The Artist Blacksmithing programme encourages applications from tenacious, motivated and creative individuals excited by the diverse and extensive possibilities of working in hot forged metal. The programme focus is about challenging norms and bringing contemporary ideas to the rich tradition of blacksmithing. Consequently, there is particular emphasis on innovative thinking and skilled making. The programme encompasses a breadth of practice from architectural design to interior product and sculpture, all made from hot forged metal.
Supported by excellent lecturers and technical support staff, students on the programme have access to the largest training-based forge in Europe. A network of specialist workshops are available, where students extend their knowledge into such material areas as wood, ceramics, textiles, and plastics. The programme recognises the importance of making through digital fabrication as well as traditional making skills.
We enable our students to understand the connection between theoretical concepts and the practical concerns that drive contemporary forged metal design. This constantly evolving course is informed by current academic scholarship and the demands of a vibrant industry.
The result: our graduates are defining and redefining the cultural position of forged metal design.
You will develop your own personal vocabulary in hot forged metal by exploring and challenging the material and process. New and innovative ideas will be generated through critically reviewing personal research sources and an immersion in making work. A developing technical virtuosity in hot forging and metalworking technique will be central to resolving your quality designs into professionally produced and highly individual final outcomes.
The BA (Hons) Artist Blacksmithing programme at Hereford College of Arts is recognised world wide and is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of contemporary forged metalwork practice.
These studies are entirely focused around the students’ course area, providing a solid grounding in subject history and in critical ways of thinking about creative practice. The Critical Studies programme enables students to set their own work in a wider context, and also helps them develop a better understanding of how creative work can be interpreted and assessed. Click here for more details
Careers and Progression
Why take this course?
Artist Blacksmithing is enjoying a renaissance not only in the more usual arenas of domestic and architectural forge work but also within the gallery and public arts context, thus providing Artist Blacksmith graduates with clear opportunities to establish an innovative design-led creative practice.
The programme develops Artist Blacksmith graduates who are independent, critically aware practitioners, who posess proficient business management skills. Graduates are well-informed about their practice and have the capacity to express their ideas through the medium of forged metal with clarity, imagination and confidence. Many graduates develop careers as self-employed practitioners: setting up design studios and workshops and producing work ranging in scale and breadth from large scale exterior forged metalwork to small gallery objects.
Graduates can choose to gain experiences by becoming journeymen working for smiths across the world or can explore opportunities in the creative arts sector via consultancy, community arts, teaching, artist residencies and also postgraduate study. – Please click here to view our MA Programme
What you will experience
- The programme is highly respected nationally and internationally, and is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of contemporary forged metalwork practice.
- You will be part of a vibrant arts college, where your design skills will be tested and developed. You will have access to well equipped studios, a full range of craft workshops including CAD/CAM cutting and 3D printing technologies, enabling you to investigate other materials, test ideas and make high-spec maquettes or components
- We believe in the importance of laying a strong foundation of blacksmithing processes and techniques. You will receive focussed forging and metalwork skills training at the National School of Blacksmithing , based at The Rural Craft Centre, which is the largest forge training facility in Europe.
- You will have opportunities to work to commission on external live briefs including the production of designs that satisfy client/commissioner requirements.
- You will curate and exhibit your work in a professional environment. (Collaboration with galleries and makers in developing professional networks is an intrinsic part of the programme.)
- The ‘Masters of Metal’ lecture series is delivered ‘throughout the year by high-profile, national and international designers and artists, giving insights into their own design practice, and there are opportunities to participate in specialist Master-Classes delivered by industry professionals. Recent contributors have included Peat Oberon and Jake James.
- The programme has established close relationships with other major international institutions delivering forged metal programmes, including the University of Gothenburg, HDK Steneby, Sweden, and the University of Illinois at Carbondale USA.
- The programme is, at its heart, a practice-based degree focussing on forged metal and design, and with an emphasis on learning through doing. You will discover that research and experimentation is an essential part of the design process
- You will curate and exhibit your work in a professional environment. Access to galleries and professional networks are an intrinsic part of the programme.
- You will be develop professional business practices through a series of seminars and lectures, gaining insight into current business practice and completing a personal business plan, constructing a professional portfolio and online digital presence in support of your final degree show.
Workshops & Studios
You will receive highly specialised, technical training at the National School of Blacksmithing which is the largest blacksmithing training facility in Europe. You will have access to well-equipped studios and craft workshops within the art school including ceramics, jewellery, print and textiles, as well as extensive photography, IT and library facilities.
Learn more by watching
Masterclass with Jake James
Leszek Sikon Interview from Dan Haworth-Salter on Vimeo.
Toby Forbes Gower Interview from Dan Haworth-Salter on Vimeo.