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Makena's background is in hospitality and human ecology, but when they caught the metalworking bug a few years ago, their focus shifted to forging and fabrication. After learning some basics near their home in the San Juan Islands, at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and as a jewelry production assistant at Material Wit, they relocated to Seattle to pursue her education as an apprentice at Tinder Heart metals & design. They lived in the city from 2016 -2019 and worked as a plasma-cutting assistant at 2K Metalworks and as a fabricator at Urban Reclamations before moving to western Pennsylvania for a position at Touchstone Center for Crafts. As the 2019 Summer Studio Assistant Intern in the Blacksmithing Studio, they assisted visiting instructors, helped to maintain the shop and equipment, and expanded their own practice within the forge as well as other studios, including glass and ceramics. While in PA, they also had the opportunity to attend and participate in two iron casting pours with Rivers of Steel Arts in Pittsburgh. Makena has returned to Touchstone as the Blacksmithing Technician for the 2020 season, and is enjoying working on a variety of projects in the Hart Moore Blacksmith Studio.

Follow her work on Instagram at @nettlefireforge!