Episode 57: Forging a Blacksmithing Career in the Smoky Mountains

51m | May 3, 2022

Facebook Live Video from 2022/05/03 - Forging a Blacksmithing Career in the Smoky Mountains


In this episode, you will learn about the art of blacksmithing and metalworking in the Smoky Mountains. 

Matthew Shirey is an Award-winning Blacksmith and Metalworking Artist who has resided in Sylva, N.C. for over 15 years. A native of Pennsylvania, Matthew has been a full-time craftsman since 2017 and the Owner of Shira Forge since 2005. 

Matthew was also the winner of the 2022 season premiere of the History Channel hit television show –Forged in Fire! He will discuss what it means to be a blacksmith in the 21st century and see how he forged his career out of metal at an early age.




Tune in for this fun conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by Clicking Here.




Joseph Franklin McElroy kicks off the show by mentioning the sponsor of the show, which is of course his own, the Meadowlark Motel and also Some upcoming events at the motel include this weekend, May 6th through the 8th called Wildcrafting and Mother Nature’s natural garden program honoring women empowerment and celebrating Mother’s Day. The poem Joseph reads to us today is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called The Village Blacksmith. The poem talks about being proud of the things you've done in your life and being a role model. He introduces his guest, Matthew Shirey, owner of Shira Forge since 2005. Matthew grew up in Pennsylvania and went to college there as well. He also spent time in Montana and Oregon. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do, but he did know that he wanted to do blacksmithing as his career. At one point, he threw whatever he could in the back of his van and traveled to Waynesville, North Carolina when an opportunity came up from a friend who needed a blacksmith. Before this, he spent several years working with kids, and different faculties did carpentry work, washed dishes in kitchens, and more.


Matthew got into archeology and history while in high school which got him interested in blacksmithing. He walked into a heritage center in his hometown where they had a blacksmithing class. He spent a weekend one summer doing this and knew this was what he wanted to do for his career. Shirey says that it's the magic of forging, getting a steel pot, and being able to manipulate it. He also has always had an obsession with knives and metal and what you can create with them. Shirey talks about blacksmithing in the 18th and 19th century as well as today. He mostly learned a lot on his own through books, going to other blacksmiths, picking their brains, and the use of the internet. Shirey mentions Herschel, Frank, and John, otherwise known as the House Brothers, as influences. They make flintlock rifles, knives, axes, and other early American tools. Shirey’s main focus of what he makes are knives, axes, and carbon steel frying pans. He also explains the difference between carbon steel pans and cast iron pans. Carbon steel pans are super strong and have a little more advantage in various ways.


Shirey talks a bit about his business, Shira Forge, and not going into it full-time until about 2017. He mentions that he had a teaching job with Southwestern Community College and was enjoying it. He also worked as a welder and carpenter. Shirey also talks about the name of his business which is paying homage to his ancestors as well as being a part of the show Forged in the Fire on the History Channel in season 9. He applied twice to be in the show and was able to be a part of the show in 2021. In the show, there are three rounds of competition and 4 bladesmiths. In the first round, you would have three hours to forge and heat treat a knife within whatever challenge was set forth. In the second round for Shirey, he had to put a handle and guard on a knife within a limited time frame. The final two competitors would go home to their own shop for a couple of days and forge whatever weapon was given to them as a challenge. The judges would look at not only the aesthetic of tools but also the functionality. The grand prize was 10,000 dollars which allowed Shirey to invest in his business and own tools.


Shirey talks about wanting to get back into teaching such as maybe offering small workshops in his shop and reconnecting with other schools around the country. He may also be interested in creating YouTube videos as well. In the Great Smoky Mountains, Shirey likes to hunt and fish and just be outside whenever possible. In Sylva, he enjoys eating at the Guadalupe Café. Joseph also talks with Shirey about his favorite entertainment places to visit. They also talk about a celebration for Shirey’s win in the competition show which was held at the Lazy Hiker Taproom in Sylva. Shirey thanks Joseph for bringing him on the show to share his passion. You can find more about Matthew Shirey and his work at, and on Instagram at Shiraforge.



00:00:40.710 –> 00:00:42.060 Joseph McElroy: howdy welcome to

00:00:42.240 –> 00:00:52.500 Joseph McElroy: The gateway to the smokies podcast this podcast is about America’s most visited National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the surrounding towns.

00:00:53.040 –> 00:01:01.350 Joseph McElroy: This area is filled with ancient natural beauty and deep-storied history and rich mountain cultures that we explore with weekly episodes.

00:01:01.680 –> 00:01:12.630 Joseph McElroy: I’m Joseph Franklyn McElroy a man of the world, but also with deep roots in these mountains my family’s lived in these great smokies for over 200 years my business is in travel but my heart is in culture.

00:01:13.380 –> 00:01:22.320 Joseph McElroy: Today we’re gonna be talking about forging a blacksmithing career in the smoky mountains, but first I got a message from our sponsor which happens to be me.

00:01:23.670 –> 00:01:34.200 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place evocative of motor courts in the past yet modern and vibrant with a Chic Appalachian feel, a place for adventure and full relaxation.

00:01:34.860 –> 00:01:43.710 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place where you can fish in a mountain heritage trout stream grill the catch on fire and eat accompanied by a fine wine or craft beers.

00:01:44.160 –> 00:01:58.380 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place that old-time music and world cultural sound, there is no other place like the Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley North Carolina your smoky mountain adventures start with where you stay.

00:01:59.460 –> 00:02:08.160 Joseph McElroy: and other sponsors the smoky mountains in the surrounding areas of vacation destination for all season.

00:02:09.210 –> 00:02:15.510 Joseph McElroy: Some of the nation’s best hiking trails waterfalls outdoor adventures and family entertainment can be found, right here.

00:02:15.900 –> 00:02:27.390 Joseph McElroy: start your adventure by using that’s smokies plural adventure singular dot com to explore all the wonderful features of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

00:02:27.840 –> 00:02:32.730 Joseph McElroy: trails, waterfalls, cade’s cove, they got elk and historic.

00:02:33.450 –> 00:02:40.230 Joseph McElroy: buildings and more than check out the awesome family attractions and entertainment, you and your entire family can enjoy.

00:02:40.560 –> 00:02:50.940 Joseph McElroy: And if you’re looking to have an interesting life event you can find places to have interesting outdoor weddings or allotments or honeymoons or just romantic getaway.

00:02:51.690 –> 00:02:58.800 Joseph McElroy: The goal of is to become the leading information portal for adventures in the great smoky mountains.

00:02:59.700 –> 00:03:19.500 Joseph McElroy: will tell you about a few minutes events coming up here at the Meadowlark Motel we’re going to have a wonderful event for the celebration of mother’s day this weekend may 6 to the eighth 2022 is called wildcrafting in mother nature’s natural garden program with Illa Hatter

00:03:21.630 –> 00:03:25.860 Joseph McElroy: And it’s a weekend honoring female empowerment and iconic Appalachian women.

00:03:26.460 –> 00:03:31.710 Joseph McElroy: And that’s what better time to do that and mother’s day it kicks off Friday night when we will have.

00:03:32.100 –> 00:03:42.060 Joseph McElroy: acclaimed author wilderness survival expert Haywood County search and rescue team Member and record-setting endurance athlete Nancy East to present our Program.

00:03:42.600 –> 00:03:49.500 Joseph McElroy: moms moving mountains and she will experience to share experiences in the great outdoors as well as her.

00:03:49.890 –> 00:03:58.440 Joseph McElroy: amazing endurance hiking achievements and and a lot of our search and rescue stories that are quite interesting and then she’ll have a book signing of her.

00:03:59.340 –> 00:04:09.360 Joseph McElroy: New book and that’s $10 for admission and it’s free for the guests in the motel and then on Saturday in the afternoon we’re going to have a whole.

00:04:11.700 –> 00:04:25.620 Joseph McElroy: adventure with Illa Hatter who’s a legendary wildcrafting expert renowned author filmmaker instructor and tour guide for the great smoky mountains National Park at their elite field school.

