Carley Fererra is a talented furniture designer, metal artist and blacksmith. She owns and runs Iron Mountain Forge where she and her team make unique and bespoke items from metal, wood and glass.
Workshopshed: Hey Carley, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. When I saw the workshop you’ve setup at Iron Mountain Forge I was a little surprised. I was expecting an old fashioned building with a pile of coal! How would you describe your shop?
Carley Ferrara: We are really a modern take on a blacksmithing shop. We do have some of the traditional tooling, like tongs, hammers, and of course an anvil, but we have a lot of more modern amenities, such as a power hammer and a propane forge. We also have all of the fun new welding machinery as well.
Workshopshed: I gather you worked as a CNC operator in a previous role, are there any plans to add high technology to your workshop?
Carley: At the moment, I have an amazing connection with a local laser cutter, and I do a lot of my own programming for it, so in my mind, why buy the machinery when I can outsource it locally and support another local business.
Workshopshed: There is obviously a lot of skill required in your work, do you have a favourite technique or tool?
Carley: Her name is Eloise, my Big Blu power hammer. I love her so much! I have a lot of different power hammer dies to do different techniques, and I have probably clocked well over 3,000 hours her. She not only saves me a lot of time (and shoulder pain!) but I can do so many things with her that I could not do on my own. My favorite, however, is making bowls with the dishing dies.
Workshopshed: Are there skills you are currently improving or want to learn?
Carley: Half of what I know is self taught, and the other was learning while doing blacksmithing fabrication, so I really want to hone my traditional blacksmithing skills more. I have been practicing my hand rolled door hinges and clasps lately.
Workshopshed: I spotted a small heart handled key motif on your “Rustically Riveting Bench”, what is the story behind that?
Carley: Not only is it hiding on the Riveting Bench, but you’ll spot the key on anything designed by me. Oh, and it’s also on my necklace… and keychain… and tattooed quite largely on my arm. The key is my homage to my grandfather, who was the one who always inspired me to work with my hands and become a strong, independent woman. Without him, I wouldn’t be me.
Workshopshed: I see you do an one to one a training session for blacksmithing, do you have any advice for novices?
Carley: A lot of blacksmiths will say “focus on technique or tradition” or “keep a loose grip on the hammer” which is all very true, but for me, I’d say “play.” Yes, learning how to forge an even taper is very important, and correct hammer control will definitely save your shoulder, but without playing around without guidance, new techniques would never develop.
Workshopshed: What are you currently working on?
Carley: Oh geez. Right now, I have a traditional dutch door made from locust, with traditional hinges and latches, 3 steel signs, 2 forged sculptures, a console table, an entrance table, a forged pool gate, and a stair railing. I just crated up a large walnut and forged base coffee table today.
Workshopshed: And finally, how many hammers do you have?
Carley: Not including the treadle hammer and power hammer, 14.
Many thanks Carley, sounds like a great place to work and you are creating some fantastic furniture and designs.
For more details of the furniture, custom work or training sessions visit ironmtnforge.com