I held a blacksmithing demo for Art Lab at my studio this past Tuesday. We had about 15 people come check it out. I began by demonstrating some basic techniques like forging a square bar into a round bar, and a round bar into a square bar. Then I moved on to show tapering and spiraling a bar. Then twisting the bar and how to punch a hole through a bar (one teacher I’ve learned from emphasise that unlike other metalworkers, blacksmiths can punch a 1″ hole through a 1″ thick bar). I finished off the demo with some sheet metal forging (how to make a bowl shape) and then displayed the amazing powers of my Little Giant power hammer.
I have only been blacksmithing for 3 or 4 years so my skills are by no means as developed as other smiths. However I started my own shop in 2010, so I can speak a lot to what goes into starting your own practice, and where to find basic tools that won’t break the bank. Before being exposed to blacksmithing I was already a sculptor who often used cutting and welding techniques to build sculptures. So for me, many of the blacksmithing techniques I began learning were immediately applied to sculptures I wanted to build. My current sculpting practice utilizes both traditional and modern metal working techniques.
When the demo was finished I allowed folks to step up and do a little heating and beating of their own. We had a really good time and I was thrilled to see my shop filled with so much energy. A few people signed up for some one on one workshops with me on blacksmithing and welding. All in all, it was a really good night.