For more information: Virginia Blacksmithing Institute Website
Try Your Hand at Blacksmithing!
Swing a big hammer to strike a glowing piece of metal against a solid anvil and create something beautiful, useful – or both! Courses meet at the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing, South River complex, 200 W. Twelfth Street, Waynesboro, with most scheduled one Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-4 pm. Unless otherwise noted, courses are led by instructor Dale Morse, who attended Penland and John C. Campbell craft schools in NC, and studied in Germany and Italy. A 2015 Virginia Juried Master Artisan Award Recipient, Dale was selected by the Artisans Center of Virginia for his excellency in design and craftsmanship. The award also recognizes Dale’s commitment through education and mentorship to passing on his trade to future generations.
From beginning and intermediate blacksmithing to metal jewelry and stained glass, there’s a course to meet your skill level and area of interest!
NOTE: The Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing is located in a gated warehouse complex. Students will need to obtain the keypad code when registering. Required attire for all classes: natural fiber clothing only - no synthetic materials; boots or closed-toe shoes (no sandals). Shoes/clothing will get dirty. Eye and ear protection provided.
Modern Metal Work and Welding
Our Modern Metal Work & Welding 2-day class is now a project driven class. Students will learn the art of metal work, fabrication and welding while creating projects that they can bring home with them. This 2-day class is great for engineering students that need practical experience or great for the artist that would like to begin learning about the art of metal fabrication and welding to create metal sculpture. Work will entail using an acetylene torch, mig welder, various grinding equipment and an electric band saw. Whether you are a beginner with no metal work experience or someone with some metal work/welding experience, this class will be fun and educational. Each student will have completed the class with the basic knowledge of modern metal working, a genuine skill and a finished project.
Meets: May 2-3 OR May 16-17 OR Jun 6-7
Metalsmithing - Torch Fired Enamels
Painting with fire! Torch firing enamels onto metal is an affordable and fun technique for students of every level. It offers extreme spontaneity and versatility for students looking to add color to their jewelry designs without the time and experience requirements of kiln fired enameling. $10 materials fee, payable to instructor.
Meets: May 2
Metalsmithing - Advanced Open Studio
Instructor Karen Friedlander will be on hand to help with advanced projects or continuation of previous Metalsmithing/Jewelry projects.
Meets: May 16
Metalsmithing - Introduction to Soldering
Introduces soldering fundamentals for sterling silver jewelry. Materials fee of $20 payable to instructor.
Meets: June 6
Metalsmithing - Introduction to Metalsmithing
This is just a cool class to take and a great way to spend a Saturday. Students will learn how to cut, pierce, file and form copper into jewelry designs. Cold connections (rivets) jump rings and experimenting with different patinas are also covered. A materials fee of $10 is payable to the instructor at the time of the class.
Meets: June 20
Hook Rack & Candlestick
Hammer metal to create a candlestick and wall-mounted coat rack in this beginner level course. Class includes safe shop practices, fire management, efficient hammer techniques and basic forging. Note: *This is the best technique-driven class for the beginner. Note: This is the best technique-driven class for the beginner.
Meets: May 9-10
Build a Spear
Practice shop safety, fire management, and hammer control as you make a spear head of your own pattern…worthy of Middle Earth! A dowel will be provided for each spear head.
Meets: May 23-24
Build a Helmet
Create a helmet with your own embellishment to show off at the next SCA event or Renaissance Fair. Refine your shop safety, fire management, and hammer control skills.
Meets: Saturday & Sunday, Jun 27-28, 9 am-4 pm
Garden Art NEW!
April Showers bring May flowers! Why not make a piece of garden art to show off what spring brings! Students will be able to choose from a decorative hose holder and guard stakes or a simple trellis for your clematis, rose or other climbing plant. A simple and fun way to accessorize your garden space. Students will learn shop safety, basic fire management and forging skills.
Meets: May 16-17
Simple Trivet NEW!
A trivet is a stand with short feet for use to keep hot dishes and casseroles from scorching a table's surface. All the kitchen supply stores sell them - most families have only ceramic ones - but making one with your own hands from iron is a one-of-a-kind, unique creation. This project involves some of the trie and true blacksmithing joinery techniques that have been used for thousands of years. Learn how to make tenons, use rivets and explore fire welding. Students will also learn shop safety, fire management and basic hammer techniques in this class.
Meets: May 30-31
Ready to go camping? How about making your own campfire rotisserie and cooking utensils? You will learn all that good safety, fire management and hammer control info. In addition you will make a really cool and useful project for that camp or back yard fire pit.
Meets: Jun 20-21
Introduction to Stained Glass Workshop NEW!
In just one day learn all the basics of working with stained glass and create your own masterpiece! No previous experience is necessary! Students will learn step-by-step instruction on the fundamentals of creating stained glass pieces. Learn pattern preparation, how to cut glass, foil and solder. Each student will go home with a creation of their own making. All materials will be provided; there will be a materials fee up to $30 payable to instructor at time of class.
Meets: Apr 25 OR May 30 OR Jun 27
Fun-da-metals Evening Course
Artistic metal fabrication and blacksmithing is what you will learn in this comprehensive course. Topics include shop safety, layout and design, cutting, oxy-acetelyne torch techniques, mig-welding, drilling, grinding, finishing, and beginning blacksmithing. Build a stool, garden gate, or fire screen project - or work on a project of your own. Four Tuesday evenings.
Meets: May 5, 12, 19, 26 OR Jun 2, 9, 16, 23
Blacksmithing Certification Program
If you like to work with your hands and be creative, learning a trade in the art of traditional blacksmithing might be the career journey for you. Designed to train students in the art of architectural and ornamental metalwork on a professional level, this certification program qualifies successful students to work for and continue their training with a professional blacksmith. The Certification Program begins in September and is limited to 10 students each year. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate from Blue Ridge Community College.
Workshops meet 8 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday; most of the 12 workshops also include afternoon labs on Fridays (3-6 pm). Workshops must be taken in sequence, unless you’ve had prior experience AND pass an aptitude test.
The 12 workshops cover many aspects of blacksmithing, as well as topics such as introduction to business management/accounting, zoning and building codes. The instructor may also recommend other online micro-business management courses. Certificate program instructor Dale Morse has more than 35 years of experience in traditional blacksmithing, is the co-founder of the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing and proprietor of Clay Hill Forge, an artisan blacksmithing company specializing in architectural and ornamental ironwork.
Weekend Workshop 9
Students will complete the five piece (poker, shovel, brush, tong, and stand) fireplace set project begun in the previous workshop. Emphasis is on consistent form and appropriate scale.
Meets: May 2-3
Weekend Workshop 10
Common forms of blacksmithing business will be the focus of this class. Introduction to business management, pricing, accounting, taxes, zoning ordinance, building code, and other common issues will be discussed. In addition, scale drawing and sketching will be covered. Four individual three hour labs will be required of the student to perfect sketch to finished project skills. Students will need to be able to demonstrate an ability to draw a form on paper to scale, transfer that to full scale on a layout table, and forge and fabricate the form accurately.
Meets: Jun 6-7; required afternoon labs: Jun 11, 18, 25, Jul 2