00:04:26.640 –> 00:04:43.650 Joseph McElroy: she’s an expert on edible pan plants medicinal herbs and new things for tape pertaining to wildcraft foraging and Appalachian plants trees and flowers she’s been on TV shows and videos and books and has worked on his advisor for movies and TV shows.

00:04:45.030 –> 00:04:52.650 Joseph McElroy: And she will be presenting her beloved program mother’s nature natural garden and leading, which is talking about forging and all the things that.

00:04:53.310 –> 00:05:05.670 Joseph McElroy: You know that you can do with those plants and herbs in the mountains and then she’s actually going to lead a tour on the grounds of the Meadowlark Motel which has a large wooden recreation area and a.

00:05:06.870 –> 00:05:16.170 Joseph McElroy: Natural mountain heritage trout stream was and identifying nature’s bounty so you can actually get hands-on experience finding these things right in your backyard.

00:05:16.620 –> 00:05:25.500 Joseph McElroy: And then it will there will be that all will culminate with a free Barbecue supper and music by Michael Ogletree and friends and the admission, for that is $20 or.

00:05:26.190 –> 00:05:36.570 Joseph McElroy: Is free for motel guests, and then on Sunday morning, we have a mother’s brunch where they can have a enjoy cake and champagne at the motel so please come by if you can.

00:05:37.770 –> 00:05:49.500 Joseph McElroy: upcoming events at the festival grounds on March 13 and 14th there are the icons of hot rodding festival well you’ll get the 50s and 60s hot Rod and custom cars truck events.

00:05:50.640 –> 00:06:07.590 Joseph McElroy: And for models or 1969 and older and it’ll be the 50s and 60s music vintage vendors pinstripe or food vendors judging awards and presentations and so that I will look forward to that very much um, as you know, sometimes I’d like to do a poem.

00:06:09.630 –> 00:06:27.510 Joseph McElroy: About about that’s related to the content of the show that we’re gonna be doing and I found one is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who’s around for making their 1807-1882 and it’s called “the village blacksmith” but you know it’s I’m also.

00:06:28.800 –> 00:06:45.300 Joseph McElroy: It talks about you know it also talks a lot about do you know have lived life and to be proud of your accomplishments and the things that you’ve done and work every day with pride in that you know and some of that I, you know I spent 27 years in New York.

00:06:46.350 –> 00:06:52.290 Joseph McElroy: You know, doing a lot of things there and a mouse seasons come where I’m moving back to North Carolina.

00:06:52.890 –> 00:07:03.210 Joseph McElroy: And will be full time in the smoky mountain area now we’re actually gonna be living in Ashville and somehow this spoke to me as well, so let me tell you about this poem is.

00:07:03.720 –> 00:07:17.430 Joseph McElroy: Under a spreading chestnut tree, The village smithy stands; the Smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands, And the muscles of his brawny arms, Are strong as iron bands.

00:07:18.330 –> 00:07:28.350 Joseph McElroy: His hair is crisp and black, and long; His face is like the tan;

His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whatever he can,

00:07:29.190 –> 00:07:44.880 Joseph McElroy: And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man. Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge, With measured beat and slow,

00:07:45.420 –> 00:07:50.160 Joseph McElroy: Like a sexton ringing the village bell, the evening sun is low.

00:07:50.610 –> 00:08:04.710 Joseph McElroy: And children coming home from school look in at that open door they love to see that flaming forge and hear the bellows roar and catch the burning sparks that fly like chaff from a threshing floor.

00:08:05.580 –> 00:08:18.720 Joseph McElroy: He goes on Sunday to the church and sits amongst his boys; he hears the parson pray and he hears his daughter’s voice Singing in the village choir, and it makes his heart rejoice.

00:08:19.170 –> 00:08:32.490 Joseph McElroy: It sounds to him, like his mother’s voice, Singing in Paradise!

He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes, A tear out of his eyes.

00:08:33.870 –> 00:08:48.030 Joseph McElroy: Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done,

00:08:49.110 –> 00:09:11.160 Joseph McElroy: Has earned a night’s repose. Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life,  Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought.

00:09:13.320 –> 00:09:18.210 Joseph McElroy: So, today our guest is Matthew Shirey.

00:09:18.720 –> 00:09:21.930 Joseph McElroy: is an award-winning blacksmith and metalworking artist

00:09:21.960 –> 00:09:32.610 Joseph McElroy: who has resided in Sylva, N.C. for over 15 years and native of Pennsylvania, Matthew has been a full-time craftsman since 2017

00:09:32.970 –> 00:09:47.370 Joseph McElroy: and owner of Shira Forge since 2005. He is a member of the American Bladesmith Society and attended the John C. Campbell Folk School and Penland School of Craft. yeah, both of which we mentioned in this program before.

00:09:48.330 –> 00:09:56.730 Joseph McElroy: and breaking news he was also the winner of the 2022 Season 9 premiere of the History channel’s hit show Forged in Fire!

00:09:58.170 –> 00:10:09.330 Joseph McElroy: Matthew’s unique style is the result of studying 18th and 19th-century ironwork and cutlery combined with the lessons learned while forging all his products literally by hand.

00:10:10.290 –> 00:10:21.690 Joseph McElroy: And when he was in creating major function art in any shape he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and a notable Sylva photographer– and their two children. Hello Matthew!

00:10:22.200 –> 00:10:23.910 Joseph McElroy: hi how are you doing today.

00:10:23.970 –> 00:10:24.900 Mathew Shirey: I’m doing great.

00:10:25.320 –> 00:10:39.930 Joseph McElroy: yeah well you know, obviously we were talking about your recent national TV show, but I want to explore what you’ve done before that because I think the richness of your life is more important than the transit glory of a media these days.

00:10:41.100 –> 00:10:42.300 Joseph McElroy: But congrats on that.

00:10:43.590 –> 00:10:48.360 Joseph McElroy: So let’s talk about your journey, you came from Pennsylvania, where in Pennsylvania?

00:10:49.200 –> 00:10:55.620 Mathew Shirey: And I grew up in a little village called Mayport in Clarion County Pennsylvania, is the western part of the state.

00:10:56.850 –> 00:10:59.010 Mathew Shirey: Is kind of the northern tip of Appalachia.

00:11:00.780 –> 00:11:06.180 Joseph McElroy: cool and where did you what was your journey from there where did you go? After Pennsylvania?

00:11:06.720 –> 00:11:11.190 Mathew Shirey: my gosh I went I went to college right there and clarion county kind of.

00:11:12.270 –> 00:11:15.990 Mathew Shirey: was in and out of school a few times and then.

00:11:17.190 –> 00:11:23.970 Mathew Shirey: I made a couple of journeys out West spend a little time in Montana, and then lived in Oregon for about a year and a half and

00:11:25.110 –> 00:11:28.800 Mathew Shirey: That kind of fell through for me and I moved back to Pennsylvania and.

00:11:30.150 –> 00:11:38.790 Mathew Shirey: I was kind of in limbo and didn’t really know what I was going to do, I just knew at that point, I set my sights on blacksmithing as a career and

00:11:39.900 –> 00:11:47.520 Mathew Shirey: A friend of mine worked at Camp Daniel Boone down here in Waynesville North Carolina and he called me up and said hey if you’re looking for work, they.

00:11:47.970 –> 00:11:58.650 Mathew Shirey: They have an 18th-century living history program called boots bro village and their blacksmith bail out at the last minute, and they need someone in four days to be down here and ready to work for the summer.

00:11:59.340 –> 00:12:04.770 Mathew Shirey: And so I threw my forge and anvil and everything I had in the back minivan and cruise on down here.

00:12:05.520 –> 00:12:08.640 Joseph McElroy: Wow it’s that that was an opportune moment for you huh.

00:12:09.060 –> 00:12:11.220 Mathew Shirey: yeah yeah it’s pretty serendipitous.

00:12:11.310 –> 00:12:12.570 Joseph McElroy: Oh cool and.

