About Caleb Kullman

I was first exposed to blacksmithing while studying anthropology at Reed College in Portland, OR. An art student had set up a primitive forging station behind the art building and I stopped in one day after hearing the sound of the hammer and anvil. He let me have a go with the hammer and I ruined a perfectly good piece of steel – but my interest was sparked. After graduation, having realized that a BA in anthropology was not particularly marketable, I decided to pursue my interest in blacksmithing and attended horseshoeing school in Tucumcari, NM. At the time, I really didn’t think that horseshoeing or blacksmithing would be a long term career choice for me, but I was curious nonetheless. I enjoyed learning the craft of farriery and liked working with horses. What I really enjoyed, however, was forging – making horseshoes and other things from steel.

After finishing the four-month-long horseshoeing program, I began apprenticing with a farrier and family friend in Santa Fe, NM, where I had grown up. At his recommendation, I attended Frank Turley’s basic blacksmithing class in the spring of 1994. As part of the class, Frank routinely took his students out to visit the studio of Tom Joyce. When I saw Tom’s beautiful work and meticulously organized studio, I knew that I wanted to pursue blacksmithing more seriously. Seeing a long road ahead, however, I moved to Fort Collins, CO in the fall of 1994 to begin a horseshoeing practice. Horseshoeing allowed me to earn a living with plenty of free time to practice my forging technique, take on small commissions, and travel to work with other blacksmiths. I made two or three trips per year to Santa Fe to work with Tom during the period 1995-2002. I also became a member of the Rocky Mountain Smiths, attended workshops and conferences, and took a class with Rick Smith at the Peters Valley Craft School in 1998.

I decided to go back to school in the late 90’s to pursue a Master’s Degree in anthropology. The need to conduct field research and the desire to combine my professional career and academic background led me to apply for and receive a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Nigeria in 2002. I spent eight months there, working with Yoruba blacksmiths, studying traditional Yoruba forging techniques, religion, and culture. Upon returning to the US, I decided not to continue shoeing horses and committed to blacksmithing full-time, pursuing commission work from my shop in Fort Collins. In 2003 I took a class at the Penland School of Crafts with Doug Wilson, whose approach to channeling creative energy and the design process helped me overcome obstacles I was having in creating original work on my own. I helped Doug teach a similar class the following summer at the Haystack School of Crafts. While I consider Tom Joyce to be my primary mentor in the craft of blacksmithing, I also feel very fortunate to have been able to learn from the likes of Frank, Rick and Doug. I use the knowledge, tricks and techniques I have learned from all of them on a daily basis. I truly believe that the more people one can learn from, the broader the range of knowledge and skill one will possess.

I moved to Montrose, CO in March of 2006. I now own a 2500 sq. ft. studio in downtown Montrose equipped with three forging stations, modern fabricating equipment and machine tools. I have completed commissions across Colorado, including in Telluride, Aspen, Boulder, Ridgway, and Breckenridge as well as in Santa Fe, NM and Cooper Landing, AK.