Team

John Main


Having been born in Glasgow, grown up in Manchester, and spent time living in Birmingham, Belfast and Shropshire, John is no stranger to starting new chapters in new places, but Banff is definitely where he’s found his forever home.

Following a degree in artificial intelligence he spent 5 years as an engineer at the BBC before trading the soldering iron for the computer keyboard and embarking on a career in software engineering. Although much of his creativity is based around the virtual world, he’s also a keen carpenter, DIY enthusiast, and chain-mailler.

Ever keen on getting involved with his community, in addition to working for The Forge, John is also a member of the Community Council, and the Christmas Lights Association, and is the local Banff bicycle repairman.

He's also an avid tabletop gamer, and proud parent to 2 boys, 3 dogs, 2 parrots, 2 axolotls and a rabbit.

Nina Main


Since graduating with an honours degree in English Studies in 2005, Nina main has enjoyed a number of years experience working within customer service, library and  information Management, and strategic and operational leadership and management within the education sector.

Following a relocation to banff in 2020 along with John and their young family, Nina has firmly embedded herself within the local community via involvement with local wild swimming groups, girl guiding UK, Banffshire Geeks and gamers alongside teaching pole dancing from her home in Banff, and perhaps most notably within her current role as manager of the Smiddy.

Nina is passionate and enthusiastic about people and community, she believes wholeheartedly in  lifelong-learning and socialisation through activity  as a method of social adhesion, community building and mental health support.

Jonathan Farquharson


Jonathan was born in Fife and grew up in the Isle of Lewis. He studied Artificial Intelligence & Robotics at RGU and then slowly made his way North of the city. As someone committed to craft and community, he's excited about what is being undertaking at the Forge. With an unwavering attention to detail and a genuine love for working with wood, his journey has taken me from crafting in his own space to envisioning collaborative projects within this vibrant artistic community. 

What truly excites him is the opportunity to teach and encourage others through dedicated tutorials, fostering a creative atmosphere where skills are shared. As he engages with a group of inspiring local artists and passionate individuals, he hopes to bring a gentle, caring, and experienced hand to contribute to the community's rich creative energy. 

Let's craft something beautiful together!

Carla and Bryan Angus


We moved to Banff in 2002 to raise a family and start a brand new arts venture, The Creative Retreat. Based in Gardenstown for fifteen years, the company offered arts tuition, studios, and residential accommodation for anyone interested in exploring and developing their creative skills. During this time we were delighted to welcome people from as far as Australia, Canada, the USA and Macduff. 

Originally theatre designers, we have varied experience in venue management, creative programming, tourism, and community engagement, and have facilitated workshops and events for schools, colleges, and third-sector organisations. Carla is now a Cultural Development Officer for Live Life Aberdeenshire, alongside studying for a postgraduate degree in Contemporary Art Practice at Grays School of Art. Bryan is a prolific visual artist working across lino print, painting and drawing, with artwork in private collections across the world and several whiskey labels to his name. We deeply believe that everyone should have the chance to experience the joy that creativity brings and are delighted to be involved with The Forge

Elijah Smith


Elijah Louis Smith is a 2022 graduate of Grays School of Art's painting course. 

They have exhibited with the Society of Scottish Artists as one of their Graduate selections for the 130th Annual exhibition along with being shortlisted for the Visual Art Scotland's Graduate Showcase. 

They currently reside in the North East of Scotland and continue to create work whilst engaging with the local community.

Chris Barker


Chris is an avid collector of hobbies, pointless skills and knowledge. Anything tech, crafty or interesting he will give it a go.

He finds himself fascinated by the mundane and the inner workings of almost anything.

Keen to put some of those acquired skills to good use, he aims to aid his local community in any way possible, starting with offering himself to fuel the fires of The Forge