Kate Dinneen is a master blacksmith from Lawrence, Kansas. She’s owned her own business called Hot Flash Metalworks since 2006. Her work can be seen across Kansas as well as on the gates at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London. Kate has studied and mentored with blacksmiths internationally and is currently serving as a Global Assistant to a World War I memorial being designed at an event next year in Ypres, Belgium.
What We Talked About
- Kate’s family came from Ireland many generations ago so she has a connection to the British Isles. She travels to the UK regularly to study and work there.
- One of Kate’s biggest blacksmith influences is Uri Hofi. She has spent time learning from him in Israel. Two of his students taught her to strike in an ergonomic way that protects the body and allows her to strike much longer.
- Early in her career, Kate was involved in a new gate design at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London where she created one of the featured design elements.
- Kate stays very busy at Hot Flash Metalworks and gets most of her work through word of mouth. She estimates that 60% of her work she gets to design herself and about 40% is based on someone else’s idea.
- She does charge a design fee and feels that it’s better to charge it up front rather than bundling it in with the entire project cost. Her ideal pay structure would be to charge in three equal payments at beginning, middle and end, but she admits it’s very hard to know final costs and the length of each project.
- Kate does sporadically offer some training out of her shop, mostly to beginners. She also teaches a group of “at risk” kids through a local non-profit. “They teach basic job skills through the arts and I’m in charge of the metals component of it,” she says. They worked on spot welding and sheet metal work last semester and next semester they will try forging.
- Kate has been appointed Global Assistant to a blacksmithing event in Ypres, Belgium in September 2016. Ypres is a battle site from World War I, which suffered mass casualties and heavy destruction. A cenotaph (a memorial to honor the dead who are buried elsewhere) will be designed and built.
- The design competition for the 13 panels that will surround the cenotaph is still open until January. Find info at ypres2016.com. Each panel will be 28” x 29” and should contain a design element that is meaningful to WWI.
- The cenotaph will also include 13 panels that represent all the countries that fought at the site. Those are being designed by invited blacksmiths from each country.
- Hot Flash Metals: www.lawrenceblacksmith.com/
- Ypres Event: http://www.ypres2016.com/
- Ypres Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/poppycenotaph/
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