Social media and networking always seems to blow our minds. After the massive response we had last year at BRO4, we also had an influx of builders reach out to us in hopes to share their skills too. Joy reached out to Babes, Babes reach out to us, and after seeing Joy Fire's skills, we instantly decided we should expand this year. Therefore, we are adding 3 new trades the the RealDeal Workshoppes in our desert garage on site at Babes. On top of MIG welding, pinstriping and leather crafting, we now have jewelry making, airbrushing and Joy will be joining us as the blacksmith at BRO5 too. Be sure to sign up as soon as possible at their garage!
Joy began working as a blacksmith at a metal fabrication shop in Santa Barbara as she was finishing up a degree in studio art. She worked at the same shop for several years as a Production Assistant where she applied the fundamentals of good design and an artistic eye to each project she worked on. After moving to Orange County she became a certified instructor through the California Blacksmith Association and has her own shop in Santa Ana where she designs and builds custom pieces of functional art and teaches forging at Orange Coast College. Her current work focuses on pieces that emphasize the sacredness of natural objects and everyday life.
1. You have a lot of skill sets, what are they and what is your favorite?
I can forge, MIG weld, TIG weld a little, run a mill, run a lathe, and design. My favorite is hitting hot metal with a hammer.
2. When did you know in your heart this is what you wanted to do?
When I found a local metal fabrication shop and realized that being a blacksmith was still an actual thing one could do.
3. Describe your style.
Functional art, which mainly takes the form of furniture, that is useable, comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and has a concept and story behind it. Practically, I tend to incorporate a lot of triangles and tripods, interesting joinery, and large heavy stock material.
4. Where does your passion come from?
The seven directions. Above, Below, Right, Left, Front, Behind, Within.
5. What are your thoughts on women in the industry?
More of ‘em. More women everywhere! We are all just people, we have similarities, we have differences, we each have valuable contributions. Women make up 50% of the population; they should be 50% of the people in every industry.
6. What challenges have you come across being a girl in our world, if any?
Jesus, how long you got? Look, it starts with society. It starts with this core idea that the feminine is lesser than, less valuable than the masculine. We all know that’s total bullshit. It sucks to have to be aware of your femaleness all the time. I wish I could just do my work but unfortunately I can’t. My femaleness, the way I am perceived, is always present in my mind, and for better or worse it affects me. I just try to be the best I can be at all times and have the confidence to do my work and know that it is good. That I am valuable, that my voice matters. It sure as hell is exhausting sometimes, but I hope in that small way I can make the world a better place for everyone, women and men, and make it easier for the women who will come after me.
7. How do you feel your contributions make a difference?
As I said above, I think each person’s voice is valuable. I think one of my gifts is my ability to read people and translate something about them into metal, to make something that is uniquely meaningful to them. I also teach blacksmithing. Helping people to be able to think with their hands and with their tools and with their creations to change the objective nature of reality is a beautiful and meaningful use of my time.
8. What's included in your fun time?
Hiking, yoga, reading, camping, learning about new tools, hanging with my babe, and laughing at weird things our cats do.
9. What are your plans for the future?
Continue to improve in my trade, find more ways to be able to affect positive change in society through my work and life, and forging every day.
10. What advice do you have for others wanting to be hands-on like you?
Do it. I know it’s really not that easy and not everyone has the privilege in life that I enjoy, but just find something to do and do it. If you don’t have a lot of space or money find something you can make in your home. Paper, wire, cloth, thread, these are all fairly easily accessible, use these materials. Design things. Have ideas and work towards them. Take one step, and then another. Be open to new things. Let your heart burn with desire for something and follow that heat.
What I will be doing at BRO5 Real Deal Workshops:
I will be teaching babes to forge a simple spike hook. It can be driven directly into wood and can be used to hang your helmet, your leathers, your bike bag, or whatever you want.
I am from Tigard OR, I currently live in Irvine, Orange County.
My business is Joy Fire Metalwork, my shop is in Santa Ana CA.
My website is Joyfireblacksmith.com