality of carving appealed to me. I love getting consumed by a project and feeling like I’m in a state of flow.” -Woodcarver Silje Loa

Although Silje is still in school at City & Guilds, that isn’t slowing her down. She’s won several sought after commissions. She was chosen to design and carve a grotesque (similar to a gargoyle) that will soon be fixed to St. George Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The piece Silje is working on in these photographs also has a great backstory:

“I won a commission to design and carve the coat of arms for last year’s Prime Warden for the Fishmongers Company in London. The commission was particularly exciting because the prime warden was Princess Anne, the first female Prime Warden the company has ever had. The coat of arms is now at display at the Fishmongers Hall.” -Woodcarver Silje Loa

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in CarharttSilje’s advice to anyone considering trying their hand at the wooden arts:

“If you want to become a carver, get carving. Looking at carvings at museums and in historical buildings is amazing inspiration and can even give you an understanding of how they were made, but really just find a piece of wood, a chisel and begin.” -Woodcarver Silje Loa

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
Silje’s process: the clay model, a process shot of the wood carving, the finished carving before the painting and gilding, and the finished coat of arms

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

Miriam Johnson began her career as a stonemason five years ago. Through the apprenticeship program with the Prince’s Foundation, she was able to travel across the UK working on historic buildings. To continue her training, Miriam enrolled at Bath College. There she learned masonry skills in the classroom and in the real world in a stone masonry company. That experience made her realize she wanted to specialize within the industry on the more artistic and creative side, carving. Bringing her to City & Guilds. In June, Miriam will graduate with a Historic Carving Diploma in Architectural Stone Carving.

In these photographs, Miriam is working on a beautiful piece inspired by her grandfather’s work depicting a centaur fighting a dragon.

“My Grandfather was not a stone carver, as far as I know this was the only thing he ever carved. He would tell us how he’d carved it for my grandmother (75 years ago) with nothing but a sharpened screwdriver.

As a child, I had heard this story so many times that it was a normal thing to me, nothing special. I didn’t think twice about it. Looking back now, the fact that my grandfather was not a sculptor – this carving is really impressive. On top of this, it is very likely that he carved this piece during the Second World War, whilst he was fighting against the Nazi’s in the French resistance.

Looking at it made me realize to myself how this piece and my grandfather must have subconsciously greatly influenced my career choice.” -Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

After Miriam’s grandfather returned home from war, he furthered his architectural work by training as a historian. He specialized in the medieval construction of cathedrals, and even wrote several books on the subject.

“Stone masonry in this day and age is a rare trade. It cannot be a coincidence that a grandchild of this man became one. Sadly, by the time I was in the trade, my
 grandfather had dementia and I do not think he ever really realized my occupation.” -Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

To honor her grandfather, Miriam decided to carve her own version of a centaur fighting a dragon. She made a few changes to his original design to make it her own. Miriam’s version is twice as big, chiseled out of black stone (to contrast the white), circular in shape (to symbolize a familial continuity), with a female centaur.

Miriam had always interpreted her grandfather’s version as a representation of himself, fighting the good fight. It was only fitting that her adaptation should represent herself, a woman, also fighting the good fight.

“I believe that children, both boys and girls, should have strong female role models, which is what I hope I am creating in my work.” -Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

“Creating something so permanent in the world is such a satisfying thing to do, and to have the chance, as I often do, to work on historic buildings is such an honour. Things that I have made with my hands will live on long past me. To be part of a trade that is so old, using methods that have not changed that much in hundreds of years is something that is wonderful. I also feel really lucky to have a job that could take me anywhere in the world, there is so much to explore!

It isn’t all rosy though. I can often work in pretty harsh environments, using an angle grinder all day, having to wear masks, goggles, gloves etc. Often I work outside, I’ve worked in snow, and sleet, and rain. Working in awkward places high up on scaffolding, lifting heavy loads, and working long hours.” -Stone Carver Miriam JohnsonThe Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
Woodcarver Zeinab Harding

Growing up in London, Zeinab was exposed to woodcarving before she ever knew it was a skill she could learn. Beautiful ornate buildings with intricate decoration are common in such a historic city.

Zeinab is currently studying Historical Woodcarving and Gilding. Her interest in wood followed her study of textile design.

Through her studies, she felt the need for greater sustainability. In an effort to combat consumerism, Zeinab researched mediums that had longer lifespans than textiles. She learned that woodcarvings can last twice as long as you or me. Eventually that led her to City and Guilds, happily in her own hometown.

