Leila Haddad finishing a blade at Tharwa Valley ForgeLeila has been making knives since she was 6 years old. Having first crawled into her father's workshop as a toddler, she developed a keen interest in hammers and fire. At five, she operated the 30-ton hydraulic power press by standing on a bucket to reach the controls. Now much taller, she uses the press to create her own Damascus steel (and no longer needs to stand on a bucket).

Leila started her bladesmithing career specialising in cooking knives. Because of their unique provenance and high quality these knives were highly sought after by professional chefs and collectors alike.

At age 11, Leila presented a forging demonstration at the 2014 International Cutlers Exhibition in Sydney. Later that year, Leila was one of the guest presenters at Ben Shewry's WAW Gathering in Melbourne. Speaking on the importance of making things, she impressed the 300 delegates from the catering industry with her no-nonsense advice and confident delivery.

In November 2016, Leila spoke at the YMCA National Convention in Adelaide. Speaking to the gathering of young people she stressed the value of a “Do It Yourself” mind-set and the importance of self-reliance, as opposed to relying on modern consumer culture to supply them with the latest and greatest.

Leila has donated a number of knives to raise funds for charitable organisations. In October 2016, a knife Leila donated to the ACT's palliative care facility, Clare Holland House set a new personal record when it was sold at auction for $4,100.  In 2017 anoher one of her knives sold for $4,000 for the same cause.

She is a regular at the knife shows around the country where she sells a diverse range of her own knives.

Leila teaches Japanese Knifemaking and Junior Blacksmithing at the Tharwa Valley Forge.

If you're interested in buying one of Leila's knives, please check out her Instagram as they sell-out very quickly.

 

 

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