00:12:13.680 –> 00:12:23.490 Joseph McElroy: So before that you, you just you found your calling is a blacksmith he didn’t really have a career, other than so your your your focus has been what you’ve achieved all along, right,

00:12:24.390 –> 00:12:31.230 Mathew Shirey: yeah I spent a number of years working with kids and different faculties and.

00:12:32.580 –> 00:12:40.050 Mathew Shirey: You know wash dishes in kitchens and did carpentry work and did you know did whatever I do pay the bills until till.

00:12:40.590 –> 00:12:43.050 Joseph McElroy: The other any other crafts, that you explored.

00:12:44.190 –> 00:12:59.310 Mathew Shirey: A I’ve done a lot of woodworking as well, I was, I was a shop teacher for six years before I made the jump into smithing full time, and so I did a lot of wind turning on the lane and got into building some banjos and you know I built.

00:13:00.450 –> 00:13:07.770 Mathew Shirey: an addition on our house and some other you know some other carpentry framing kind of work so we’ve done a lot of what as well cool.

00:13:08.280 –> 00:13:17.040 Joseph McElroy: Well we’re yeah I talked to a lot in this first segment, so now we have to explore how you came to blacksmithing and the next slide which we’re going to take a break right now okay.

00:15:33.030 –> 00:15:40.530 Joseph McElroy: Howdy, this is Joseph Franklyn McElroy back with the Gateway to the Smokies podcast, and my guest Matthew Shirey.

00:15:41.490 –> 00:15:59.370 Joseph McElroy: Some of you know that I like to often have a beer craft beer local craft beer when I’m on the shows, and today I am having an IPA called the king of the mountain from a local brewery here and Haywood county called Buju brewery and I, I recommend it highly it’s really it’s kind of good.

00:16:00.690 –> 00:16:03.540 Joseph McElroy: And Matt are you drinking water, you got something else that.

00:16:03.780 –> 00:16:04.920 Mathew Shirey: i’ve got a cup of tea.

00:16:05.550 –> 00:16:06.000 Okay.

00:16:09.330 –> 00:16:13.260 Joseph McElroy: So you have a story about how you became interested in and.

00:16:14.730 –> 00:16:19.650 Joseph McElroy: In vaccinating attended a workshop at a State farm state park near your hometown.

00:16:20.670 –> 00:16:33.300 Mathew Shirey: yeah I had an in high school I got into the living history of experimental archaeology stuff you know dressing like a frontiersman of the 1800s shooting flintlock rifles and that stuff.

00:16:33.900 –> 00:16:43.230 Mathew Shirey: And so that got me interested in the blacksmithing and I started looking locally for anybody that could teach me anything and help me get-go and

00:16:44.250 –> 00:16:57.870Mathew Shirey: I happen to walk into like a heritage Center and cook for a state park and Northwest Pennsylvania, and they have some classes going on that summer and it just so happened they had a weekend blacksmith and class with a couple of local blacksmiths and.

00:16:58.890 –> 00:17:12.720Mathew Shirey: So I signed up and showed up and spend the weekend standing out in the hot sun fortune away and pretty much knew at the end of that weekend that this was something I had to do, and hopefully would someday be able to do it for a living and.

00:17:13.770 –> 00:17:18.720 Mathew Shirey: One of the blacksmiths that taught the class ended up calling me a week or two later he scored.

00:17:19.590 –> 00:17:39.090 Mathew Shirey: An old champion hand crank riveters forge and were nice enough to give it to me from 50 bucks when it was worth probably 200, and so I got home and set that up and somebody else gave me an anvil they had sitting in a barn forever and I that was it I bought a bag of coal and started forging.

00:17:39.600 –> 00:17:50.010 Joseph McElroy: fabulous So what do you think you know you said you had been would work or two is that the hands-on what separated from doing woodwork what made it your life’s calling.

00:17:51.600 –> 00:18:01.500 Mathew Shirey: I think, just the magic of forging you know just getting that steel pod and being able to manipulate it install it, and shape it into whatever I wanted.

00:18:01.860 –> 00:18:08.010 Mathew Shirey: and make something functional and I just, you know as long as I can remember, I always had an obsession with knives.

00:18:08.370 –> 00:18:22.560 Mathew Shirey: And one you know was always trying to make when my dad shop when I was a kid and whatnot frying and old files and saw blades and stuff so just you know woodworking is fine there’s a lot of things I like about what but metals just were attacked for me.

00:18:23.160 –> 00:18:29.790 Joseph McElroy: But you know I can understand you know, besides being a businessman right I’ve actually been an artist as well you know a few pieces here and there.

00:18:30.240 –> 00:18:40.050 Joseph McElroy: But the thing that was the essence, for me, was learning to really draw you know, and I tried lots of other things, but I started learning to draw and lots of media, and I just felt.

00:18:40.710 –> 00:18:55.170 Joseph McElroy: I felt like a real pleasant emotional experience when I just let myself get lost in that sort of right brain left brain dichotomy and you know it’s almost like there’s you get a buzz.

00:18:56.610 –> 00:19:04.860 Joseph McElroy: Right, so you know when you find your medium, you know it’s like seeing in your blood right.

00:19:05.100 –> 00:19:20.220 Mathew Shirey: yeah yeah getting in that creative zone, you know the rest of the world kind of disappears and you know I find myself up with a shot, two or three hours will go by and I’m kind of unaware of it, you know completely immersed in the process and kind of lose myself, you know.

00:19:20.940 –> 00:19:28.290 Joseph McElroy: But it’s interesting somebody could walk in and you bet you when you’re in that phase and then start talking to you, and you can look at them and you can’t even understand what they’re saying.

00:19:28.740 –> 00:19:29.610 Mathew Shirey: yeah sometimes.

00:19:31.140 –> 00:19:37.890 Joseph McElroy: Right it’s like it takes a second for you to switch your consciousness so that you could actually you know speaking the language.

00:19:38.400 –> 00:19:40.890 Mathew Shirey: Man yeah I’ve got to help her one day a week and.

00:19:42.300 –> 00:19:55.110 Mathew Shirey: Sometimes I run them out of their little earlier than I intended to you because I just need to have the space to myself and not have the distraction, you know and not have that kind of need to communicate I just need to be able to like focus on what I’m doing.

00:19:56.550 –> 00:20:03.120 Joseph McElroy: So that you say you I mean I read that you focus of your focus sort of like 18th-century blacksmithing right?

00:20:04.140 –> 00:20:11.100 Joseph McElroy: Is that different than the 1920 century blacksmithing or there’s it just the tools or what is it.

00:20:11.820 –> 00:20:18.000 Mathew Shirey: Well, you know I use modern tools I’ve got a hydraulic press and power hammer and belt Sander and all of that.

00:20:18.540 –> 00:20:27.780 Mathew Shirey: I’m not you know not doing everything in 18th-century manner, but a lot of the process is still the same as it was hundreds of years ago, I mean I’m still.

00:20:28.230 –> 00:20:43.050 Terri Clark: You know, forging and doing a lot of the same stuff and I think ultimately I’m a lot of times I’m trying to make things that fit into that time period are period direct for that time period and authentic for that time period.

00:20:44.520 –> 00:20:51.750 Joseph McElroy: So you went to I saw you with some really good craft schools is that how you learn or did you also learn a lot on your own.

00:20:53.130 –> 00:20:54.720 Mathew Shirey: I have mostly learned, on my own.

00:20:54.810 –> 00:21:04.350 Mathew Shirey: As a bigger yeah when I started, you know the Internet was kind of a new thing at our fingertips, and so I started digging on there and.

00:21:04.830 –> 00:21:15.270 Mathew Shirey: Any books, I could find on the blacksmithing and I was reading, and you know when I lived in Oregon I kind of found a couple of local blacksmiths and just started hanging out of their shop and.

00:21:15.840 –> 00:21:21.510 Mathew Shirey: Picking their brains as much as I could, but you know, mostly just hours and hours at the forge stumbling through it.

00:21:22.560 –> 00:21:29.460 Mathew Shirey: You know I’ve got scrapped knives and X is laying everywhere that are a failure, you know failed attempts.

