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I Forge Iron

Joe Koches passes


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I just received the notice from a friend in Cal. 

Frosty The Lucky.


From: Monica Coyne 

Subject: In memory of Joe

Date: September 16, 2019 at 8:16:21 AM PDT






A collector of Blacksmiths

Joe Koches was a collector. He conceived of, owned and ran the Blacksmith Shop in Ferndale for over 40 years. Joe turned his boundless love of the art of blacksmithing into a business that supported blacksmiths from all across the world. He collected an incredible number and variety of forged pieces and along with them he collected an equal number and variety of friends. Joe passed away yesterday at his home in the back of the beautiful Blacksmith Shop in Ferndale, California surrounded by friends and family.




I remember the first time I talked to Joe. I called him up to see if he would be interested in buying a flower that I had made. I was fairly new to blacksmithing and pretty nervous. Joe was short and to the point.
" Is it one piece?" he asked. "Well, bring it in."
I did. That started a long friendship. Joe was really enthusiastic about forged work but his great love really was for the people behind the work. Joe did not take pieces on consignment. He knew that blacksmiths like most artists struggle and so he bought pieces outright. Every few years Joe would identify a blacksmith who he thought was really pushing the art and he would offer them a commission to "do their best work". An open offer to support an artist's creativity. One of the founders of the California Blacksmith Association and an active and passionate advocate for the art of smithing, Joe will be sorely missed by the Blacksmithing community world wide. His devotion to the people who worked for him and love for his community in Ferndale will leave a deep void.
The first Autumn rains came to Ferndale yesterday and whisked Joe away. Anyone who ever stepped foot in his beautiful shop can feel lucky to have shared time with him. 



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