A Blazing BlacksmitHER – Kristyn Earles

Blazing BlacksmitHERs are ladies that are forging their own paths in blacksmithing and sharing their story.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Mary Angelou

Name

Kristyn Earles

Where in the world are you?

Louisville, Kentucky

How did you start blacksmithing? Did you take classes?

I struggle with telling my story on how I started blacksmithing because in many ways I am just starting. There is so much to learn. I’ve always admired traditional craftsmanship and pretty much anything where you can get dirty and make things with your hands. I am a haircutting specialist by trade, we often turn to architecture for inspiration. I have a huge attraction to architectural metalwork. I also read a lot of medieval historical books where they emphasize the importance of the blacksmith, portraying him/her as this nearly mythical entity. I would often refer to my “fantasy” world, where I would make my breakfast and coffee then spend the rest of my day in my “forge”. After watching a blacksmith do a demonstration at the Berea Craft Fair, I was enamored. It hit me like a ton of bricks, this was for me! I think I enrolled in a beginner’s workshop later that week at Kaviar Forge in Louisville, Ky. I worked with artist blacksmith Craig Kaviar for five Saturdays. We learned how to operate a coal and gas forge, make j-hooks, nails, leaves, and finished the class with a fire poker. Mr. Kaviar took me under his wing and after workshop hours helped me construct my very own propane forge! Her name is Hildegard and she looks like a fat pig with an under bite.

Although, my fantasy forge is a thing of the future. My front porch will suffice until that day comes. I keep Hildegard a busy girl. I am looking forward to upcoming workshops including another round at the beginners blacksmithing with Mr. Kaviar and a tong making workshop with Danny Downs at the Kaviar Forge. Craig Kaviar continues to be a major inspiration and mentor to me. I am grateful. I am also anticipating a hammer one on one workshop this spring with Dave Custor.

 Are you a beginner, hobby or professional blacksmith?

Beginner blacksmith

What is your favorite blacksmithing technique? Even if you are beginner, what do you enjoy doing the most?

making shapes with red hot iron 🙂

Do you have a favorite tool? What is it?

One that I don’t have yet. I’m pretty much working with bottom of the barrel right now

What is the worst thing about blacksmithing?

All of the trial and error! Right now, I struggle with just learning the lingo. I went from using zero tools to just about every tool. I think also its hard for a beginner in anything because there are so many opinions about what’s right, what’s wrong and general naysayers. For instance, I wanted to just buy a rounding hammer and ask for suggestions on a beginners blacksmithing forum. Of course, I got “make your own”.   I’ve been blacksmithing for like 4 months! Give me a break.

Are you a member of a blacksmithing association? If so, which one? What does it do for you?

ABANA. I’ve gotten a lot of nice discounts on classes and from some suppliers.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

I do want to thank all the ladies on the podcast for giving me a look into their world. They really keep me motivated!

Kristyn Earles leaf Kristyn Earles

 

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