00:21:31.740 –> 00:21:39.480 Mathew Shirey: Then you know when I when I moved here, I was here for a few years and took a class in school and a Penland, and you know, I was pretty.

00:21:40.800 –> 00:21:44.970 Mathew Shirey: Pretty established as a blacksmith by then, but those those classes definitely.

00:21:46.320 –> 00:21:49.050 Mathew Shirey: You know, improve my capabilities quite a bit.

00:21:49.440 –> 00:21:59.580 Joseph McElroy: They give you your classes and help you get into some specific texting techniques that that other person spent that time that you did on yours.

00:21:59.670 –> 00:22:07.770 Joseph McElroy: Right and you don’t have to spend that time, but you know you have a specific board or it could give you an idea of what you need to do for certain pieces that you’re working on.

00:22:08.130 –> 00:22:15.750 Joseph McElroy: yeah yeah so that’s cool do you have any influences that you consider important to you.

00:22:18.810 –> 00:22:20.130 Joseph McElroy: there’s influences.

00:22:21.240 –> 00:22:21.990 Mathew Shirey: say that again.

00:22:22.380 –> 00:22:24.600 Joseph McElroy: mentors or influences, you know.

00:22:24.960 –> 00:22:30.360 Mathew Shirey: I again grew up with an interest in early American frontier stuff.

00:22:31.410 –> 00:22:36.720 Mathew Shirey: I don’t know if you’re familiar with the House brothers out of woodbury Kentucky herschel frank and john.

00:22:37.650 –> 00:22:54.000 Mathew Shirey They make flintlock rifles and knives and axes and kind of the whole gamut of early American tools and their work was always really inspiring to me again when I was in high school I discovered the Foxfire books.

00:22:54.360 –> 00:22:54.720 Joseph McElroy: Oh yeah.

00:22:56.190 –> 00:23:00.630 Mathew Shirey: Those have been a an endless resource to me and a source of inspiration.

00:23:03.120 –> 00:23:20.730 Mathew Shirey: I outside of the early American kind of stuff I got into the work of our Paley alive when I first got started on his early stuff you know I did some architectural ironwork for a while so engage in fireplace screens and stuff and so His work was always really inspiring to me.

00:23:22.380 –> 00:23:24.570 Joseph McElroy: Well, it will come and what was the first thing you made?

00:23:25.770 –> 00:23:29.580 Mathew Shirey: The first thing I made in that workshop was a fork and a little bracelet.

00:23:30.150 –> 00:23:31.050 Joseph McElroy: Did you still have them.

00:23:31.710 –> 00:23:32.820 Mathew Shirey: I do not know.

00:23:32.910 –> 00:23:36.690 Mathew Shirey: Oh, I have no idea where those ended up, I actually may have them.

00:23:36.690 –> 00:23:38.370 Mathew Shirey: Somewhere but I don’t know where they’re at.

00:23:38.820 –> 00:23:41.220 Joseph McElroy: With one of the first things that you made it to still have.

00:23:42.600 –> 00:23:43.230 Mathew Shirey: gosh.

00:23:44.700 –> 00:23:50.130 Mathew Shirey: I still have a couple of knives I made years ago that I don’t think I would let see the light of day.

00:23:52.080 –> 00:24:02.850 Joseph McElroy: Listen i’m you know i’m sitting in a room in the motel where I’ve put a lot of my old artworks and you know I look at it there’s like this stuff is sucks but you know.

00:24:04.860 –> 00:24:11.760 Joseph McElroy: it’s also my private history now so it’s like I also remember the fun I had from discovering things from it so.

00:24:12.030 –> 00:24:18.750 Joseph McElroy: Right yeah so yeah you didn’t want it to get out of here and the commandment is burning when I die.

00:24:19.140 –> 00:24:19.800 Mathew Shirey: Here right.

00:24:22.320 –> 00:24:24.630 Joseph McElroy: So do you remember the first item, you so.

00:24:28.050 –> 00:24:39.840 Mathew Shirey: I think I think the first thing I ever sold was a friend of mine, asked me to make a dinner triangle, she wanted to hang and dinner triangle on the porch and I remember it being.

00:24:41.640 –> 00:24:44.460 Mathew Shirey: quite a bit lower on the bar than I was aiming for.

00:24:45.810 –> 00:24:48.420 Mathew Shirey: But she still was kind enough to pay me for it.

00:24:52.290 –> 00:24:56.460 Joseph McElroy: The first time I ever saw was my dad had you know somebody that was from.

00:24:58.140 –> 00:25:07.290 Joseph McElroy: Some car company and they wanted a little painting on a thing in their kitchen on the thing going over the sink, so I made it I got paid for it was like wow yeah.

00:25:09.030 –> 00:25:11.010 Joseph McElroy: They actually put it up, they actually put it up.

00:25:13.980 –> 00:25:18.150 Joseph McElroy: I was like dumbstruck that they actually thought it was worthwhile putting it up so that was fun.

00:25:19.920 –> 00:25:20.880 Joseph McElroy: So um.

00:25:24.480 –> 00:25:27.480 Joseph McElroy: What is the, what are the types of stuff that you make right now?

00:25:28.500 –> 00:25:33.480 Mathew Shirey: I am focused mainly on knives axes and carbon steel frying camps.

00:25:34.440 –> 00:25:42.570 Mathew Shirey: that’s really like I said I got into doing architectural ironwork for a little bit I kind of thought that was where I needed to go to make a living at it and.

00:25:42.960 –> 00:25:45.420 Mathew Shirey: A friend of mine who I think you’ve had on here, David Brew and.

00:25:46.380 –> 00:25:53.490 Mathew Shirey: He said listen, I spent most of my career doing architectural ironwork, and I wish I’d spent most of that time-making knives and axes

00:25:54.000 –> 00:26:03.210 Terri Clark: And he said, do what you love and you know it’ll come to fruition don’t get boxed into doing something that’s going to make you miserable.

00:26:03.720 –> 00:26:15.120 Terri Clark: And so I kind of stepped away from the architectural ironwork a few years ago and start focusing on knives and axes and got into making these frying camps because I saw that there was a market for it and.

00:26:16.470 –> 00:26:18.240 Terri Clark: I have no regrets, I really.

00:26:19.320 –> 00:26:26.190 Terri Clark: You know I think about still doing architectural ironwork I wouldn’t enjoy it anymore, and I wouldn’t you know I wouldn’t be happy doing it so.

00:26:26.460 –> 00:26:41.280 Joseph McElroy: Why would, I have a question, you know I’ve gotten interested in campfires and campfire cooking and you know cast iron cooking but I’ve been intrigued by the carbon steel stuff what’s the difference between the carbon steel pans in the cast iron pan.

00:26:42.090 –> 00:26:52.440 Terri Clark: The main difference is the creative process, you know cast iron is just that its desire and it’s been melted and forward into form and cast.

00:26:53.970 –> 00:27:03.570 Terri Clark: It tends to be you know more brittle than carbon steel cast iron pans can break, whereas carbon steel they’re forced to shape.

00:27:04.620 –> 00:27:18.690 Terri Clark: You could throw them against a brick wall and they are not going to break I mean they’re super strong functionally speaking they’re very similar my pans are probably a little lighter compared to the same size as cat and cast iron and.

00:27:19.980 –> 00:27:33.960 Terri Clark: I think the biggest advantage my pants have over cast iron is a longer handle so it doesn’t it’ll get warm and we’ll get hot if you’re cooking Heidi but, for the most part, you don’t ever need another name for it and they’re a little thinner and smoother than cast iron as well.

00:27:34.110 –> 00:27:38.040 Joseph McElroy: Can you saute with a cast with a carbon steel pan.

00:27:38.940 –> 00:27:39.420Mathew Shirey: Day.

00:27:39.540 –> 00:27:44.370 Joseph McElroy: make you can see her it’s hard to do it in a cast iron to do when you go shake it and all that stuff.

