We went to a blacksmithing workshop today and bashed metal with hammers between heating it up in a forge. It took a few hours to learn how to make a coil of metal as a keyring and a letter opener.
Our tutor was Charis Jones, who runs Sculpted Steel at the Forge at Etruria Industrial museum. She patiently talked us through the many steps to turn both a bar and a strip of mild steel into the objects we chose to make. Other choices included a snail and a poker.
I don’t have the grip I used to have and trying to hold a piece of metal in a pair of tongs was very difficult. I dropped my work on the floor a few times, and you can’t just bend over and pick up red hot metal, you have to be very careful. Luckily no one got burned despite handling white hit metal.
The hardest thing is being able to hammer properly, my wrists felt weak and my arms were aching. (They still are).
You can see our efforts and what we were trying to do in the photos. They are next to the examples of how they should look. I overheated my letter opener blade and the tip broke off. Luckily Charis sorted it out (which is why it’s shorter than my hubbies work). He seemed to take to it naturally and it helped calm him down. Very good for concentration and ‘flow’.
I think having an experience like this gives you an insight into how difficult the craft of blacksmithing is. What you realise is that it may look simple, but it isn’t!
Sometimes people mistakenly call them chem trails and assume that planes are dumping chemicals. What the planes are actually doing is disturbing cold moist air in the atmosphere and the moisture (water vapour) condenses out and leaves a trail in the sky behind the plane. They regularly criss cross the sky above where I live as I live quite close to a couple of airports. Obviously they seem more frequent in the summer. If you want to find out more about clouds there is the cloud appreciation society. They have a page on Facebook.
I got my paintings up at the Brampton museum and art gallery now until the 10th November. I’m part of a group exhibition with fellow artists from the Orme Art group based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
I’m quite happy that they have hung my Mars painting upside down! After all in space there is no right way up! The art is along a corridor in the museum but they are well displayed and lit. If you are around you can always take a look. It’s at the Brampton museum and art gallery in Newcastle-under-Lyme .
‘what is life, if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare’
W. H. Davies
Today has been lovely, we went out to see an exhibition and decided to stop and have an ice cream in the park. The sun was shining and it was just nicely warm, there was a sensory garden with large leaved plants and seed heads, the sky was dotted with fair weather clouds and the Rowan trees were full of berries. Dogs were barking off in the distance. The world was just right. I closed my eyes and suddenly I felt like I had been transported to my childhood. It was the 1960’s again before I knew about politics and anger, before I has heard of wars and revenge. I relaxed! Like a sunny Sunday afternoon in the park I played in as a child. No thought of what I have to do next. No time constraints. No I’ve got to be somewhere now. Wonderful.
Never seen so many pears on our pear tree! This year there are over fifty. Sometimes the flowers don’t get pollinated, get caught by a late frost. Or it’s to hot and dry in the summer for them to grow. Sometimes we get too much rain and they swell up too quickly and split. Last year a lot got blown off in June. The tree leans over so we propped it up this year to stop it getting twisted by the wind. Perhaps that’s why we have a bigger crop. Anyway fingers crossed for a bumper harvest. X