Students and Staff Get Blacksmithing Taster

Students and Staff Get Blacksmithing Taster

On the 23rd May a group of Year 10 design and technology students had an introduction to blacksmithing from our award winning artist Mr Axworthy. He brought in sketchbooks, design boards and lots of examples of his metalwork, some of which have been exhibited all over the world. He discussed with the students his design process, how he got his artwork into galleries and ultimately winning international competitions.

After the introduction, Mr Whitfield fired up the College’s gas forge and Mr Axworthy proceeded to explain the material science behind forging steel. He showed some blacksmithing techniques which haven’t changed much since the 13th century, how metal can be melted, shaped, twisted and formed into useful shapes and decorative objects.

Students learn about blacksmithing

By the end of the session Mr Axworthy had made a traditional forged leaf and a hand forged twisted iron door handle, both of which are now displayed in Mr Whitfield’s workroom. All students behaved impeccably and engaged with the session. It was great to hear them proactively ask questions and discuss the many techniques involved in metalwork.

Staff at the forge

On Friday the 2nd June a few staff members from SJH also Joined Mr Axworthy at Flameworks Creative Art’s Facility in Plymouth for their very own introduction to blacksmithing. After covering the basics, Mr Axworthy flattened a piece of white hot steel over a wet anvil, the resulting bang (intentionally) broke the sound barrier and sent a few sparks whizzing around the forge area. This made Mr Gardiner jump back more than a few feet and may have resulted in a few more grey hairs!

The talented Mr Axworthy

The staff then got to have a go themselves; taking up hammers and tongs to shape and bend hot steel. Everyone who attended took home a hand forged Viking style bracelet of their own making and the night was a huge success.

Viking bracelets

Many thanks to Mr Axworthy.

Mr Whitfield & Mr Gardiner
CL for Art &Creative Technologies and Head of Science