2014 Blacksmithing Intro and Master Classes at the Center for Metal Arts

logoThe 2014 Blacksmithing program at the Center for Metal Arts in downstate New York is in its 11th year, with a strong series of foundation and master classes for all skill levels.

The 2014 season of blacksmithing workshops at the Center for Metal Arts leads off with the first of 4 popular Blacksmithing Basics foundation workshops, taught by blacksmith educator Jon Ledford. The Blacksmithing Basics workshop is the foundation workshop for more advanced classes set on weekends throughout the year. Upcoming Blacksmithing Basics classes are set for March 1, June 7, and November 8. A special one-day workshop The Blacksmith's Apprentice with ABANA curriculum teacher Mark Emig is set for Saturday March 29.This is a focused one-day course in mastering fundamental skills as set forth by ABANA's program for training journeyman blacksmiths.

For a shorter introduction to blacksmithing, the February 2 Intro to Blacksmithing Sunday Sampler offers four hours at the forge with a master blacksmith. With hands-on time at the forge and a well-tooled anvil, attendees will learn the basics of blacksmithing techniques, with a hot place at the forge on a winter Sunday, coffee and refreshments provided. The Center for Metal Arts recommends pairing a Sunday Sampler class with a breakfast or early dinner at one of the area's bistros and country restaurants posted on the www.centerformetalarts.com website.

 This year's Master Classes begin with Toolmaking on Saturday January 25 from 9 AM to 4 PM. Students in this workshop will be forging the tools needed at the forge, including a pair of flat-jaw tongs, a set of twisting bars, and an octagonal-handled chisel, using the fundamental techniques of blacksmithing to forge beautiful and well-built tools. The Toolmaking Workshop is planned to give students practice in a series of blacksmithing exercises while producing useful tooling for their own studio.

center-for-metal-arts florida nyNext in the Master Class series is Forge Building on Saturday February 23 from 9 AM - 4 PM. Students will fit, weld, and construct their own forge in this one-day workshop, and go home with a compact, efficient forge. The full forge kit, from efficient burner, fuel assembly, and forge parts, is supplied for this workshop.

On April 19, Iron for the Garden develops basic blacksmithing skills with the chance to choose from several forged iron ornaments for the garden: a scrolling plant holder to hang against a wall, a curving leaf plant hanger, or a hanging triangle chime to ring. Make a matched set, or try them all. These are projects for beginner to intermediate skill level, with each project designed with details to develop forging skills while  building some handmade pieces for the garden.

On Saturday May 10, the much-requested Free Form Power Hammer Forging workshop is for advanced students only. The Center for Metal Arts power hammer tooling and dies were set up over many years of Hofi sessions, and instructor Jon Ledford shows how to make a power hammer perform acts of beauty in steel. Class sizes are small to give maximum time at the power hammer, so early registration is recommended.

The next Master Class in the series is Advanced Blacksmithing, a two-day workshop intensive designed to guide students through a series of technically progressive exercises in the techniques of hammering, bending, tapering, twisting, riveting, and scrolling. Special emphasis is on gaining a solid foundation of hammer technique, and familiarity with the blacksmith's tools (chisels, punches, bending forks, hammer and anvil.) Produce decorative elements including finials, twists, leaves and scrolls. This class is designed to challenge the absolute novice as well as the experienced enthusiast.

For Father's Day on June 15, the Center for Metal Arts offers a festive Father's Day Blacksmith's Apprentice Sunday Sampler with the invitation to take your father to Florida on Father's Day--and surprise him with a mid-day chance to be the blacksmith's apprentice. He will have his own well-tooled anvil, plenty of hot iron, and expert instruction. Come early for breakfast at the famous Central Deli, do fine coffee and pastries at Fav's, or have a taste of local Polish cuisine at the Florida Bakery. Make it a father and son day, and get 20% off the second registration.

The Center for Metal Arts is located in the black dirt farm village of Florida NY, in the southern Hudson Valley. The teaching center, located in the historic 1890's Borden's Creamery Icehouse, is partnered with the working studio of Fine Architectural Metalsmiths, an award-winning architectural metal arts company since 1981.The Center for Metal Arts teaching space was launched in 2003, and offers weekend workshops and special events. The upstairs gallery of metal arts and museum of antique tools, with its self-guided tour, is an intriguing educational stop for workshop attendees. The Center for Metal Arts store of specialty forged tools is also in the upstairs gallery at the historic icehouse.

For more information on the 2014 program at the Center for Metal Arts, including the companion jewelry and fine metals workshop series, visit www.centerformetalarts.com and www.facebook.com/CenterForMetalArts.