Sadly, blacksmiths are few and far between these days. Certainly there’s not a whole hell of a lot of need for a guy with a forge to shoe horses. But the artistry of blacksmithing goes way beyond the practical. I’ve seen lots of cool projects ranging from iron gates to pot hangers to a fully-forge-welded table you wouldn’t believe.
But what’s better is that you, too, can see such work — and see it made. Because the art’s effectively on its deathbed when it comes to large numbers, those who still work the trade spend a significant portion of their time demonstrating the art to others. You’ll find them at forge council and other organization meetings — plus fairs are all sorts of gatherings — banging out roses and leafs, and sometimes even teaching others right on-site.
Even more important, you’ll find (or at least I have) that most blacksmiths are a friendly sort, often willing to give you significant (and often free) advice to help you get started in the art, assuming you’re willing to get a little sweaty. (Let’s face it: Forges are, by definition, hot. And summertime is, well, hot. Put the two together, and you get damn hot. But you also get a hell of an experience.)
Where am I going with this? I’m simply suggesting that if you’re interested in learning how it’s possible to turn plain old iron into beautiful objects with the help of a surprisingly-heavy hammer, there’s help. And there’s no excuse not to find out if it’s for you.
So have you seen a demonstration?
(Thanks, brightlifephotographydotcom, for the great CC-licensed photo.)