That doesn’t mean she’s stayed put. Zeinab has traveled all over, using crafts as her universal form of communication. She’s taught weaving and block printing to small villages in Samoa and Indonesia. She’s facilitated art workshops in the Amazon. And she spent a summer in Rome, studying floral symbolism in Augustan art.

That time in Italy inspired the piece she’s working on in these photos. Zeinab carved this beautiful panel of lime wood in the style of the Ara Pacis, a Roman altar from 13 BC.

Zeinab hopes to raise awareness of woodcarving to support the continuation of the craft. She plans to show her carvings in contemporary spaces in an effort to revive the traditional skill as an art form and an important tool in conservation.

“Learning a traditional skill is a continual learning process. The more mistakes you make the more you will learn!” -Woodcarver Zeinab Harding

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
a detailed look at Zeinab’s finished carving

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in CarharttThe Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt

Stone Carver Sue Aperghis

For 30 years Sue worked as a graphic designer, creating packaging and branding.

“In my career when I first started, I tried to hide the fact I was dyslexic but I came to realize (and I would suggest it to others) that you should embrace the things that you find most challenging, and work hard and smart to get round your difficulties. Maybe try a different angle on how to learn. The most successful things I’ve done in art is when I confront my Demons the most.” -Stone Carver Sue Aperghis

Despite her struggle with dyslexia, typography has always been one of Sue’s main interests. That led her to Letter Cutting in stone, a skill she’s learned over the last 3 years at City and Guilds. She’ll graduate this June.

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in CarharttThe Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt

In these photos, Sue is working on a sculpture of a soldier, inspired by the works of Charles Sergeant Jagger on the Royal Artillery Memorial in Hyde Park Corner. For two months, she molded a clay model to use for measurements once she started cutting into stone. The carving took about 6 months, and it was well worth the time and effort.

“I’m fascinated in the human form and obstruction of the figure and drapery to tell a story.” -Stone Carver Sue Aperghis

What a beautiful story of triumph! Confronting her dyslexia and pursuing her passion for typography led Sue to a whole new career. Now she’s picking up the mantel, continuing the traditional craft of stone carvers, with her own insights and vision.

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt
a detailed look at Sue’s finished soldier sculpture and a piece inspired by her battle with dyslexia

The Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in CarharttThe Women of City and Guilds of London Art School / Crafted in Carhartt

Click here to find out more about City & Guilds of London Art School.

Hive Five For All The Dads!

Helena and Matthew Sylvester have been partners long before they were ever married. As Helena’s interest in growing food developed, Matthew encouraged her–from growing plants on their patio in Oakland to leasing a farm of their own in Sunol, California.

“It was my goal, but it was a group effort. Matt was there supporting me every step of the way…While the years have aged me, the giddiness and drive are still there – as is Farmer Matt’s unwavering support (he’s now full time on the farm, going on his 5th year) – it’s amazing what you can do when you believe in yourself, but it hella helps when you have others who believe in you too.” -Helena of Happy Acre Farm

Helena and Matthew are now partners in marriage, on the farm, and in raising their son, August. Mornings at Happy Acre start early and evenings stretch out as long as possible. We all know that farmers are some of the hardest working people, particularly when you have to teach yourself everything from scratch. The daily routine is met with flexibility and a support system of their own making.

“I’d never met someone who wakes up in a good mood every day, before you. Sometimes it drives me crazy (I need coffee first, sometimes two cups) but really, I admire it. You carry that positivity with you through everything you do. We’re definitely not taking the easy road through life, our route is filled with bumps, challenges, and sometimes a change of directions – but damn than obnoxiously positive attitude of yours keeps us on track, and it’s helped bring us here.”  -Helena to Matthew of Happy Acre Farm

fathersDAYcic15This is Matthew’s second Father’s Day. Both Helena and August are so grateful to have his love and encouragement.

“As hard and stressful as some days (or weeks or seasons even) of farming can be, I am hella lucky. Lucky to be able to do what I want for a living, instead of what I need to do to get by. And lucky I get to spend so much time with my main dudes.” -Helena of Happy Acre Farm

Happy Acre Farm Family / Crafted in CarharttHappy Acre Farm Family / Crafted in CarharttHappy Acre Farm Family / Crafted in CarharttFather's Day at Happy Acre Farm / Crafted in Carhartt

Don’t forget to tell all the father figures in your life how grateful you are for them.

Happy Small Business Saturday

To celebrate Small Business Saturday, we’ll be introducing you to several small businesses and the women who make them run.

Seattle Urban Farm Co.

Meet the women of Seattle Urban Farm Company. Their knowledgeable team can plan, build, and maintain the urban farm you always wanted but never thought you could personally manage—perfect for those of us who may not have a green thumb, but love the idea of homegrown tomatoes.

