Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Crafters' Way - Hot and Heavy

I write a weekly Craft Column for a local paper. I post it here or you can view online at

We are all familiar with images of Blacksmiths from the old cowboys movies, bent over over fires hammering horseshoes. Blacksmiths work with black metals, usually iron. The ‘smith’ comes from the word smite, which means ‘to hit’. The metal is heated until it is soft enough to be shaped. It is during the heating process that the iron becomes black.
While there may not be much call for horseshoes today you can still see blacksmith at work.

Old Petrie Town is home to not one but two working blacksmiths. Mark Kent from Traditional Iron handcrafts individual ironwork the way it used to be. On the Sunday I visited the Blacksmith workshop Mark was hard at work heating and hammering. While he worked I looked through the pages of his portfolio. Mark has designed and made commissioned artwork for homes and businesses. Balustrades, gates and furniture all feature heavily in the portfolio. If you are visiting the Sunday Markets, pop down and see Mark at work.

The second Blacksmith operating from Old Petrie Town is Ian Parmenter from Ferrocity. Ian originally learnt his skills while attending the Royal School of Military Engineering. In 1991 Ian established his own business focusing on the artistic side of blacksmithing. It was during this time that Ian completed commissions for Elton John and the Globe Theatre in London. Prior to immigrating to Australia Ian was the Senior Blacksmithing Lecturer at Warwickshire College. Ian is still keen to introduce newcomers to the craft, holding regular training courses.

For further information or to see more images of both men’s work visit their websites.

Traditional Iron
Mark Kent

Ian Parmeter

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