Rob Lewis grew up with wood for a teething ring, well not really, but he’s been around the woodshop his entire life. His dad, Merlyn, a Master Craftsman can build anything, and it’s fun to wander around Portland with him as he tells you about all the different projects he’s worked on. One of his favorites was working on Pittock Mansion after the Columbus Day Storm. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet him when he comes in to help with the tougher projects.
Rob followed in his dad’s footsteps and started in the cabinet making industry when he was in high school. He went on to open Orenco Wagon Company where he built wagons and stagecoaches, because coaches’ last and cabinets don’t. Over the last 8 plus years he ran the wood studio for Oregon College of Art and Craft where he worked with graduate students on hundreds of projects. But his real passion was ignited when he worked with Chuck Landers at Franklin High School in their afterschool program with at-risk kids. There he discovered how much he loved teaching kids who needed the hands-on skills of a trade. It was this passion that pushed him to open Anvil Academy in Newberg and it is his love for the kids, his knowledge of his craft, and the network of artists and friends that makes Anvil Academy a unique place to grow and thrive. Email Rob
Shirod Younker has been researching canoes and canoe paddles for over twenty years. He holds a B.F.A. in Visual Arts with an emphasis in Sculpture from Oregon State University. He currently works as a Program Manager and Instructor for the Journeys in Creativity: Explorations in Native American Art program at Oregon College of Art and Craft. He also serves as a Carving Instructor for an after school program at Chemawa Indian School and for cultural programs at The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. His passion is teaching craft to communities in order to help spread understandings regarding historian and utilitarian uses of making tools or objects that will help to educate and perpetuate cultural values.
Kristin Mitsu Shiga is a metalsmith, self-proclaimed tool junkie, and collector of curiosities living and working in Portland, Oregon, where she splits her time between the studio and the classroom. She has been tinkering in the arts since her childhood in New York City and discovered her passion for teaching in 1992.
As a maker, Kristin is deeply influenced by her participation in various collaborative art events, including the biennial Emma International Collaboration in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and CollaboratioNZ in Whangarei, New Zealand. Her work is featured in numerous publications, including Art Jewelry Today, The Art of Enameling and several of Lark Books’ “500” series. Kristin has shown her work internationally, and is included in several notable collections, including the Kamm Artful Teapot Collection and the Permanent Collection of the White House.
In 2007, she was awarded her first public art commission by the City of Portland. Since then, she has been featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s ArtBeat and commissioned by ID Branding to create an iconic piece to represent TriMet’s Red Line. Learn more about Kristin at www.kristinmitsushiga.com.
Iishah S. Hyatt earned her B.F.A. from Oregon College of Art and Craft, with a concentration in metals. Figurative sculpture is the major focus of her work using lost-was casting to create highly detailed miniature sculptures. She has lovingly named her creations “Micro-Sculptures,” rarely reaching larger than an inch and a half by one quarter inch.
Iishah was once asked, “Why the miniature?” and her response was, “When an artist creates a lifelike, life-size sculpture there are no scale issues. The challenge with the miniature is recreating the form, the motion, and the emotion on a minute scale.”
Iishah’s work is small, and has details not much larger than the head of a pin. Not something many artists attempt to produce, it’s what stokes her creative fire. Iishah’s other passions are lapidary, wood turning, and glassblowing. She enjoys teaching others the art of metalsmithing so they can find their “Sleeping Giant.” She lives in Oregon with her family and 6 year old son.
Chip Webster is the owner and operator of Furniture & Finishes, a boutique practitioner of antique and vintage furniture restoration, as well as a designer and maker of custom new furniture. Webster learned his craft over that past 14 years working with a finishing master in Atlanta, Georgia. He moved to Portland in 2008 and has built his business over the past 8 years. Webster teaches finishing and woodworking for the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers, where he is a past secretary, the present education director and a member of the board of directors.
