International Blacksmith Finds Community, Resources in West Oakland

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Hiroki Fukushima, a blacksmith of 40 years, recently moved to the Bay Area from Japan to be closer to family. Equipped with limited English and only a few tools in his suitcase, his daughter Marina helped him research different blacksmith studios in the Bay Area. He landed at The Crucible, a collaborative industrial arts space in West Oakland, and over the past few weeks has become a regular part of the community.

The Crucible is home to a diverse set of artists: Blacksmiths, jewelers, glass blowers, ceramicists and more congregate under one roof to build their craft. The environment not only provides a warm winter workshop for Fukushima, but an opportunity to experiment with new tools, learn from new colleagues, and draw inspiration from his surroundings.

“It’s wonderful,” says a smiling Fukushima. “Working alongside other blacksmiths, watching everyone work in different ways, seeing everyone’s pieces come alive – it’s really exciting.”

The Crucible’s collaborative atmosphere is particularly stimulating for Fukushima, whose artistic themes highlight relationships, connections, and human emotion. “I’ve really enjoyed building relationships and developing trust with fellow blacksmiths – those relationships are really important,” Fukushima said. “I want to express those connections into my work."

As Fukushima’s craft evolves, his artwork is beginning to gain traction in the Bay Area. Fukushima’s has begun selling at Kappa Zakka and Insite Antiques and Design, two San Francisco-based art boutiques. In addition, work continues to be featured in Japan.

Fukushima isn’t certain what he’ll build next – but a warm smile and twinkle in his eyes suggest he’s excited for what’s in store. For him, his colleagues, and the industrial arts community of West Oakland, “it’s an adventure!”

To learn more about Hiroki Fukushima’s artwork, visit


Aaron Mason
The Crucible