00:27:44.490 –> 00:27:45.660 Joseph McElroy: Right every right.

00:27:45.960 –> 00:27:48.750 Mathew Shirey: yeah yeah that’s something little handles hard to get Ahold of in.

00:27:48.750 –> 00:27:49.860 Mathew Shirey: My Nice.

00:27:49.920 –> 00:27:55.080 Mathew Shirey: curve handled, and you can get that I can’t do, but if you can do the flip you can do these.

00:27:55.620 –> 00:28:00.240 Joseph McElroy: You know I’m six foot five 300 pounds I got a little bit strange, but still even tough for me now.

00:28:00.570 –> 00:28:01.110 Mathew Shirey: So yeah.

00:28:02.610 –> 00:28:07.050 Joseph McElroy: Well, listen, we got to take another break we’ll come back we’ll talk more about your art the things that you’ve done.

00:30:13.500 –> 00:30:22.650 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklyn McElroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcast with my guest Matthew Shirey so Matthew.

00:30:23.580 –> 00:30:39.600 Joseph McElroy: I was reading on your website you formed here forge in 2005 but you didn’t actually go to in full time in 2017 so imagine having kids yeah things like that it took a while for the business build-up is that the reason you to get to be able to full time with that?

00:30:40.140 –> 00:30:55.200 Mathew Shirey: yeah and through the bulk of that time I had a teaching job with Southwestern Community College, I was teaching shop and local high school and yeah it was a really good job and I enjoyed it and so there’s no reason to give it up and then.

00:30:56.700 –> 00:31:07.110 Mathew Shirey: One day, the funding for a dried up and things changed, and I was out the door, so I spent a year or two working as a welder and as a carpenter and

00:31:07.800 –> 00:31:16.980 Mathew Shirey: I was driving all the way up to cashers every day and I was kind of sick of that so I said, you know what I’ve got a shop here that I can make a living in and so I took the leap.

00:31:17.970 –> 00:31:22.890 Joseph McElroy: that’s fabulous as I saw you one different you got lots of different recognition somebody should go to your

00:31:23.340 –> 00:31:34.770 Joseph McElroy: Your website we’ll talk about that the end see that all the pressure got you’ve done some fabulous thing that I think it’s pretty inspiring for anybody wanting to be in the craft a world that you can actually make a living at it right.

00:31:35.220 –> 00:31:38.880 Joseph McElroy: yeah so so you.

00:31:39.990 –> 00:31:43.290 Joseph McElroy: So what is where did the name Shira forged come from.

00:31:44.310 –> 00:31:45.600 Mathew Shirey: Shira forge and.

00:31:46.140 –> 00:31:47.640 Mathew Shireyk: Sorry sorry that’s okay.

00:31:49.380 –> 00:31:51.720 Mathew Shirey: it’s the original spelling of my last name.

00:31:52.860 –> 00:32:05.970 Mathew Shirey: my ancestors have been in western Pennsylvania, since the late 1700s and you know, over time, that name got changed to Shirey but the original spelling a few hundred years ago, was Shira so.

00:32:07.170 –> 00:32:11.400 Mathew Shirey: You know I’ve always been really fascinated with my ancestry and one on so it was kind of a.

00:32:12.690 –> 00:32:14.250 Mathew Shirey: paying homage to my ancestors.

00:32:14.970 –> 00:32:18.120 Joseph McElroy: that’s fabulous so you say your name I started saying the Shira right.

00:32:18.450 –> 00:32:25.950 Joseph McElroy: mm hmm yeah you know I get these I get you to know Bob Plott who’s the head of the smoky mountain.

00:32:28.770 –> 00:32:46.230 Joseph McElroy: Mountain Heritage Center for the Meadowlark you know introduces me to people and provides you know the background information and sometimes I don’t have the time because, like right now I’m moving into Asheville I don’t get to do the research on your name, so I apologize for not correct.

00:32:47.730 –> 00:32:57.090 Joseph McElroy: yeah so so life is good in the smoky mountains right I’m moving back, I obviously always wanted to be here, you know, but I had to try my

00:32:57.810 –> 00:33:11.550 Joseph McElroy: adventures in the world and the particular line of business, I was in required to be there, so what’s your careers for flourishing and then you got to be at a TV hit series, how did that happen forged by fire forge in the fire.

00:33:11.850 –> 00:33:19.020 Mathew Shirey: And so it’s been on you know, I was just on the season premiere of season nine so it’s been on eight years now.

00:33:20.580 –> 00:33:26.070 Mathew Shirey: And, of course, you know, being a blacksmith, I was interested in the show soon as I saw it and.

00:33:27.270 –> 00:33:38.070 Mathew Shirey: Five or six years ago I applied to be on it and I didn’t get a call back I interviewed and all that but I didn’t get a callback and then a couple of years ago, I decided to try again and.

00:33:39.300 –> 00:33:50.310 Mathew Shirey: got the interview, and they said we’ll be in touch and then the pandemic happened, and they said logo everything’s on hold, right now, but we’ll be in touch and so.

00:33:51.000 –> 00:34:02.610 Mathew Shirey: Last July I got the call from them had the plane ticket was all said to go film and two days before I was supposed to fly out I got tested positive for covid

00:34:03.480 –> 00:34:04.260 Mathew Shirey: Know anywhere.

00:34:04.560 –> 00:34:12.180 Mathew Shirey: yeah and then by the end of October, they called me again and said, are you ready, this time, and so it all came together.

00:34:12.750 –> 00:34:19.020 Joseph McElroy: cool and for people listening, can you explain the format of the show to us and how you participated.

00:34:19.320 –> 00:34:29.250 Mathew Shirey: Sure, so there are three rounds of competition there is four bladesmiths in the first round, you have three hours to forge and he treated a knife.

00:34:29.730 –> 00:34:44.730 Mathew Shirey: Within whatever parameters and challenge, they said for my episode, it was a crushed car challenge, so when we walked out on the floor, they uncovered a car that had been crushed and we had to salvage our steel for the night, out of that.

00:34:45.330 –> 00:34:46.350 Mathew Shirey: bed hidden some.

00:34:46.560 –> 00:34:51.600 Mathew Shirey: Some good pieces of steel in there, or you know, in my case, I found a piece in the front end.

00:34:52.770 –> 00:34:58.320 Mathew Shirey: CV joint That was really good steel that I can make a knife out of so anyway, the first round.

00:34:58.830 –> 00:35:11.700 Mathew Shirey: One person’s eliminated second round, you have we had two hours to put a handle and a guard on the knife and then they put it through some pretty severe testing and a second person was eliminated.

00:35:12.210 –> 00:35:25.020 Mathew Shirey: And then the final to go home to their own shot for four or five days and for whatever epic weapons they choose, and so, for us it was down to me and a fella named Mike from Nebraska.

00:35:26.370 –> 00:35:36.780Mathew Shirey: We had a fortune a pair of curve guitars which are a weapon from ancient India they had to match that have folders in the blades and some other parameters to follow.

00:35:37.680 –> 00:35:51.300 Mathew Shirey: So got back down here it’s been four days in the in my shop with a camera crew and forge these weapons went back up to the set and the judges put them through a final round of testing and then choose the winner.

00:35:52.080 –> 00:35:55.020 Joseph McElroy: Well, and what’s what are they what’s their criteria for the winner.

00:35:56.700 –> 00:36:02.460 Mathew Shirey: A they put it through you know it had to meet all the parameters blade length shape all that.

00:36:03.510 –> 00:36:10.590 Mathew Shirey: And then they put it through all kinds of testing of us there was like a stabbing test with the ballistics gummy.

00:36:11.730 –> 00:36:13.680 Mathew Shirey: A slicing test with.

00:36:15.150 –> 00:36:27.570 Mathew Shirey: Some some Kane kind of things, so you know they went through several different tests see how the knives perform, and then the judges kind of step away for a minute and make their decision.

00:36:28.650 –> 00:36:33.780 Mathew Shirey: So basically they’re judging not only the aesthetics, of the weapon, but the functionality of it so.