His current developmental focus in his work includes decorative features, veneer and marquetry in furniture design and turned wood objects. Webster’s involvement with Anvil Academy stems from a deep passion for education in the arts, especially the cross-functional aspects across disciplines. He serves as both an instructor and as a business advisor.
Matt Rode was born in Norway and moved to the States when he was 8 years old. He still tells stories of running around the deck of the ship as they traveled to the United States, and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.
At around age 18 Matt got a job at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. His love of fishing in the mountain streams, and skiing made it a natural for him to settle on the mountain. After years at Timberline he moved to the Willamette Valley but has never lost his love for the Mountain.
The intricate ironwork at the lodge intrigued Matt and he started to research how the work was done. His first anvil was a piece of rail discarded by the railroad. He formed a horn and a heel on the rail and with the help of his Oxy/Acetylene torch and a hammer he started pounding out iron. Now some thirty years later Matt, owner of Mountain Stream Forge, is one of the premier blacksmiths in the US. Mountain Stream Forge
Steve Gosset specializes in repair restoration and conservation on antique and historical items. He began blacksmithing and woodworking in 1969 and started Cherry Grove Forge in 1985. His passions include doing his work in a way that is historically accurate, and passing on some of what he has learned after 47 years as a master tradesman. Email Steve
Jacob Sorenson has been making stuff his whole life, and specializes in woodworking/furniture design. After a few jobs in various construction trades, he was an apprentice potter running production at a pottery factory outside of Monmouth, Oregon for a few years following high school before discovering Woodworking in a furniture/sculptural capacity while studying ceramics at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. While at OCAC and for some time after, he worked as a maintenance carpenter where he became enamored with the language of repair and a curiosity of mechanical movements which informed much of his sculptural work for some time.
He managed the Furniture Design Shop at the University of New Hampshire for a couple years where he had the opportunity to teach the technical aspects of woodworking and was privileged to work on the maintenance and repair of a wide variety of woodworking machinery from prewar to state of the art.
For the last few years he has been designing and fabricating custom furniture for a small online furniture company Karv Luxury. He also teaches woodworking at Oregon College of Art and Craft, and finds it particularly inspiring to see students who are new to making have their eyes opened to the fact that they can indeed make anything the set their minds to.
Beth I. Robinson, daughter of a third generation metal smith and labor organizer, blends art practice and history with conflict resolution skills to support multiple intelligences and learning styles. Her focus includes books and book making, paper, printmaking, gold leaf, metal, teaching students how to create professional artist and advocate practices, conflict dispute resolutions skills for artists and artists as mediators. Robinson, who holds a B.F.A. degree from Oregon College of Art and Craft as a Ford Restart Scholar, believes that creativity is spurred on by creating solutions to obstacles, and that conflict situations by their very nature can invite creative behavior and expression. She is passionate about the use of mindful facilitation and artistic practice as a tool to build empathy and compassion, community peace building, and the reconciliation of larger social injustices. Her artwork has been celebrated in the public view for over ten years in both the United States and Europe.
Julie Tannehill has been sewing since she was ten years old, discovering as a child how much she, as a self-proclaimed “tall, gangly girl”, liked creating her own clothing. She made a deal with her mom that she would buy the fabric for any project as long as Julie would wear it. Julie began to sew new outfits over the weekend for school on Monday, and when the compliments starting rolling in, she was hooked.
When she had children, she sewed for them as well; then, early one morning while visiting her parents, her mom handed her some fat quarters and told her it was time for her to learn to quilt. Despite Julie’s objections (as a result of having two small children, a full-time business, and a husband) her mother won out, and Julie discovered she loved quilting. It has now become her mission to cover the world in quilts, one at a time.
She has taught many workshops and likes to share her passion with others through hooking them on this endlessly creative medium.
Bob Desch graduated from Nebraska State University with a B.A. in Industrial Education with a major in Woodworking and Drafting, and a minor in Crafts and Finish. He taught high school and middle school Shop class for five years before leaving teaching to work as the foreman for a cabinet shop and ultimately starting his own woodworking business which he operated for the next 43 years before joining Anvil Academy.