This article is from the BARN News Archive, and was originally published in May, 2015.

What are the chances that an irreplaceable collection of metalsmithing tools would become available at precisely the time BARN’s metal arts studio was taking shape? And that it would be located a short ferry ride away?

Long odds indeed, but that is just what happened recently when renowned metalsmith and teacher John Marshall was looking for a new home for his lifelong collection of equipment. Marshall had retired from his position as head of the metal arts program at the University of Washington in 2001, where his tools helped to teach many young metalsmiths. As his home studio work moved more toward his new passion of painting, Marshall dreamed of finding one place where his metal tools could continue to inspire.

Enter BARN. Marshall learned of BARN from a previous student. He already knew BARN metalsmiths Jane Martin and Bill Baran-Mickle, as well as woodworker Bob Spangler. The connection was made, and the tools had a new home. “I couldn’t believe what a perfect fit BARN was,” Marshall explained. “Tools are such a critical part of the learning process. If students have the right tools they can do so much better; the tools open creative opportunities.”

“John’s collection gave us about 90% of what we need to equip BARN’s metals studio, all at once,” said Baran-Mickle, who credits Marshall with inspiring him to do the large-format metal art that he is so well-known for. “Of course John will have visiting privileges – we’re hoping he might even do a BARN workshop someday!”

Hill Moving generously donated their services to pack and move the large, heavy collection. Now the tools are tucked away in storage, awaiting the construction of BARN’s future home. There they will go back to work, teaching and inspiring a new generation of metal workers.