Blazing BlacksmitHERs are ladies that are forging their own path in blacksmithing and sharing their story.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” John Quincy Adams
Where in the world are you?
How did you start blacksmithing? Did you take classes?
I was a jeweler and thought that was what I was going to be! I had moved back to Texas from Colorado and took a jewelry class at the local community college just for some studio time and directed projects when there was an announcement that there would be a blacksmithing class starting the next semester. I had just gotten over major illness and was about 40 pounds underweight, so I really didn’t think that anyone like me should be taking the blacksmithing class. I thought, “WHO does that…” But also thought it could help me be a better jeweler.
I really didn’t have a lot going on so I signed up for the semester class. I was absolutely terrible and didn’t know why people would make their own nails when Home Depot was down the street (especially at the rate I was hammering them out). BUT I noticed it made me happy and I loved using my own hands and getting dirty and wearing myself out making things.
I was introduced to another blacksmith through my teacher and I stopped by his shop after the class ended and worked out a trade; I’d teach him mokume gane if he let me kind of hang out and learn some more blacksmithing. Since then I’ve worked in various shops over the last few years and now actually work alongside my original teacher doing architectural blacksmithing.
Are you a beginner, hobby or professional blacksmith?
What is your favorite blacksmithing technique? Even if you are beginner, what do you enjoy doing the most?
Of course, anything involving a power hammer. But I also enjoy making scrolls and anything that can challenge me to come up with a crazy jig or die. I really appreciate a well thought out jig, or series of jigs.
Do you have a favorite tool? What is it?
I have a few constant favorites: a favorite hammer, a favorite anvil at work. Right now I’m really excited about a starrett straight edge I have. I actually made my fiancé make me a special wooden box with a lock on it and felt lining to keep it safe… and a granite surface plate. Perhaps it’s the jeweler still in me, but any tool I can use to push myself towards more accuracy or consistency is what I’m into right now.
What is the worst thing about blacksmithing?
After a while burns are pretty much no big deal and the physical accidents that happen you get used to but the worst is probably just the way everyone looks at you when you try to go anywhere else after leaving the shop and you are dirty and usually have a hole or two in your work clothes.
Are you a member of a blacksmithing association? If so, which one? What does it do for you?
I was a member of North Texas Blacksmithing Association but haven’t kept up with my membership lately.