Forging on sunny days with good friends

As promised, here is my update!

I’ll start by saying that I am really very lucky to know lots of very wonderful, talented people. One of these is my artist blacksmith friend Sian Gulliver. She is also in her final year of her degree and came home for the Easter break. I live in the city now, and she has made her home down south, but when we get the chance we take to the countryside for makey-doey days.

Last summer Sian and I set up a little forge in a friendly neighbors garden; it was a little temperamental but very funny – let’s just say there were bellows, a leaf blower, a scrap yard and two clumsy women. This time however, Sian had a lovely little set up in her back yard; electricity, a cat, cups of tea and all. I arrived with porcelain slip and plaster (which is a whole other story!) and we set to work.

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(It’s official, she has it in writing.)

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Here I am checking on the metal to avoid it getting too hot and burning. I did get distracted (probably by a cuppa or food) and burn through an Iron bar on the first day. It’s safe to say I learned my lesson.

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Learning from the pro! Sian was making pieces for her degree show – one mad talented lady right there.

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I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the flecks you can see on the ground are bits of iron oxide. These are created by brushing the ‘skin’ off the metal during forging when a shine is desired. This was particularly interesting to me as we also use this in glazes at uni – it’s funny how things all tie together, and it’s great to know it’s a by-product of another craft.

I took a little bag home and am going to try firing them so I will let you know how that goes.

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Forging is hot, glass blowing is hotter!

Sian was explaining everything as she went which was absolutely fantastic, but probably a bit too lengthy for a blog post. Just ask if you are interested in the details.

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Clinker – the waste product.

My uni work is pretty experimental so this by-product really appeals to me. I think I will try firing it in porcelain slip in the same way I have been doing with glass shards and frits.

We did this over two days, whilst also hanging out with her amazing family and our beautiful baker buddy Jordan. There was good food, good wine and lots and lots of laughter.

– Also, my apologies if any of my descriptions are incorrect, I forgot to take notes until the second day and my memory isn’t exactly great!

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