By Andrea German
Joe Koches opened up The Blacksmith Shop in historic downtown Ferndale in 1976. Koches, a longtime Ferndale resident, has been showcasing his work as well as work from local artists and artists from around the world. He is passionate about showcasing the finest pieces of work.
Koches wants to make sure the local economy circulates the community before leaving the county. A large portion of the money spent in a local business circulates the community before leaving the county. He is regularly asked to donate to local events and organizations. After many years of experience as a local merchant, he is passionate about giving to local schools and important causes.
By selling handcrafted and unique works of art, Koches believes in the intimacy of artist and customer relationship. He also is actively advocating for the support of independent artists.
“Buying local really supports all of the schools,” Koches said. “It supports all of the events that get to happen and corporate American very seldom gets to help when the local school wants to take a trip somewhere.”
To this day, Koches is sure to donate to local organizations or causes that effect the larger communities, rather than independent businesses.
The galley and shop showcase pieces that are resourcefully crafted and sure to last.
“We take nails and we make something functional out of it,” Koches said. “We make a knife.”
Koches highlights that blacksmithing is about making tools. The contemporary blacksmith crafts tools and traditional furniture with artistic flair while still maintaining its practicality.
Savannah Carpenter is a film major at HSU. Last year, Carpenter and other film students got together and filmed a documentary about Koches and his business.
“He is so passionate about his work that it was easy to capture why his role is important,” said Carpenter. “He is keeping the artist prevalent and giving the power back to them.”