As I have touched on already in past posts and with people I meet in everyday life, I am new to social media. That reason is quite simply that I abhor the social media craze and how it has stitched itself into the fabric of our everyday lives. When I first started traveling the world back around 2002 I tried to get into the early days of social media but I never really could get the hang of it, or find a personal use for it. The longest I ever lasted on any social media was with from around 2006 until 2014 and even in those final years I knew its time was over as well as my enjoyment in it. At least that forged some of the closest friendships I have to date and found me countless hundreds of places to sleep on my trips!

Fast forward to now as a small business owner and being married to someone who does content architecture for a living I realised there was no way I could hold out any longer. I did have one stipulation though. Besides the new professional website that we had designed I was only going to sign up for one social media account. Instagram was the clear winner not because I had any real love for the platform, in fact, I had very honestly never used it once until a few months ago. No, we signed up for the account because it was the most used platform for sharing photos, and we were after a photo dumping ground so we would not clutter up our main website.


It took me a few weeks and a lot of training from my wife on how to figure out Instagram. As I said, I had never used the platform before and besides seeing the stupid hashtag phenomenon in pop culture, I was oblivious on how to use it effectively for our business. My wife found me a plethora of great articles from her peers in the profession and after a few months I like to think I am getting better at it. The other downfall is that we do not own a nice camera, and we don’t own cell phones! Luckily my close friends lent me their camera for a few months as the website was being created which enabled me to get some lovely pictures to display, but we are once more back to our cheap tablets for the pictures which is a shame. Foggy Mountain Forge may have to bite the bullet and invest in a decent camera sometime soon!

The big thing that first caught my attention with Instagram as a user was that the photos from there are not used in the google rankings so I have been opened up to a new world of photos and videos in which to get ideas and inspiration from! This is the one massive thing I am enjoying about using the platform. Sadly, this is about the only thing I have so far found to enjoy about it.

One of my biggest annoyances with the platform is the gimmicks that come with it that people feel they have to get embroiled in. The daily contest for free prizes, the reposts in order to get in on the free prizes because nothing is really free, the you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, the zillions of selfies of people in underwear giving kissy faces, the ask me anything on the story feed. Ugh, the story feed. No wonder there are so many cold calling spammers on Instagram offering to do everything include babysitting grandma in order to get you to follow them. Like Facebook the entire platform is basically just a voyeurs wet dream full of people offering up their every day lives in order to get likes and attention. I mean, I knew all of that was going to be the case when I joined, but the one thing that I didn’t realise was that maintaining an Instagram account is a lot of bloody work! With 10-15 posts and stories each week combined with looking at some of my followers and liking pictures from the feeds, I am putting in at least an hour a day on the platform, often more.

Instagram handforged

The blacksmith community on Instagram is very diverse in culture and location, but so far in my experience it is a lot of the same thing. Knives and axes, bottle openers, hammers, more hammers, a few more knives, and of course a few more hammers in for good measure. While I respect the hell out of everyone in this craft and their specific fields of expertise, I was truly expecting to find a lot more actual art whether it be functional or not! A lot of the most popular people that I see from the blacksmithing profession don’t even post a lot of new content, just the same 4-5 products over and over on top of some clever marketing with their contests and so on. I get it, I was a marketing major myself, I guess I was just hoping for more from an artistic community. Maybe I have just not found enough of it yet?

I am finding a hell of a lot of talented blacksmiths from Russia which has been great. Some amazing work from a lot of people there and it has been brilliant to see their work as it is so original and unique to much of what I have seen elsewhere. There are of course some other amazing artists I have seen and even struck up private chats with all around the world as well. I have been in touch with some blacksmiths from all around the world and it is fun to talk about projects, share tips and enjoy the trade together and even though a few have stood out as class acts so far, I want to share my personal favourite so far with whom I follow.

instagram metal maskinstagram metal masks

Darron Laessig is a ridiculously talented artist who so far seems to be flying under the radar. His art is more unique than anything else I’ve seen from a North American metal artist and he has been a hell of a nice guy to chat with. He has definitely inspired us to start making masks like he is and we hope to get the time to start doing so. When I messaged him and told him this, he did not get pissy with us for wanting to rip off his vision, he told us good luck and that he couldn’t wait to see what we come up. This has not been the case with a few other artists with whom we try to recreate their work in our own way! So if you are on Instagram and his creepy style tickles your fancy like it does ours, be sure to follow him. He also just started selling on etsy and his prices are very, very reasonable for the work he is doing and the time involved! Kudos Darron.

Anyways, I guess I better start thinking about what I’m going to be posting tomorrow. No wonder people like my wife are in such high demand in today’s society, online media is a lot of work! I mean I get it, it helps gain exposure and has already got us a few extra sales and people coming to our shop.

So I guess… you win Instagram?


