I had a great time on the two-day course near Machynlleth with Spike the Blacksmith. I knew I was in for a good time when over a coffee Spike wanted to know what music I liked then proceeded to download a days’ worth of Led Zepplin for background music. Spike then set about teaching me the basics of her craft. We started off with workshop safety and how to use the various tools and machinery, then proceeded to teach me how to make a few basics such as nail hooks and a rake to use in a forge.
I had emailed Spike a photo of a Viking lantern I was hoping to make for a log shelter back home !! a bit ambitious I thought ! but with Spikes patient guidance and a bit of John Bonham's drums in the background we managed to come up with a great lantern to take home. The one to one tuition was both relaxed and very rewarding as you see your project develop. I really enjoyed my time with this talented artist and added a couple of hours to the course to learn some basic Mig welding.
I will be returning soon for the two-day forge making course.
Within two minutes of meeting Spike Blackhurst at her cosy studio near Machynlleth I knew I was going to have a good day. She was warm and friendly, making me feel very welcome and at ease. As she explained what the day would hold and started to show me round her workshop it was immediately obvious that this was her passion as well as her job, and that she had a wealth of experience and knowledge.
The day began with learning the basic techniques and before long I had a poker to take home for the fireplace.
I had a hankering to make a small balustrade but never really expected it to be feasible in one day. Under Spike’s patient tuition I was delighted to find that we had made all the components by the end of the afternoon. We arranged for me to go back on another day to complete the welding and put it all together, and now it stands proudly at the top of our stairs and I get a real sense of achievement every time I walk past it !
I can thoroughly recommend any of Spike’s courses or bespoke sessions. She is an excellent teacher who really knows her craft. It is also wonderfully inspiring to see some of her own sculptures and commissions – they’re almost as good as my balustrade!
What a great few days Debbie and I had with Spike. After a thorough introduction to her workshop including all health and safety points we started to learn some basic forging techniques. Spike was very relaxed and friendly, showing us what to do at each step, starting with some basics and then leaving us to practice. Her manner was calm and gentle which made the days fun and enjoyable.
Debbie made a series of hooks, some wonderful jewellery and some interconnected hearts which she was very pleased with. I had chosen a fairly challenging project to make three medieval styled wall lamps which she enthusiastically helped me bring to completion but only offered her input when I asked or needed it. A great balance between ensuring the final item was my own but helping me do it safely and properly. Spike is great teacher and passionate about her craft, a fantastic experience I would recommend to anyone.
Thanks Spike – we will be back
Stuart and Debbie