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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Glass for necklaces

I made these glass pieces in my friend Angela’s glass workshop. Now I’ve bought them to another friend who is going to wire weave round them and turn them into necklaces. Glass is fascinating. I now want to find out about stained glass and glass blowing. I’m only dabbling my toes into this craft but it’s great. I’m going to maybe get an enamel kiln but that’s another story…..

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Workshop

Oh what fun. I went to sing with our choir at a making a difference conference today. We heard about a business woman who had set up a charity to help feed children in the school holidays and from a second speaker about 6 women aged over 100 whose lives tell a fascinating tale of what life was like living through the 20th century. I could not stay for the second half but I really enjoyed a workshop to make a flag using paint a canvas square and masking tape to keep the colours separate and the edges of the colours neat. I was not able to collect mine but I hope someone from the choir will have collected it for me.

One of the songs we sang was “nanna was a suffragette” which talks about the fight for the vote for Women 100 years ago. Definitely making a difference.