Hilary Dahl is co-owner and host of the Encyclopedia Botanica podcast. The podcasts are quick lessons in farming. Follow @seattleurbanfarmco to check out her tips and advice. The all female maintenance team includes Sarah Bolton and Emily Barry. Together, they care for over 60 urban vegetable gardens across the city. Daily tasks include planting the crops, keeping an eye on the soil, fertility, irrigation, pest management, pruning, weeding, and harvesting.

“Engaging with local businesses often takes more effort from the consumer, but I think it’s worth it. Buying local provides an opportunity for genuine human interaction, better quality products, and more interesting stories. The success of a small business often depends on word-of-mouth. Anytime you vouch for a local company, you are doing somebody a huge favor and I thank you on behalf of small business owners everywhere. Just get out there and rep the businesses you love.” -Hilary Dahl

Kubich Lumber Yard

Meet Bobbie Rowe. She’s been a nurse for two years, but she’s always played a big role at her family’s lumber mill. Her main gig is driving the water truck, and when it gets busy, it’s all hands on deck. Then you can find her throwing strips or controlling the multi-head resaw she built with her dad as a child.

The mill has been in operation for over 70 years. It sits deep in the woods of Grass Valley, a small Californian town that was the epicenter of the Gold Rush in the 1800s. With a population of just under 13,000, the city is closely knit together by a strong sense of community and tradition.

If you’re in the area and in need of some fresh milled timber, give Bobbie a call. They have a wide variety of products, ranging from sugar pine flooring to cedar siding. You can also visit their website:

“People are especially shocked to find out I’m a nurse when I jump out of the water truck. I remember dad laughing really hard one day after I drove the truck when I first became a nurse. He told me a couple customers had just commented on how cool it was that he hired a woman truck driver and he replied ‘That’s actually my daughter, and can you believe she is giving up truck driving to be a nurse at Stanford? She must be crazy.’ The truth is I really would be crazy to completely walk away from the mill.” -Bobbie Rowe

Glass Artist Ona Magaro

One Magaro has been working with glass for 30 years. The shear heat and intensity of the craft most attracted her during summer camp. Years down the road, she earned her BFA from Alfred University and MFA from Bowling Green. Blowing glass requires immense physical strength, particularly when fabricating on the scale of some of Ona’s larger pieces. However, Ona considers her willingness and eagerness to evolve her approach to her work her greatest capability.

Though Thanksgiving has come and gone, hopefully the spirit of gratitude remains. Ona met her mentor in school, but he continues making an impact in her life to this day.

“My sculpture professor in undergrad at Alfred University, Glenn Zwygert, showed me that I needed to be fully committed and devoted to my passion. Glenn and I use to butt heads on a lot of topics, but through the years I realized that those interactions made me open up to being able to SEE. He is still mentoring me everyday, by his own pursuits and ambition to constantly be creating.” –@onamagaro

To see more of Ona’s work, visit her website:

Amaltheia Dairy Farm

Amaltheia Dairy Farm in Montana is a family run operation. Sue and Melvyn Brown broke ground on their very own Grade A goat farm Thanksgiving Day in 2000. After building their own cheese facility, they developed exceptional products with the highest standards for purity and flavor. Amaltheia offers 17 different products and the Browns are able to produce 2,000 pounds of goat cheese a week.

Sue and Melvyn’s children are a big part of the business as well. Their son Nate and his girlfriend Karen play a big role in caring for the vegetables and animals along with property maintenance. Their daughter Sarah oversees operations at the cheese plant, though you can often find her fixing fences and feeding animals.

“To be raised in a barn is the most fulfilling childhood I could possibly imagine. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work; but you develop a close-knit relationship with animals and nature. And my parents’ ideals of organic, home grown food for their children has definitely been instilled in my brother and myself. We are blessed to be able to continue to develop and hone-in our farming and cheese making skills into the future. My brother and I hope to take the reigns and continue to provide our community with farm-fresh, organic products.” -Sarah Brown of @amaltheiadairy

You can order a fresh batch of Amaltheia cheese for yourself at

Ceramic Artist Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley is a ceramicist, an art educator, and a craft curator. She teaches at The Art Shack in Brooklyn. This women-owned non-profit ceramic studio offers classes to both offer classes to children and adults. If you’re interested in learning more about hand building, wheel throwing, glazing, plaster mold making or slipcasting—head on over to @artshackbrooklyn for more info.

When Alayna’s not working at The Art Shack, she’s a studio assistant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her education is impressive and extensive. She’s studied at Oberlin College, Germantown Academy, Penland School of Crafts, and Harvard University to name only a few. Follow her instagram, to take a closer look at her work.

