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"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out (that) going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity."
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 7 July 2018  

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Bill Radford

  Never too young to pursue a passion
  By Bill Radford

   Asher Camire became enthralled with blacksmithing at age 7, when he saw a blacksmith in action at a fair in Denver.
   
   "I watched him for like an hour; and, after that, I was just really, really interested," Asher said. But he wasn't able to do much with that newfound passion until his family moved from Denver to Peyton, where they established Ahavah Farm, with its "beyond organic" produce –- and where Asher found blacksmithing classes "like 10 minutes down the road,” he said.
   
   He began taking classes at Kilroy's Workshop in Falcon, and entered as an apprentice I; then, he became an apprentice II, and is now believed to be the youngest journeyman blacksmith in the country. He earned his certificate last fall at age 11 and turned 12 last month. He continues to take classes to hone his skills but also has set up his own business, The Echo of the Anvil.
   
   Asher, who is home-schooled, converted a storage space on the farm into AJ's Blacksmithing Shop. It is where he keeps all his tools –- a band saw, belt sander, grinders, drill press, hammers and more –- and it is also where he fires up his propane-fueled forge to create his metal works. He has a basket full of his work, such as a key chain, a bottle opener and a fire poker. He has also made many of his own tools like the tongs that earned him his journeyman certificate.
   
   Some of Asher's siblings –- he is the oldest of five children –- often join him in his shop. But, he said, "I make sure they wear safety glasses, and I'm watching them." And since it's his shop, "I'm allowed to say, OK, guys, I want to be alone,” he added.
   
   He has trouble explaining why that Denver blacksmith years ago intrigued him so much, but now he said what keeps him captivated is “the roar of the forge, the ring of the anvil, sparks flying, stuff like that.”
   
   "It calms my fears," he said, of toiling in his shop. "It calms me when I'm angry, when I'm upset. It makes me more happy when I'm sad."
   
   It also makes him money. He sells his items at farmers markets, chiefly the Colorado Farm and Art Market. "I just make a list of things that people like to buy and that I can make easily," Asher said. He also gets orders from customers, such as a recent order for a certain size of S hooks. While he reserves some of his earnings as "fun money," he pumps most of what he makes back into his business.
   
   He still has many needs in his shop, he said. He wants to get a hydraulic press, needs to finish his welding table and wants to get a coal forge. "I need more lights, I know that much," Asher said. There is a small room in the shop where he has been storing stuff to get it out of the way, but he wants to make it into an office. (His siblings have also happily been digging a hole in the room, which he figures he can use for storage.)
   
   Asher doesn’t consider this venture a hobby. "This is something to make a living out of,” he said. For now, though, he doesn't have a logo or business cards — he doesn't want to be seen as a slick, young entrepreneur, but as “a kid with a passion." He does have his own YouTube channel; search "The Echo of the Anvil" on YouTube and take a video tour of Asher’s shop.
  
Asher Camire uses this anvil for his blacksmithing business, which he named The Echo of the Anvil.
 
Asher Camire firs up his propane-fueld forge. Eventually, he would like to get a coal forge.
 
Asher Camire, age 12, shows off his journeyman blacksmith certificate. He is thought to be the youngest journeyman blacksmith in the country. Photos by Bill Radford.
 
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