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Jean Wilke at Heavin ForgeBladesmith Jean Wilke began his journey as a knifemaker when he encountered Forged in Fire. The color of the steel, the sound of the hammer on the anvil, and the skill of the bladesmiths immediately mesmerized him. Unlike other teenagers, however, this was not merely a passing interest, but a burning passion that grew stronger over time. In 2016, for his 14th birthday, Jean received a special gift from his parents -- a one day smithing course with Dennis Kriel. He was immediately hooked.
Soon, Jean caught the attention of well-known knifemakers such as Neels van den Berg and Etienne Vorster. At 15, he found himself on a two week intensive Introduction to Bladesmithing course at Heavin Forge. During that class, Mastersmiths Kevin and Heather Harvey became his life-long mentors and Wilke began his journey to become the youngest person ever to be welcomed into the Knifemakers Guild of Southern Africa. In June of 2020, Wilke passed his test and was honored to join the KGSA.
As of the spring of 2022, Wilke alternates between spending two weeks helping teach and forge at Heavin Forge, and working at his home forge (Fire Goby Forge) in Pretoria.

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