Supporting Young Blacksmiths


16-year-old Loris on a work placement in the workshop

We continue to support young blacksmiths in developing their skills. Over the last couple of months, we have been happy to have Matthias Kuhn, a German Journeyman continuing our tradition of placements. Matthias is in his 6th year of training. During January he has been using the workshop a couple of days a week to get his portfolio ready for applying to study at Steneby Institute of Craft and Design. Steneby is host to Europe’s largest academic metal/blacksmithing workspace and is a brilliant place to study for anyone interested in a career in ironwork.

Matthias tells how in Germany the traditional Journeyman is a familiar sight. Journeymen traditionally don’t use any technology including a smartphone. They cannot spend money on transport and rely on lifts, mainly hitchhiking. This means they meet many people on their travels and get jobs along the way. Exploring different workshops means they learn a wide variety of skills by seeing how smiths work differently across many settings. Journeymen have to remain 50km away from their hometown and they travel and work this way for 3 years and 1 day. Interestingly, Matthais has chosen not to do it the traditional way as he wants to travel beyond Germany and as people don’t recognise the tradition outside Germany it makes things difficult. Matthias is doing his own modern version! We wish him much luck with his plans for studying at Steneby and for the future, it has been a pleasure to have him at Ironart. 

Following on from this we also have local, 16-year-old Loris Sarkissian on a work placement in the workshop, 2 days a week. Loris started studying at Hereford College this September, 3 days a week. He came looking for a work placement for the two days a week he is not at college, to get even more experience. We are happy to welcome Loris into the workshop.


NADFAS filming James and Cecilie

Today the Ironart team welcomed Judith Quiney, the Promotions and Marketing Director at NADFAS. Judith and Jane visited our workshop to film James and Cecilie for the NADFAS website and AGM.  Two years ago, Ironart was generously awarded two Patricia Fay memorial grants towards an apprenticeship for James Cuthbertson, and more recently a restoration internship for Cecilie Robinson. The short films following their progress will be edited and released in May. Our thanks again to Karen, Judith and the entire team at NADFAS for their support.

The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) works to advance decorative and fine arts education and appreciation, alongside promoting the conservation of our artistic heritage. They support over 360 local Societies across the country, in mainland Europe and New Zealand.

nadfas film at Ironart  nadfas film at Ironart (2)