Workshops

New Agrarian School 2022 Summer Course Schedule

 

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Introduction to Blacksmithing: Theory and Practice with Peter Haarklou

Session 1, May 2 through May 5 (one week)

In this intensive one-week workshop, students will be introduced to and hone their skills in the basics of forge work. Using primarily hand tools, Peter will present exercises and projects to build experience and confidence in this foundational craft. This class will provide the basic skills to participate in more advanced classes at the school.

Skill level: Basic

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Team Sculpture workshop with Rachel David (this title subject to change)

Session 2, May 23 through June 3 (two weeks)

Nationally known sculptor and blacksmith Rachel David will lead this intensive two-week workshop, applying her challenging approach to process and material to creating sculptural fire places that will remain a part of the New Agrarian School. The pieces will be designed in advance, with “assignments” for each person to complete individually over the course of the class while participating in partner and group aspects of the build. Expect a very high energy class where students’ initiative and abilities will improve and expand. It is preferred that participants have previous experience in forge work and or sculpture. You can see a selection of Rachel’s prolific body of work at Red Metal.

Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced

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Joy Brenneman forging at her blacksmith shop in Santa Ana, California.
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Introduction to Blacksmithing with Joy Fire

Session 3, June 6 through June 10 (two weeks)

In this two week class students will learn how to complete basic forging techniques like tapering, tenoning, slitting and drifting, etc. These skills will then be used to make a small functional object, with lots of space to make changes to the template according to individual design tastes and needs. Throughout the class there will be an emphasis on taking care of your body and learning how to forge safely and efficiently, regardless of your body size, type, or physical ability. This is an intentionally inclusive class for those who have less access to blacksmithing in the modern western world, that is; women, LGBTQ+, AAPI, and BIPOC, folks. If you have any questions about your abilities or needs for this class please contact the instructor.

Skill level: Basic to Intermediate

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Design and Construction of Forged Iron Furniture with Joy Fire

Session 4, June 13 through June 17 (one week)

This class is a possible continuation of the “introduction to basic techniques” class the week before. In this class you will design and forge your own small piece of functional furniture. There will be a general concept provided by the instructor, but you will be making something that is all your own design out of the material available at the school and work with the instructor to complete it. Your design should be reasonably sized so that you will be able to complete it in a week using your skills and the tools available at the school. It is recommended that you come to class with an idea of what you will make, you are welcome to contact the instructor ahead of time if you have questions about your concepts. As in all classes offered at the New Agrarian School, this class welcomes people of all walks of life. Joy has a particular interest and skill in working with folks who might not fit into the regrettably limited stereotype of “blacksmith”.

Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced

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Blacksmith’s Tools with Jeffrey Funk

Session 5, June 20 through July 1 (two weeks)

This workshop has grown to become a foundational class at the New Agrarian School. The design, forging, heat treating, and use of blacksmith’s tools of all types will be explored, with emphasis on both function and aesthetics. Participants will make a variety of hammers, tongs, punches, chisels, and other tools of interest to each individual. In addition to the practical value of forging one’s own tools, everything made in this class emphasizes good forging technique that can be applied to forging of all kinds, whether functional or sculptural. Students can expect to leave with a variety of basic tools and the knowledge of how to make more.

Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced

Less experienced folks will be admitted with the consent of the instructor.

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Forging Blacksmith’s Tongs with Peter Haarklou

Session 6, July 4 through July 8 (one week)

Tongs are an essential tool to the Blacksmith. They allow the blacksmith to securely grip common stock sizes like square and round stock or even obscure shapes like a half round or Triangular bar. Having the skills to forge tongs of any shape and size will allow a Smith to be versatile when the time arises for the need of a new set of tongs. In this class we will explore the more common types of Tongs seen in a shop. Such as vee-bitted square stock tongs, flat stock tongs, pickup tongs, and box jawed Tongs. In this class we will learn the fundamental importance of note taking, planning and executing a forging sequence, and proper team striking. Replication will also be a skill to hone in this class. Since most styles of tongs are comprised of two equal halves with the exception to box jawed tongs, students will learn how to train their eye to shape both halves of the set the same. Expect to transform simple bars into complex shapes, have a lot of fun, and ultimately to grow as a smith.

