Arnon has been heavily influenced by the Japanese esthetic, and feels that even the most ordinary, everyday objects can, and perhaps should be special, surprising, of high quality, long-lasting and a pleasure to use. Arnon believes form follows function and the definition of a good kitchen knife comes from the modern Japanese swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara: “A Japanese sword is beautiful because it is sharp.”
His philosophy has carried over to his company of the past couple decades, Bridgetown Forge. This is where Arnon makes items from knives to tools to architectural elements and finishes all to please both the eye and the hand. As for the name “Bridgetown Forge”… it was fitting to name the forge after the nickname of Arnon’s chosen hometown of Portland, Oregon, as it is a place where large number of people appreciate the unique, the hand-made, and the unorthodox.
I remember well the moment my life changed. I have just spent a very hot day helping Kanehama-san in his smithy, mostly swinging the sledge as he forge-welded lumps of sponge-like wrought iron into a billet; I was drenched in sweat and covered in soot and charcoal dust, my back ached, I was dehydrated and seeing double—the heat rising from his forge was intense. Finally it was over; we sat outside under a large tree and sipped tea and watched the sun roll towards the ocean and I saw some fruit bats heading out in search of dinner; I was very happy and said to myself: “this is it, this is what I am going to do with the rest of my life.
— Arnon Kartmazov