00:36:34.020 –> 00:36:42.030 Joseph McElroy: A little sort of a remote way it’s like the chef competition show that, were they going to cook based upon the parameters of the.

00:36:43.140 –> 00:36:43.560 Joseph McElroy: yeah.

00:36:43.680 –> 00:36:47.400 Joseph McElroy: Right, how did you know what to Qatar, it looks like or how.

00:36:48.390 –> 00:36:55.830 Mathew Shirey: I had a vague familiarity with them before you know the reveal on the final round.

00:36:57.390 –> 00:37:02.220 Mathew Shirey: And I did you know I I did a little research and looked at some Google images and whatnot.

00:37:03.540 –> 00:37:05.340 Mathew Shirey: And then just kind of went for it, you know.

00:37:05.850 –> 00:37:08.460 Joseph McElroy: cool how it was the grand prize.

00:37:09.030 –> 00:37:11.400 Joseph McElroy: $10,000 so bad right.

00:37:12.090 –> 00:37:13.710 Joseph McElroy: Nice forever right.

00:37:14.970 –> 00:37:18.390 Joseph McElroy: And you get to go back on future shows right we compete against other champions.

00:37:18.480 –> 00:37:32.490 Mathew Shirey: If they ever call me I’d be happy to go back often they do have you know, a championship round or a beat the judges round or something like that, where they call people back on you know, keeping my fingers crossed that I get that call next season or something.

00:37:33.090 –> 00:37:34.230 Joseph McElroy: And how is it.

00:37:35.280 –> 00:37:39.960 Joseph McElroy: How is it changed your life personally and professionally or are people asked every autograph now.

00:37:40.980 –> 00:37:45.540 Mathew Shirey: I’ve had one little boy, and my son at a soccer game asked for my autograph which was pretty funny.

00:37:48.090 –> 00:37:53.670 Mathew Shirey: You know professionally it’s allowed me to invest in my business a little bit more and upgrade some of my tooling and stuff.

00:37:54.810 –> 00:38:04.530 Mathew Shirey: And you know it’s here in the Sylva area I definitely have people I’ve never met before if come up and congratulate me and whatnot I feel like I’ve.

00:38:05.490 –> 00:38:16.440 Mathew Shirey: probably got more local business from it, than anything else you know, being in the local paper and whatnot it’s given me some exposure here in Western North Carolina and it’s been really good.

00:38:18.120 –> 00:38:19.350 Joseph McElroy: it’s helped your business that.

00:38:19.800 –> 00:38:21.390 Mathew Shirey: Sure sure absolutely.

00:38:21.960 –> 00:38:28.110 Joseph McElroy: cool I mean that’s good I mean yeah I mean these reality TV shows can be nice.

00:38:28.800 –> 00:38:33.960 Joseph McElroy: A nice thing, but they don’t really change your business like that much I have a friend of mine that we wonder.

00:38:34.470 –> 00:38:44.430 Joseph McElroy: What does that project runway or was in it really change your fashion life that much so she had one or two years of things, but it’s also good to have on your resume yeah.

00:38:44.610 –> 00:38:50.250 Joseph McElroy: yeah yeah you’re still a fairly young man right, you are what your 30s.

00:38:50.280 –> 00:38:56.010 Joseph McElroy: Or maybe 44 So what are your future plans you got any projects you’re looking to do.

00:38:58.350 –> 00:39:07.680 Mathew Shirey: I plan on just continuing doing what I’m doing you know, trying to improve my craft get better what I’m doing you know I I’m.

00:39:08.160 –> 00:39:18.090 Mathew Shirey: I’m eligible at this point to test for my journeymen stamp with the American blade Smith society so in the next year or so I’m hoping to go through that process and get my journeymen stamp.

00:39:19.830 –> 00:39:24.330 Mathew Shirey: You know I’m hoping here in the next year or two to start teaching again.

00:39:25.800 –> 00:39:29.100Mathew Shirey: i’ve taught classes in different different places.

00:39:30.420 –> 00:39:35.610 Mathew Shirey: With the last one being Haywood Community college and flown tops and blacksmith and classes there and.

00:39:36.000 –> 00:39:47.310 Mathew Shirey: I took a break for the last two or three years, focused on my business, but I think you know the older I get more I’d like to get back into teaching some you know pass on what I’ve spent 20 years figuring out.

00:39:48.720 –> 00:39:51.030 Joseph McElroy: cool are you doing any other product bugs.

00:39:52.770 –> 00:39:54.630 Mathew Shirey: really what I’m trying to do now is.

00:39:56.550 –> 00:40:10.620 Mathew Shirey: make more one-off knives I’ve been kind of making them in batches and that sort of thing and I’m going to continue doing that, but I really want to get to the place where I can kind of make what I’m inspired to make and make some more one of a kind pieces.

00:40:11.040 –> 00:40:14.040 Joseph McElroy: I said, you made a lot of a belt, a lot of belt bags

00:40:15.450 –> 00:40:17.400 Joseph McElroy: Like what you’re wearing your belt was that with me.

00:40:17.880 –> 00:40:28.020 Mathew Shirey: yeah just kind of everyday carry a knife or running knife, you know I I like to carry a fixed blade knife so I’ve always got a little three or four-inch blade on me.

00:40:29.160 –> 00:40:31.350 Mathew Shirey: So I make a lot, a lot of knives like that.

00:40:32.340 –> 00:40:38.010 Joseph McElroy: You know now that I’m back in North Carolina could carry a knife with me all the time, you know New York, you have a limit of like four inches.

00:40:39.930 –> 00:40:50.070 Joseph McElroy: You know I want, I want to talk to you, I do want to you know I’m getting into the whole cast iron and cooking and heritage cooking and things like that I do want to talk to you about doing.

00:40:50.610 –> 00:41:00.750 Joseph McElroy: A custom, you know some sort of you know, this is it’s trivial but it’s I think it’s important to I want to do a knife that looks good on camera.

00:41:01.200 –> 00:41:09.390 Joseph McElroy: Right yeah right, I think that if we’re doing cooking shows this guy looks like oh wow that’s really cool what somebody looks at night right.

00:41:09.840 –> 00:41:12.570 Mathew Shirey: So maybe I’ve been messing with the mask is quite a bit lately.

00:41:13.380 –> 00:41:18.090 Mathew Shirey: You know, you know if you’re familiar with I’m sure you are made it looks pretty.

00:41:18.660 –> 00:41:19.740 Joseph McElroy: yeah right yeah.

00:41:20.280 –> 00:41:31.710 Joseph McElroy: Oh also you talking about mountain heritage is just look at things like the old hickory I mean I don’t know how good they are I don’t want to necessarily be that primitive but you know the same time there’s a sort of authenticity to that right.

00:41:32.010 –> 00:41:33.180 Joseph McElroy: yeah yeah.

00:41:33.570 –> 00:41:35.970 Mathew Shirey: yeah and I do a lot of my knives I leave some.

00:41:35.970 –> 00:41:49.920 Mathew Shirey: forge texture you know I you know, some of them I clean up the whole way, but I really like that for texture and that kind of primitive natural look, you know I want I, like my knives and stuff to look like they belong when they’re in the woods, you know.

00:41:51.870 –> 00:42:02.850 Joseph McElroy: Oh that’s exactly the kind of thing that I think works well and you also do the senior he did butcher boots or whatever there are big butcher blades.

00:42:03.120 –> 00:42:04.740 Mathew Shirey: mm hmm like a cleaver.

00:42:04.920 –> 00:42:05.610 Joseph McElroy: Cleaver yeah.

00:42:05.700 –> 00:42:06.900 Joseph McElroy: yeah so.

00:42:08.490 –> 00:42:12.450 Joseph McElroy: From my own, I have had half the beer so I’m not drawing blanks on for certain.

00:42:14.250 –> 00:42:15.600 Mathew Shirey: that’s why I stuck with the tea.

00:42:17.190 –> 00:42:21.750 Joseph McElroy: Well, it makes me a little more loquacious but sometimes it makes me less intelligent.

