Class #40

Forging With Intention

Chris Winterstein

July 14 - July 20


instructor imageBlacksmiths have an elegantly simple solution for every problem: Hit it with a hammer! Too long? Hit it with a hammer! Too short? Hit it with a hammer! It can be hard to believe, looking at a finished object, but steel is incredibly plastic. That is, you can form and deform it. This is what blacksmithing is�using heat and pressure to shape steel. You don�t melt it or pour it. You don�t add to it or remove from it. Instead, you squish it into shape with hammers, along with a small number of other tools. Blacksmiths have only a few skills at their disposal, but within those few skills, and their endless combinations, lie everything blacksmiths make.

In this class, you�ll gain a hands-on understanding of the basics through a few assigned projects before moving on to more complex layering of skills and your own explorations, undertaken with Chris�s guidance.

A blacksmith can�t afford to wait around for �happy accidents,� so throughout class, the focus will be on making your forgings intentional and repeatable. You�ll pay attention to what your work does to the metal, so you can learn how to achieve a desired shape. You�ll pay attention to how the mass is deformed so you can predict and measure what you�ll need to make that shape again.

Like many crafts, blacksmithing is a repetitive process. Finished objects are even more repetitious. This class emphasizes skill building over finished objects to maximize your exposure to technique. It�s suited for those who expect to continue blacksmithing and for those who simply want to try it out. All levels are welcome.

Chris Winterstein �stole� his early blacksmithing education while working as a chef at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina in the mid-1990s. He continued learning at Penland and at the John C. Campbell Folk School, also in North Carolina, and eventually spent two and a half years as an intern at the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Chris worked briefly with prominent blacksmiths Scott Lankton and John Medwedeff before returning to manage the Iron Studio at Penland for several years. In 2006 he moved to Philadelphia in order to work for Samuel Yellin Metalworkers. Following his time with the Yellin shop, Chris struck out on his own, and today he continues learning in his own shop in El Paso, Texas, where he focuses on architectural metalwork. His primary interests in forging center on working aggressively with mass and developing ornamental forgings that move in three dimensions.

A supply list will be sent prior to class and is available online.

Level: All Levels
Shop Fee: $30
Supply List: Supply List PDF

Pricing (per person):
$1045 Dorm Room Package*
$1145 Two-Person Room Package*
$1705 Single-Person Room Package* (limited availability)
$615 Commuter Package** (limited availability)

*package includes tuition, lodging & 16 meals
**package includes tuition & 7 meals