Skill level: Basic to Intermediate

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Designing and Making Pattern Welded Steel for Knives with Rick Dunkerly

Session 7, July 11 through July 15 (one week)

In this exciting workshop internationally known Master Bladesmith Rick Dunkerley will lead participants through all aspects of producing pattern welded (“Damascus”) steel suitable for forging high quality knives and other objects where internal pattern and structure are important. Beginning with the basics of forge welding, students will progress to explore a variety of patterning techniques. Each student will make a basic patterned billet and then progress to a more complicated pattern or mosaic billet. There will be discussions and demonstrations of multiple techniques for exposing patterns and mosaics.

Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced

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Hand Tools for Farm and Garden with Jeffrey Funk

Session 8, July 18 through July 29 (two weeks)

In this class participants will begin by forging a variety of tools for working the earth, including hoes, trowels, and forks. From there students will be free to explore other related tools such as sickles, scythes, and specialty tools of interest to each individual. Prior experience in blacksmithing will be a definite asset for participants in this class however, the basic techniques of forging and heat-treating tools will be thoroughly covered.

Skill level: Basic through Advanced

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Iron and Music with Matthew Marsolek and Jeffrey Funk

Session 9, August 1 through August 5 (one week)

In this unique workshop, percussionist, singer, and music educator, Matthew Marsolek, will be teaming up with Jeffrey Funk to spend a week exploring the intimate connections between the making of musical instruments of iron and the playing of those instruments. Matthew is well known as a gifted instructor of West African hand drumming and will be leading rhythm exercises to develop both the music and team work that will animate this workshop. We will be forging a variety of simple instruments used in this music, including gankogui (agogo), nganga (hand bells), banana bells, dunun bells, kerenyen (rasp bells), possibly some work with mbira, and other instruments according to the interests of students. Read more.

Skill level: Basic through Advanced

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Forging from the Natural World with Jeffrey Funk

Session 10, August 8 through August 19 (two weeks)

The forging of iron is, among the crafts, particularly suited to expression based on organic structures. Clearly, much decorative work of the past involved interpretation of natural forms, abstracted and integrated into pattern and design. In this class we will aim to explore the natural world around us directly to inspire designs and forms that we will develop in three dimensions at the anvil. The idea is to start fresh, without reference to traditional interpretations. Student will choose one or several examples from the organic or inorganic forms encountered in our immediate environment to study using both drawing and “sketching” at the anvil. Once work begins with hammer in hand, expect both the limitations and attributes of the iron to affect the design. Once a basic forging vocabulary is established for the designs chosen, students will complete either a series of well-developed sketches in iron, and in some cases, finished objects using the newly developed approach to form.

Skill level: Basic to Advanced

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Scandinavian and American Axes with Jim Austin and Jeffrey Funk

Session 11, August 22 through September 2 (two weeks)

Axes are one of the quintessential tools made by blacksmiths over thousands of years. Until relatively recently, the axe was absolutely essential for not only the felling of timber, but all manner of wood working. In this class one week will be spent exploring the Scandinavian approach to folding and welding different forms with Jim Austin, who has spent many years studying and making axes from that part of the world. The other week will be led by Jeffrey and focus on the practical forms developed in America, including the double bitted felling axe, the single bitted polled felling axe, and a mid-sized folded and welded axe. We’ll work with low carbon modern steel, antique wrought iron, straight carbon “tool” steels, and medium carbon alloy steels.

Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced

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Wild Iron: Smelting from the ground up with Lee Sauder (assisted by Nick Tomlin)

Session 12, September 5 through September 16 (two weeks)

Lee Sauder will guide the participants in this workshop through every aspect of the bloomery smelting process and subsequent consolidation of the smelted blooms into usable bars. This workshop is designed especially for folks who have some experience in smelting and want to deepen their understanding of both theory and practice by exploring several different types of ore from both Montana and Virginia. Workshop participants will spend several days visiting different sites where ore is found in the state, as well as the refractory clays and sands used in the process. We’ll make our own charcoal in the school’s sizable retort, and build the bloomery furnaces from scratch. Expect to actually operated the smelting furnaces for two to three days and still have time to make bars into functional objects. Read more.

Skill level: Experience in either Blacksmithing, Smelting or both are encouraged.

 

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