David Belongie was raised on a small horse ranch in far northern California. His love of metal working started at an early age helping his father shoe horses on weekends. David's father Scylla "Pancho" Belongie was a farrier for over 45 years, and instilled his love of art, horses, and nature in his children. David's parents taught him the significance of attention to detail, the importance of taking pride in his work, and to value his artistic inclinations.
At age 9, David took up a hammer at his dad's forge and soon found an affinity for working metal - first in re-shaping old horse shoes, and later in forging out knives. An interest in medieval history soon led David to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA); a world-wide non-profit re-creation group with a common goal of keeping the skills of the middle ages alive. David was soon smithing armour and various sharp pointy things using traditional methods and materials. It was during this time when David found two of his greatest loves; his wife Angela, and making fine jewelry.
After several years of experimentation in making jewelry on his own David got his break in the form of an apprentice position at Pasdera's Custom Jewelers in Santa Rosa, CA. He studied under head jeweler Robert Comacho while working a side apprenticeship with Richard Louis, owner/artist of The Jewelers Workshop. Several years later found David in the position of head jeweler of Pasdera's after the tragic death of his friend and mentor Robert Comacho. David went on to train his own apprentice and work for several more years at Pasdera's.
Angela Wilson was raised on a small farm in far northern California and has horses in her blood. Often spending whole summers of her youth ahorseback, swimming her horses in nearby creeks and generally just horsin’ around the local area. She has maintained a connection to the horse world over the years that started early - working horses for a reining trainer; riding horses being rehomed from local auctions in Reno, NV; working horses for a cutting horse trainer; to becoming a certified equine sports massage therapist. However, eventually the realization hit home that even a minor injury can impact the ability to make a living in the horse world. That realization led to a shift in direction and resulted, after several years of college, in Angela obtaining her B.S. in Geology.
Angela was introduced to the SCA when she connected with David in 1995. In self-defense, she taught herself to sew and thus entered the world of artistic creativity (having had the belief that she lacked any artistic instinct whatsoever as indicated by her inability to successfully draw anything recognizable beyond stick figures in high school art classes J). Involvement in the SCA (and a lack of funds) led to a willingness to try making things and eventually she found leather working.
In June of 2000, David and Angela were married, and later moved back to their home town of Redding, California. This move allowed them the space to bring horses back into their lives (after a 3 year hiatus for Angela to attend college). They both love horses and aspire to a high degree of riding skill, and are especially focused on learning the art of training horses using traditional Spanish and early California (vaquero) methods.
Since then, David and Angela have continued to explore, expand and practice their respective arts, and in 2006 established Golden Forge Custom Designs in order to design, create, and market unique jewelry and working cowboy gear. Custom art pieces are created one at a time by hand, and include designs in precious metals in the form of fine jewelry, hand-engraved pieces, along with leather creations, mohair cinches. You might even find an article or two that incorporates pieces they both had a hand in making!