About us - The Story of Ashland Forge:
Since 1974 Denny has been welding and creating metal functional artwork. His full Blacksmith creation and repair shop & yard has been a crucial pillar in Ashland for farmers, homeowners, and anyone needing a metal fix.
Denny DeBey, a Los Angeles native, came to Ashland in 1969 from Humboldt State College, seeking a master’s degree in Outdoor Education at Southern Oregon College. He was part of the “back to the land” movement of young seekers of the early ‘70s, and sought the freedom of living simply, close to nature.
In a chance encounter, DeBey met master blacksmith Al Bart, who quickly became his friend and mentor. The work furthered his values of simplicity and kindness to the planet, as he was able to recycle and repurpose castoff metal and find antiquated tools with lots of life left in them.
DeBey is the metalwork go-to guy in town and his work can be seen all over — including at the Perozzi-Butler fountain in Lithia Park, the now-recast Pioneer Mike statue in the Plaza and the ironwork at Peerless Restaurant. Much of his artistry can be found as custom work in private residences: railings, gates, fireplace surrounds, door handles, and other details. .He even creates the award statuettes for the Ashland International Film Festival.
Looking back on a full life, he says, “I don’t have many regrets. If I do, it’s not about things I did, but things I didn’t do. My philosophy is: ‘Everything you need is within five feet of you. You just have to look for it.’”
Blacksmith & Woodworker
I grew up the son & grandson of two craftsmen, so one could say I was predisposed to the trade. I feel most at peace when in the shop where I can draw inspiration from the ancestors who called it ‘home’ before me.
My blacksmithing career began in my early 20s, as an apprentice at the Ashland Forge. After concluding what you would call my ‘traditional education’ and receiving a BA from Southern Oregon University, I attended a year long woodworking program at the Krenov School in Fort Bragg, CA. After, I attended the Fondation de Coubertin outside of Paris, and participated in the French Guildsmen apprenticeship for ironworks.
Since my return, I’ve returned to the Ashland Forge no longer an apprentice, but a partner. I look forward to working with you.
Over the years
Helpers and friends of Ashland Forge since the beginning.