Bridgetown Forge – About Arnon Kartmazov
Bridgetown Forge was founded by Arnon Kartmazov after many years of practicing his craft. He served his first apprenticeship with the last working blacksmith in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1985. He then spent 12 years in Japan, where he was apprenticed to a knife-maker, then a sword-maker, and then opened and operated his own shop in the hills of Northern Kyoto, specializing in both hand-forged chef’s knifes, and also architectural pieces designed to blend with both traditional and modern Japanese architecture. He also trained with many smiths both in Japan and in other countries; chief among his teachers is Uri Hofi of Israel, an internationally known master smith.
Arnon arrived in Portland in 2000, and formed an architectural steelworks company, K & K Forgeworks, with his friend and business partner Fergus Kinnell. They were engaged to create numerous high-end, custom, one-of-a kind pieces such as railings, handrails, gates, fireplaces, chandeliers, door hardware and furniture. The customers included private residences, restaurants, and wineries. It was a very productive and fruitful partnership, with many unique, large-scale projects completed, and much learned. The partnership was dissolved in 2010 due to the partners’ desire to engage in different projects, such as Arnon’s wish to dedicate more time to teaching the craft, create more sculptural pieces, and to return to his first smithing love — Japanese chef’s knives.
Based on Arnon’s extensive forging experience in Israel, Japan and the USA, Bridgetown Forge aims to create a wide range of objects, as beautiful as they are functional: chef’s knives, hand-forged from finest carbon steel and hand-honed to a true razor edge; forged stainless steel fireplace tools, wood-and steel furniture, chandeliers, lamps, and a variety of architectural hardware: hinges, door pulls, and accent tiles.
Arnon has been heavily influenced by the Japanese esthetic, and feels that even the most ordinary, everyday objects can, and perhaps should be special, surprising, of high quality, long-lasting and a pleasure to use. Thus, Bridgetown Forge makes items like food bowls, spoons, and sushi platters — all forged from stainless steel, and finished to please both the eye and the hand. It was therefore fitting to name the forge after Arnon’s chosen hometown, as it is a place where large number of people appreciate the unique, the hand-made, and the unorthodox.
Articles about Arnon’s work:
Portland Blacksmiths: Old World Style Thriving in Artisan Economy in neighborhoodnotes.com
Blacksmithing Zen (interview) in egophobia.ro