The Sooke Fine Arts Show is the biggest Fine Arts event on Vancouver Island and surrounding area; is held every year in late July and runs for 10 days. Out of a typical 10-13,000 entries for the show, around 350-400 are chosen by a panel of jurors and put on display at a venue just outside of Sooke.

Tree in the wind sculpture

This year marked the 7th year out of 9 where we had at least one piece accepted from entered artwork. After last years epic life sized sculpture, Post Mortem Blues, we opted for something much smaller and lower on the price scale. Recently I have enjoyed doing stylized West Coast designs and last year before heading to Asia I did a few stylized bonsai trees blowing in the wind. Both sold within days of making them in our gallery so I figured I was onto something. This year I found a great piece of solid quartz for a base and spent a good amount of time fleshing out a lovely bonsai style tree blowing in the wind. I figured it was well suited to the area we live in considering we can get massive windstorms in the winter with well over 100km hour winds which leave trees permanently bent over in the long run. My father welded on the root bases around the tree and so we shared in the making of this piece.


The show started Thursday night for a pre-purchaser’s gala and doors opened at 7:30pm. Gale Force was sold by 7:45pm and the red sticker was out. We did (playfully) get in a bit of shit for under-pricing our piece, but at the end of the day that is what we would sell it in our gallery for so we were not about to gouge people just because it was an art show as that is not our style. On top of that, we have already been commissioned to make at least two more from others who loved the design after seeing it.

Jellyfish Lamp

Many years at the Sooke Fine Arts show we donate pieces of our art for the silent auction and this year was one of those years where we went full out. We had a massive $1500 jellyfish and ocean themed lamp which we had made and donated for the silent auction. 3 jellyfish hanging from massive kelp leaves, a base made out of various forged metal to look like the ocean bed with mussel shells and a clam which holds the light switch and wiring at the base. On top of that there are over 250 copper tentacles that hang from the jellyfish which really make the light from the lamps sparkle. All the wiring was done by ourselves as well and this piece is amazing. The minimum bid is $675 so we are hoping this goes much, much higher and raises some good money for the arts on Vancouver Island!

So as always, we urge folks to get out to the Sooke Fine Arts show this year as there is a week remaining yet! There is lots of art from various mediums and even though we think 3D art is VASTLY under-represented at the Sooke Fine Arts show every year, we still enjoy going ourselves and being a part of it.

Last thing worth mentioning is that the gallery gift shop houses art from all accepted artists with nothing being allowed to cost more than $150. In fact, many artists, myself included always make more money from the gift shop than we do selling the main piece or pieces on the floor. Damaris and I buy a few things from the shop every year and this year was no different. Being an artist myself I love to support others when I have the funds to do so! This is an excellent place to drop in and support some local artists if you see something you love!

After many years of demanding that we upgrade our website and online presence my father either got sick of me nagging, or finally just caved into the idea of a complete re-branding this year. We have held off for a good many years, but considering I am married to an IT wiz and professional content developer (who in turn was constantly harassing me that we need to get a better online presence) we figured it was time. We got a new business logo. We got six boxes of branded apparel with said new business logo. And we now have a new website as well as an Instagram account.

It must first be said that everything written in this blog from day 1 will be by me, Justin, the son and minion of the Foggy Mountain Forge team. My wife Damaris is the wizard behind the scenes who is making it all happen and look pretty because quite frankly, every time I even look at a computer something goes wrong and I nearly break the internet. Without her tireless effort this last month, and in the months and years to come it will be because of her that the website is up and running as long as she can keep the spam hackers at bay. This is not her first website, or even her third or fourth, so I am grateful that the time she has and will spend on it to keep it running.

As for the re-branding and jumping into the online world. We are not going nuts to be very honest. My father is not a fan of the online world and I absolutely abhor social media in every form but we have a business to attend to and sadly in this day and age it means we must make an effort online. So, with a brand new Instagram account and a shiny new website here we are, this is our compromise. There will never be a Facebook page, or Twitter, or a Linkedin account. I feel dirty enough having to be on Instagram every day sifting through countless selfies of woman giving kissy faces in their underwear and men showing off their freshly ripped abs (do you even lift bro?) that combined with a blog and presentable website, it will suffice.

I hope to showcase many of the fun projects that either of us work on during our days in the forge, or perhaps clients with whom we do a lot of work for. I will do my best to get one blog per week and see how I feel from there after the first month or two. I have some ideas for the first few but first we want to be sure in the coming weeks that the site itself is running smoothly and from there I can be sure to get some fun stories and what-not here for you all to gander at.

Until then, check out our Instagram page if you want to see daily pictures and the website itself will rotate pictures in and out as the months go by. We will not overload the website with pictures, but instead keep a constant number with a good mix of work that we like to do for people to see. Instagram was formed to be our dumping ground of pictures and after some time it will have plenty more pictures than the website itself I’m sure.

Stay tuned.