Behind the Scenes of Carhartt’s Latest Commercial

This Labor Day, Carhartt is celebrating with professional football player and devoted chicken farmer, Von Miller. The Carhartt team and the Pride of Gypsies crew created a few short videos to thank the hard working folks in America. Take a peak into the making of these funny tributes to those who all too often go unthanked.Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttGlassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttGlassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttGlassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttVon thanks port-a-jon maintenance people, farmers, cowboys, ranchers, groundskeepers, garbage men and women, teachers, truck drivers, parents, and the US Military.

Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttTalented photographer, Victoria Will, was there to make tin types of the cast and crew. Flip through a few of Von’s close ups here.Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in Carhartt

Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in Carhartt

Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in Carhartt

Von Miller with his parents on the set of a Carhartt commercial
Von Miller on set with his mom, Gloria, and dad, Von

“I’ve had asthma my whole life. My mom used to hook the generator up to the Suburban and roll the extension cord all the way down to the football field and have my nebulizer hooked up to that so I could take treatments in between offense and defense. I was in the fifth grade when she started doing that.” -Von Miller

Jason Momoa founded Pride of Gypsies in 2010, and has produced several Carhartt films.

Actor and Producer Jason Momoa with his mom, Coni Momoa

“I was raised by a strong single mother. My mom’s an artist in every way. She’s a painter, a photographer. She’s a wanderer, always searching, always seeing. I guess you could say my mom gave me her eyes.” -Momoa

Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in Carhartt
Glass Artist, Sibelley Yuksek, setting up for a glassblowing scene.

Sibelley on set with Von.Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttSibelley Yuksek has been working with glass for 7 years. Her path towards her career stemmed from school requirements pushing her to explore other artistic venues.

“I was working on finishing my first BFA in Illustration, when my department required us to take an art course outside of our focus, so I picked an Intro to Glass Casting course. I didn’t anticipate that glass would be such a seductive material. I needed to learn more about it, so I decided to make it my second major.” -Glass Artist Sibelley Yuksek

She’s focused on many aspects of the art, from sculptural glass casting to flameworking. Currently, Sibelley does production flameworking for Neptune Glassworks and works on personal pieces in the same studio under Sibelley.

“I love how unique the material is. Theres nothing quite like it. Glass is hard, non porous, liquid, soft, hot, cold, brittle, transparent, opaque, heavy and light. It’s everything and anything you want it to be. It has a mind of it’s own, You must learn how to move with it, it’s a dance. It take patience and determination to keep up with it. I love the challenge.
It takes years of practice in order learn the language of glass. It can be very frustrating even years later when your muscles can’t make the glass do what you want.” -Sibelley

Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttHindsight has taught Sibelley to be confident in her skills. The knowledge that can only come after years of dedication to the craft gives her the ability to deal with cracked glass. Patience and resilience are key tools in any glass artists’ arsenal.

“I wish people knew just how intricate the process is. There are so many variables to consider when creating a piece. You must keep the glass warm or else it cracks, you must always keep the hot glass turning to avoid gravity from pulling it down, you need to know what type of flame to use and where to use it when manipulating a part, you need to learn how each color reacts to what type of heat, how to keep an object on center and then knowing when to let it be off center, etc, etc.” -Sibelley

I’ll leave you with the words Sibelley would tell her younger self if she were given the chance, “Hey you! Stop acting timid, step up to the plate and show this glass what you’re worth!”Glassblower Sibelle Yuksek / Crafted in CarharttFollow Sibelley on instagram to see her work and process.

Barbie Thompson Lee of Lucky Dog Ranch

Barbie Thompson Lee left the advertising world to become a farmer in Valley Center, just outside of San Diego. She invested many years developing her own company, but felt it was time for something new. So she went out in search of the perfect plot of land to begin her new adventure—where she’d have to start from scratch, and self-teach her way to success.

“I think some people have a picture of a small farm as an idyllic place that’s kind of laid back and simple. The reality here is that there are always so many things that need to be done and sometimes it feels more like warfare than a laid back place. It’s a constant battle to keep on top of the various bugs that are out to eat your plants, the birds, squirrels and gophers who are found of eating them too, the broken or chewed through irrigation lines. You can’t ever let your guard down.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Lucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

Tomatoes are Barbie’s favorite crop.

“I start the seeds in the greenhouse in February then plant when we think it’s safe from frost. Most of the plants go through September or October if we’re lucky so it’s a long time you spend with them. There are so many different varieties that it’s really fun planning out what you are going to grow and adding new varieties to your favorite producers.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Although Lucky Dog Ranch is named for Barbie’s pack of happy dogs, she also has quite a few other four-legged friends. There’s Tigger and Tom, a set of barn cat brothers, and horses Buddy and Joanie.

