Ep #88 – Denise Axelsen Aussie Series part 3 of 4 “From Nurse to Blacksmith”

Denise Axelsen is an award-winning blacksmith.  Educated in England, she now enjoys living in Newry, Victoria Australia.  With over a decade of experience forging metal, Denise makes small functional and custom pieces as well as stunning sculptural works. 

award-winning-forged-table cheeseboard guarded-relics part-of-the-guarded-relics

What We Talked About

  • Denise went to university in the UK for three-dimensional design after a 25-year career as a nurse. In her second year at university, she took a forging class, was very drawn to the craft and decided that was what she wanted to do.
  • It took her another five years to convince the Rural Development Commission to let her in on the New Entrants Training Scheme in pure forge work. After taking a few courses at the Hereford School of art with Adrian Legge, taking as many BABA workshops as possible and giving up her nursing career she finally qualified into the Scheme in 2003.  The Training Scheme was a UK government funded scheme aimed at 16 to 25-year old’s to become apprentice blacksmiths for 12 weeks over a course of 2 years.
  • Denise moves just about every two years due to her husband being in the Air Force, so she has to be particular regarding the tools she buys knowing she will need to move it to another location every 2 years.
  • When Denise moved to Australia she decided to sell most of her blacksmith tools she had acquired in the UK and buy more blacksmith tools in Australia. She soon found out that the tools were ten times the cost of everything she had already bought in the UK.
  • Denise attended the Ypres blacksmith event in Belgium and worked on Patrick Pelgrom’s team to forge his design panel for the cenotaph site. This was a lifetime experience that she didn’t want to miss out on and she could catch up with a lot of her UK friends.
  • Last month Denise attended a 4-day hammer making class at the historic Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop in Sydney.
  • In 2004 Denise was the first female to win the UK Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths‘Champion Blacksmith’ with her forged table.

Guest Links

A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor ? Center for Metal Arts

 Untitled design (2)

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One thought on “Ep #88 – Denise Axelsen Aussie Series part 3 of 4 “From Nurse to Blacksmith”

  1. What a totally inspiring story. As the days get short, the mornings get cold and the anxiety about finishing all the projects grows, it was a great treat to here Denise’s story. Thanks for sharing!

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