Growing up in a time before internet access and easy information retrieval, Alexander Weygers studied extensively with many teachers to become a master of blacksmithing, shipbuilding engineering, sculpture, engraving, and more.
Weygers enrolled in classes at University of Washington, studying under Avard Fairbanks, the prolific 20th century American sculptor who already had three works sitting in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Fairbanks brought Weygers to the attention of prominent American sculptor Lorado Taft, who took Weygers under his wing and trained him for 18 months. Weygers then embarked on extended studies at prestigious European art centers. First, he spent a year at the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, Holland. Next he traveled to Paris, where he learned end-grain wood engraving under Paul Bournet at L’Ecole Esthetique Contemporaine.
At Taft’s urging, Weygers moved on to Florence, Italy, where he studied sculpture under Ettore Massi, who schooled him in the arts of stone carving and bronze casting.
Weygers realized the importance of receiving information through the mentorship model, combining the human aspect of learning with the expertise of master teachers. In his later years, he took on the role of mentor himself and passed on his knowledge of sculpture, toolmaking, and sustainable living to small groups of students in his home in Carmel Valley, California. In the 1970’s, he collected his teaching materials into three books, The Master Blacksmith, The Making of Tools, and The Recycling, Use, and Repair of Tools, so that his knowledge could benefit those who were not able to take his classes. After his death, he continued to touch the lives of people around the world through his books and through the impact his students made by passing on his teachings.
Today, the Weygers Foundation is committed to continuing Weygers’ mentorship ideals through exhibitions of his work and scholarships. Weygers’ lessons of sustainability, self-reliance, and are as relevant today as they were when he was teaching them to his students, and provide valuable inspiration and insight into the inner workings of this great mind from the 20th century.