00:42:25.440 –> 00:42:32.760 Joseph McElroy: yeah but it’s worthwhile right, I guess is that as a model not like I’m live wait wait wait I’m live but it’s maybe.

00:42:34.710 –> 00:42:39.480 Joseph McElroy: So so so that’s great and.

00:42:40.680 –> 00:42:59.520 Joseph McElroy: Now I am and what there was one of the lines you do can’t you’ve done some of those things like kitchen stuff and ironwork and things like that would you do anything like camp kitchen experiences, you know, like setups and stuff like that girl we’re.

00:42:59.520 –> 00:43:05.580 Mathew Shirey: not really you know my frying pan to work rate on an open fire, just as well as the stove.

00:43:06.720 –> 00:43:18.000 Mathew Shirey: In the past, I made some fireplace set or you know fire irons and whatnot for a campfire cooking but I don’t really do that kind of stuff for myself, these days, but I don’t really make them sell cool.

00:43:18.540 –> 00:43:31.320 Joseph McElroy: Well, we have to take our last break here and then we’ll come back and we’ll talk about you know some of the other things that you’ve done, and you know the things that you find appealing about the scope and so.

00:43:32.220 –> 00:43:32.940 Mathew Shirey: sounds good.


00:45:33.150 –> 00:45:40.620 Joseph McElroy: howdy, this is Joseph Franklyn McElroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcasts and my guest Matthew Shirey.

00:45:41.070 –> 00:45:41.820 Mathew Shirey: Shirey

00:45:42.060 –> 00:45:43.530 Joseph McElroy: Sorry sorry oh my.

00:45:45.180 –> 00:45:47.550 Mathew Shirey: The business is Shira the last name is Shirey

00:45:48.000 –> 00:45:52.980 Joseph McElroy: Shirey okay so Shirey okay, so I got it now I’ll remember it so.

00:45:54.180 –> 00:46:03.150 Joseph McElroy: we’re talking about blacksmithing in the mountains so um you mentioned, you want to get back into teaching you think you might open your own school.

00:46:04.230 –> 00:46:11.280 Mathew Shirey: Nah, I don’t think I have any interest in that I think I might start offering some small workshops in my shop.

00:46:12.330 –> 00:46:21.120Mathew Shirey: I can my shots pretty small, I can only accommodate probably three people in a class but i’m thinking about doing some like little weekend workshops in my shop and.

00:46:22.020 –> 00:46:30.300 Mathew Shirey: Maybe reconnecting with Haywood Community College and starting to reach out to John C Campbell folks school and some other schools around the country like that.

00:46:31.830 –> 00:46:32.040 Mathew Shirey: they’re there’s.

00:46:32.670 –> 00:46:34.800 Mathew Shirey: Some really great facilities out there, I don’t need to.

00:46:34.800 –> 00:46:35.430 Mathew Shirey: build one.

00:46:36.240 –> 00:46:44.220 Joseph McElroy: On my you know your shop could be a school, but it would be all the students would be online right you could do a YouTube thing.

00:46:44.370 –> 00:46:45.570 Mathew Shirey: Or you could be yeah.

00:46:45.630 –> 00:46:47.040 Joseph McElroy: You do live podcast.

00:46:47.070 –> 00:46:56.190 Mathew Shirey: Right yeah my 13-year-old is really getting into making videos and he’s been helping me with some videos and stuff so there may come a point where I start making some more YouTube.

00:46:56.760 –> 00:47:09.300 Joseph McElroy: So you have somebody that knows how to do YouTube videos and they have a wife that it’s great at the lighting I, you should be able, you know you should be able to do something, maybe you just might want to get somebody to help me write some scripts or something like that, but.

00:47:09.300 –> 00:47:11.220 Mathew Shirey: yeah I’ve got a couple of ideas.

00:47:11.250 –> 00:47:13.320 Mathew Shirey: just got to find time to make it happen.

00:47:15.330 –> 00:47:30.300 Joseph McElroy: cool so you know the show is also about a little bit about tourism in the mountains and I love talking to really great people and cultural icons and things but also So what do you enjoy doing in the Smoky Mountain?

00:47:32.310 –> 00:47:33.540 Mathew Shirey: Anything outside.

00:47:33.750 –> 00:47:34.470 Joseph McElroy: You know, we.

00:47:34.590 –> 00:47:38.490 Mathew Shirey: try to get on the lakes and rivers, as much as possible in the summer.

00:47:39.810 –> 00:47:44.610 Mathew Shirey: We do a lot of hiking I’m an avid hunter and fisherman when I can find time to do it.

00:47:45.930 –> 00:47:52.230 Mathew Shirey: Just you know the natural beauty of this place is what brought me here and we try to make the most of it.

00:47:52.470 –> 00:47:57.450 Joseph McElroy: cool and when you’re in Silva, what is your favorite place to get breakfast.

00:47:58.740 –> 00:48:02.520 Mathew Shirey: My favorite place to eat period and Sylvia Guadalupe CAFE.

00:48:02.970 –> 00:48:04.950 Mathew Shirey: Ah yeah mainstream.

00:48:05.100 –> 00:48:08.820 Joseph McElroy: I love you get that tray with the multiple salsas right.

00:48:09.120 –> 00:48:10.500 Joseph McElroy: yeah That is incredible.

00:48:12.750 –> 00:48:22.890 Joseph McElroy: yeah we went there during covid you know and you were still able to sit on a picnic table after and get that salsas those multiple VM and everything else there was great.

00:48:23.130 –> 00:48:23.460 yeah.

00:48:24.690 –> 00:48:29.730 Joseph McElroy: How about entertainment, what kind of it was a great entertainment place and so.

00:48:30.510 –> 00:48:36.180 Mathew Shirey: I innovation brewing both in Sylva their Hillsborough location, they often have music.

00:48:38.460 –> 00:48:44.610 Mathew Shirey: let’s see where else you know every Friday night, they have music down the bridge park in town in the summers.

00:48:46.020 –> 00:48:47.640 Mathew Shirey: So that’s you know.

00:48:48.660 –> 00:48:51.000 Mathew Shirey: Those are kind of our general go-to places.

00:48:52.230 –> 00:48:55.890 Mathew Shirey: Honestly, especially since the pandemic we don’t make it out very much but.

00:48:56.400 –> 00:48:56.790 Joseph McElroy: yeah.

00:48:56.940 –> 00:48:58.680 Mathew Shirey: When we do those are the places we had.

00:48:59.430 –> 00:49:02.790 Joseph McElroy: And now you know you’ve raised your children here in the smokies right.

00:49:03.210 –> 00:49:03.570 Mathew Shirey: mm hmm.

00:49:03.900 –> 00:49:14.430 Joseph McElroy: So now I’m would be bringing three and a half-year-olds here alright, so you had you’ve had children of that age, what are the things I should do with three and a half-year-olds in the smokies but can’t get anywhere else.

00:49:15.210 –> 00:49:19.470 Mathew Shirey: And this again getting on the lakes, is always fun.

00:49:19.530 –> 00:49:20.580 Joseph McElroy: You know what’s your favorite lake?

00:49:21.450 –> 00:49:23.760 Mathew Shirey: We go down to Fontana.

00:49:23.910 –> 00:49:24.630 quite a bit.

00:49:26.370 –> 00:49:28.680 Mathew Shirey: I’ve actually got a favorite late but I’m not going to tell you.

00:49:28.890 –> 00:49:29.490 Joseph McElroy: Ah.

00:49:29.550 –> 00:49:30.360 Mathew Shirey: got all the.

00:49:31.500 –> 00:49:32.700 Joseph McElroy: checks to me in the chat.

00:49:32.700 –> 00:49:32.880 For.

00:49:34.320 –> 00:49:34.890 Mathew Shirey: me.

00:49:35.100 –> 00:49:39.090 Mathew Shirey: it’s pretty tiny went around here and not many people know about it, I want to keep it that way.

00:49:39.900 –> 00:49:43.080 Joseph McElroy: Okay, but at the chat give me a break.