“There really isn’t one Lucky Dog. We really liked seeing how happy our dogs were when we moved out here. They had so much room to play and just be themselves that the name just came about.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

Lucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in CarharttLucky Dog Ranch / Crafted in Carhartt

I asked Barbie what skills from her previous career translated into her new lifestyle. It turns out having a sense of humor has been crucial in her journey.

“Farming can be really humbling and your plants don’t care how important you think you are or what promises you’ve made on their behalf. They are just going to do what they are going do. You can’t take yourself to seriously. They are really the ones in charge. You just need to do what you can to support them…Never give up! It’s a very rewarding lifestyle. You’ll learn a lot about yourself as well as how to bring a crop to market.” -Farmer Barbie Thompson Lee

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Blue Wolf Studios in Tahoe

Amanda Dabel is co-owner of Blue Wold Studios in Kings Beach, California. This sweet little shop of locally crafted wares also has a backroom that serves as a fully functioning ceramic studio. It’s located right on the edge of Lake Tahoe. Stop in for goods handmade by Amanda and over 40 other artists in the area.

Blue Wolf Studios / Crafted in Carhartt

“The best part of owning a business is you get back what you put in, meeting local talented artists, and sense of accomplishment. The hardest part is never actually leaving. There’s always two million things to do.” -Amanda Dabel

Blue Wolf Studios / Crafted in Carhartt
“I fell in love with the ability to mold clay into anything you can think of. It’s so versatile.” -Amanda Dabel

Meet Belinda Quene. She also works at Blue Wolf Studios. Belinda has been in ceramics for 10 years. She was immediately drawn to how grounded she felt while making.

“It is so relaxing to throw on the wheel…Getting immersed into a project and losing track of time.” -Belinda Quene

After two years of serving their community, Blue Wolf Studios recently received the honor of 2017 Best New Business by North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce.

“There will be a lot of long late stressful nights, push through, it’s worth it.” – Co-Owner Amanda Dabel

Blue Wolf Studios / Crafted in CarharttBlue Wolf Studios / Crafted in CarharttBlue Wolf Studios / Crafted in Carhartt

Welder Liisa Pine

Meet Welder Liisa Pine. She took her first welding class in 1991, thinking it would be a check off her bucket list. Instead, she found her path.

“The most common misconception people have about my work is that it doesn’t provide challenge or a rewarding career path for intelligent people. The welding field is huge, more like a tree than a ladder. It includes not only hands-on welders, but welding engineers, equipment salespeople, contractors, artisans. I use my university degree every day, whether I am building something, discussing metallurgy, or writing a grant.”-Liisa Pine

Welder Liisa Pine / Crafted in Carhartt
“The biggest thing that I hope my son learns from seeing me in my field is that it is absolutely normal. I would love for him to take it completely for granted.” -Welder Liisa Pine

“My son Rowan is 5. I can’t wait to get him started welding. Learning it teaches you so much about yourself and about learning, like a martial art. At the same time, he’ll let me know when he’s ready. I’ve seen too many kids start at the wrong time in their personal development, and it’s amazing how ineffective that is. In general though, he’ll grow up making and repairing things, as much for curiosity’s sake as for practicality. In our family, the hands and brain are a team.” -Welder Liisa Pine

Welder Liisa Pine / Crafted in Carhartt
“The best part of my job is working with dangerous tools and permanent materials. They don’t care who you are, you’d just better handle it right. Your work ethic is obvious, and your results don’t lie.” -Liisa Pine

Welder Liisa Pine / Crafted in Carhartt

“Get started, meet people. Find the ones you like and become someone they can depend on. Join the American Welding Society, get involved in your local chapter. And stretch the hell out of your comfort zone, every day.” -Welder Liisa Pine, @sparksorwhatever

Big Bend

We got the chance to tour West Texas during our travels down south. If you’re in the Marfa area, you can’t miss the opportunity to see Big Bend National Park. The area has the distinct characteristics, unique to the Chihuahuan Desert. Massive rock formations fill the wide open landscapes. The area’s geological history is rich and dates back to the dinosaurs. With its great beauty also comes great risk. The temperatures are known to soar well above 100 °F, so don’t forget to bring water.

Big Bend National Park / Crafted in CarharttBig Bend National Park / Crafted in Carhartt

Big Bend National Park / Crafted in CarharttBig Bend National Park / Crafted in CarharttBig Bend National Park / Crafted in Carhartt