We had the good fortune of connecting with Jayden Simisky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jayden, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
Everyone always says “if you work a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”, but I feel like that’s bad advice. Between welding and knife making, I’ve been fortunate enough to do something I love for work for the last 4 years. What I quickly realized was that turning something you love into a job can quickly make you fall out of love with it. I think this is because you are all of a sudden forced to do something that you used to be able to do at will, whenever the time felt right. But when your job is your passion, you have to do your job, even when you don’t feel inspired or motivated. That’s why I teach knife making. I sell relatively few knives, and make most of my money teaching. Teaching is rewarding, fun, and always engaging for me, and allows me to make knives as a passion to keep myself happy without anyone telling me how to do it or when they need to be done. I do believe it’s possible to do something you love as your job, but you have to be very careful of burnout and overworking yourself.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My whole life, I told myself I was bad at art. I never was good at drawing, couldn’t paint, and didn’t have the touch for ceramics. It wasn’t until I discovered knife making that I realized just how good of an artist I really am. Sure, every knife I make is razor sharp and designed to be put through a lifetime of hard use, but what really fills my heart up is the artistic elements of making a knife. Obsessing over the lines, getting perfect form and flow, and taking inspiration from things like architecture and sports cars. I love to design beautiful objects, and knives are something that my mind just understands. It’s been a long road to get to where I am now, but the journey has been the true reward. Watching myself grow and change the way I approach the problems making a knife presents me with has been extremely rewarding. My company, The Slacksmith, is a merging of two of my passions: slacklining and knife making. I find that both processes feel the same internally. It’s about pushing through the fear of the unknown. It’s about challenging yourself to not give up when giving up is the easiest option. For me, it’s about seeing just how far down the rabbit hole you can go. I love blowing past the limits I had previously believed were in place.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a tough one, Boulder is just such a wonderful place. I spend a lot of my time in the mountains slacklining, so I’d definitely say that places like dream canyon and the south saint vrain and must sees. I also really love pearl street and the downtown area of Boulder. Lots of good restaurants and family owned shops. Aside from that, you’d be a fool to not go see Rocky Mountain national park while visiting Boulder. It’s one of the most magical places in this entire country, and is barely an hour away from where I sleep at night. We’re really fortunate to have that in our back yard. No good trip to Boulder is complete without eating at pasta Jays at the end.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are far too many people and organizations that have helped me get to where I am now to name them all, however, here are a few:
My parents. My parents have been supportive since day one. They’ve given me so many opportunities, believed in me when no one else did, and trusted me to do what was best for myself and my passion, even when they couldn’t see where it was headed. I simply could not have done it without them.
My friends. I have an exceptional network of true friends who have supported me over the years. They’re the ones who ask me about projects I’m working on that I want so badly to share with people. They’re the ones who have told me to believe in myself when I didn’t feel like I could. They’re the ones that have helped me through doubts and fears of not being able to make this into a career. They’re my community and I wouldn’t be here without them.
David Norrie. He may not ever read this, but almost 6 years ago now I met a man named David Norrie. He was an accomplished artistic blacksmith when I met him, and was nearing the end of his career. He allowed me to work in his shop, gave me valuable guidance about running a business, and taught me a lot of what I know about traditional blacksmithing. I owe a lot of my success to his decision to allow me into his shop without charging me for his guidance.
All of the friends, family, and total strangers that have bought something I’ve made, or taken a class over the years. Every time someone chooses to give me their money in exchange for something I’ve made or a bit of my knowledge, it feels like the first time all over again. The support, trust, and love people have show to me over the years is immeasurable and I owe everything to each one of those people.
Forged From the Wild