The Wicks have been in the metal trade since the early 1900s. My great-grandfather was a pioneer in the field of welding. He ran a welding shop and later a welding school during WWII where he and my grandfather trained welders in support of the war effort.
After the War, the family moved to Connecticut where they continued in the metal business - running a manufacturing company called Wicks Products.
My grandfather, Edward, had three daughters whose interests fell beyond the shop, and eventually Wicks Products was sold and the family trade was put on hold when my grandfather retired.
Some years later I came along. Growing up I was a product of my mother and father - a carpenter and an artist. I loved working with my hands and creating functional pieces of art, but I never learned to work metal. I remember walking around my grandfather's garage where he still kept many of his tools from the old days and feeling like an archeologist who has no idea what artifacts he has just unearthed.
Serendipity then stepped in. I was in Scotland completing a masters degree in environmental resource management and found a master blacksmith named Jim Whitson who ran a shop outside of Edinburgh called The Blazing Blacksmith. Wanting to learn a new trade, I approached Jim and he agreed to take me on as his apprentice during my stay in Scotland.
Working under Jim, I learned from the rich Scottish tradition. More importantly, I learned how masters approach their craft and the basics of working metal. His attention to detail and pursuit of perfection is an attitude that I hope to emulate in my own work.
Returning to the United States, I found a that I now had the foundation of a trade but no longer had the workshop or equipment needed to practice. Fate is funny though, and returning to my grandfather's garage, I found that the tools my family had passed down for generations no longer were so mysterious in my eyes. Rather than some strange artifacts, each tool now held meaning and purpose. With this foundation, Wicks' forge was born.
Wicks forge continues to be a family endeavor. I work on designs, construction and installations. My mother, Joan, works on designs and marketing. And my brother, Brandon, does website management and online marketing.
Starting Wicks' Forge has been a way for us to reconnect with a family tradition in a new way.