Feed me!

Teasle

I posted this photo on Facebook last week and someone wrote ‘Feed me Seymour!’

I guess it does look a bit like the plant in the film ‘Little Shop of Horrors’! It’s strange how life imitates art, or vice versa. Photo of teasel, taken outside the forge at Etruria Industrial Museum on the Trent and Mersey canal in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.

People

One thing that was missing from my drawings today were people. And the museum area and festival were crowded. I tried to rectify this by drawing a woman in front of the steam roller and a couple walking hand in hand away from me towards the forge that is on site. The blacksmith there, Charis Jones, runs a business called Sculpted Steel. I am sorry I didn’t get to see her but I spent most of my time drawing as you can see!

It was probably the biggest gathering of people I have seen for months. I wasn’t quite as nervous today, but my heart was still in my mouth!

Metal working tools…

And other images from the Forge at Etruria. I was there today and took a few photos in the beautiful mid September sunshine we had today.

When the sun is bright and low it casts deep shadows and picks out intricate details that you might otherwise miss.

The glow from the flames of the Forge added to the atmosphere, you can almost feel the heat coming off those flames.

The Forge is the domain of Sculpted Steel. You can see demonstrations of the blacksmiths work on open days at Etruria Industrial museum.

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Blacksmithing

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!

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