00:49:45.870 –> 00:49:55.890 Joseph McElroy: Oh so well that’s great I mean yeah like my parents go Have you had a place that we used to go to down in Georgia line with them you know.

00:49:57.120 –> 00:50:02.580 Joseph McElroy: drawing a blank on the name of it’s been a while so since we were there but they had a pontoon boat there’s always a blast.

00:50:02.820 –> 00:50:22.020 Joseph McElroy: yeah so you know we’re a building a Heritage Center right documentary to do the number talking about I want to do cooking yeah I was thinking of getting a you know, a sort of a large size camp kitchen built right with a cook set things like that any recommendations, how to do that.

00:50:25.980 –> 00:50:27.210 Mathew Shirey: Honestly, not really.

00:50:28.500 –> 00:50:34.650 Mathew Shirey: I mean there you know I think the sky’s the limit but i’ve never built an outdoor kitchen and don’t know you know a lot about it but.

00:50:37.560 –> 00:50:44.760 Mathew Shirey: If you get to that point, let me know, maybe I can you know, come up with some fire brokers and utensils and stuff like that for you.

00:50:45.150 –> 00:50:45.870 Joseph McElroy: Alright cool.

00:50:47.520 –> 00:51:00.960 Joseph McElroy: So you know I noticed that a local bar and restaurant is had a big screening and welcome home event for you after you want to convince your competition, I thought that was great what was a venue.

00:51:02.190 –> 00:51:05.040 Mathew Shirey: That was lazy hiker taproom on mainstream Sylva.

00:51:06.930 –> 00:51:21.180 Mathew Shirey: you know we small town, we know, everybody in the managers there and whatnot we went said hey we really like to have a party and invite all of our friends to come to watch this on the big screen there, so they were more than happy to make it happen cool.

00:51:21.810 –> 00:51:23.940 Joseph McElroy: Now How can people find out more about you.

00:51:25.320 –> 00:51:30.480 Mathew Shirey: My website are definitely the easiest way to find me

00:51:31.950 –> 00:51:34.650 Joseph McElroy: And here is your Facebook.

00:51:35.400 –> 00:51:39.540 Mathew Shirey: I am on Facebook, I do most of my social media stuff on Instagram.

00:51:41.070 –> 00:51:44.550 Joseph McElroy: Okay lots of pictures of stuff that you produce that makes sense right.

00:51:46.320 –> 00:51:46.740 Joseph McElroy: and

00:51:47.910 –> 00:51:52.710 Joseph McElroy: Can people ask for custom work from you or just buy from that site what are they what can they do.

00:51:53.460 –> 00:52:01.800 Mathew Shirey: Both I’ve got you to know products listed on the website that they can order everything’s made to order I don’t really have anything in stock generally.

00:52:02.820 –> 00:52:10.170 Mathew Shirey: But if you have you know, a custom knife or ax or something you want to be made shoots me an email, and we can try and figure something out.

00:52:10.620 –> 00:52:13.350 Joseph McElroy: What do they need to provide you to make a custom product.

00:52:14.460 –> 00:52:24.660 Mathew Shirey: Generally, like they want a custom knife, you know I need to know if they want mono steel or Damascus, what kind of blade shape blade length handle material.

00:52:25.920 –> 00:52:34.260 Mathew Shirey: You know, handle construction whether it’s a full Tang or hidden Tang process, so you know just all those little details and then.

00:52:35.550 –> 00:52:41.400 Mathew Shirey: Sometimes we just go into the details and other times I can sketch something up if somebody wants to.

00:52:41.940 –> 00:52:46.620 Joseph McElroy: cool or well any other shoutouts you like to give.

00:52:48.300 –> 00:52:50.580 Mathew Shirey: Thanks to you, guys, for having me on here, I really appreciate it.

00:52:51.060 –> 00:52:53.820 Joseph McElroy: Well, you know I hope you’ll come by you know we’re doing.

00:52:54.540 –> 00:53:03.480 Joseph McElroy: At the smoky mountain heritage Center the bob’s doing we’re having events where they have things like you know reenactment so you mentioned earlier, that you are doing that they have.

00:53:03.900 –> 00:53:18.960 Joseph McElroy: yeah I think you’re gonna have blacksmithing things going on and you’re going to have you know all sorts of heritage events, I think you would enjoy, so we will come by and meet me in person, and we can you know talk about pans and knives

00:53:19.590 –> 00:53:25.650 Mathew Shirey: And I know I’d love to participate in some of the events you’ve got going on there, and maybe teach a class there at some point.

00:53:25.800 –> 00:53:31.530 Joseph McElroy: That would be fun, I mean we’re starting to do some really good classes like that, and I think that.

00:53:32.370 –> 00:53:41.340 Joseph McElroy: it’s beneficial for everyone involved because I really love celebrating the culture of these Appalachians and historical things and celebrating what’s good about our history.

00:53:41.820 –> 00:53:50.850 Joseph McElroy: And you know the craft was by far, one of the most beautiful things of our history yeah all right absolutely so we’re part of the.

00:53:52.740 –> 00:53:56.250 Joseph McElroy:talkradio.nycnetwork.

00:53:57.270 –> 00:54:14.370 Joseph McElroy: This podcast is every Tuesday from six to seven and there are many other podcasts on this network that I, you know enjoy we can try to convince you to see because it ranges from small business to other travel.

00:54:15.390 –> 00:54:21.420 Joseph McElroy: shows to self-help to know information about pets information about insurance.

00:54:22.560 –> 00:54:39.870 Joseph McElroy: Personal wellness spirituality so it’s not often you get a network that’s all live podcast, so I think there’s a dynamic there has to live that and yeah and less formality, that you can get you to know the host is on the show drinking.

00:54:41.370 –> 00:54:48.450 Joseph McElroy: And screwing up names and words, but it makes you It makes you off, but you also know that you get some authentic information it’s.

00:54:48.450 –> 00:54:49.050 Mathew Shirey: not right.

00:54:49.230 –> 00:55:00.720 Joseph McElroy: it’s not pre-planned media so anybody listening, please go to and find the shows that might be of interest to you or you can find out more about this podcast on

00:55:01.620 –> 00:55:17.580 Joseph McElroy: Facebook at where we will stream live every Tuesday and also have the previous episodes and other information about the smokies that you might find useful and the towns and crafts and things going on.

00:55:19.170 –> 00:55:25.740 Joseph McElroy: And we are also all our previous episodes are hosted on

00:55:26.100 –> 00:55:35.490 Joseph McElroy: If you go to that site you’ll find a link at the top saying gateway to smokies podcast and you can go and see all the podcasts and we’ve had great people from.

00:55:35.790 –> 00:55:47.970 Joseph McElroy: pressman to politicians to outdoorsman to historians to book writers things like that we’re starting to get a nice inventory I think it’s well over 60 now of

00:55:49.530 –> 00:56:00.450 Joseph McElroy: shows that are not they’re not just tourism, you know oh look at this great place to come and see it gets into some bottom about.

00:56:00.930 –> 00:56:12.840 Joseph McElroy: The people here and representing well how you know, thoughtful intelligent and deep this mountain culture is and I encourage you to go there and.

00:56:13.440 –> 00:56:19.740 Joseph McElroy: I also run another podcast and called wise content creates wealth, I have to be a marketing expert and I’m

00:56:20.160 –> 00:56:28.590 Joseph McElroy: delving into the world of the AI artificial intelligence and how it’s changing content production and

00:56:29.280 –> 00:56:39.060 Joseph McElroy: And you know to search and marketing and how behavioral science and is used to switch reading so both from a business perspective.

00:56:39.360 –> 00:56:45.180 Joseph McElroy: And from understanding what’s happening to as you go to sites and going to information.

00:56:45.540 –> 00:57:00.480 Joseph McElroy: You know, to help you understand the world as it’s being presented to you it’s good I think it’s a good show alright, so thank you I’ll see you next time on the gateway to the smokies podcast from six to seven next week on Tuesday ciao.

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Gateway to the Smokies