About this course

Experience the rhythm of working hot steel using fire, hammering and shaping at the anvil to make a small piece of work.

Course Description

This course introduces you to the craft of blacksmithing through demonstrated techniques, contributing to a piece of work in iron. You will gain experience of the rhythm of working hot steel at the anvil, use of the fire, hammer work, various tools, bending and shaping, drawing down tapers and twisting.

It is not necessary to have any prior experience of this craft, as tutor demonstration and guidance throughout the day is followed by individual practice.

As the day progresses, you evolve your technical exploration into an appropriately scaled piece in forged iron, which will be a testament both to the creative potential within the medium as well as techniques covered during the day. You should be able to view metalwork with a new and invigorated eye and you should have had an exciting glimpse into the world of metal working.

This course is unusual, it is rewarding and it is fun!


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the College will supply all the materials required for the specific project set by the tutor, including all fuel costs and metal that is stocked by the College.
  • Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge.

What students need to bring

  • You will need to wear clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. Please note that cotton or wool clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. Shorts do not provide necessary protection. For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. You must provide your own footwear and bring them with you to wear on the course. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders’ merchants, as well as online.
  • You must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge, or you can bring them along if you have them. If, for example, you have particularly large or small hands, your own leather work gloves are likely to be a better fit.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbook, pencil, rubber

Additional information

Please note: This course will be in the Forge, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. You should arrive by 8:50am for registration at the Main House, to ensure you can walk/be directed over to the forge at 9:05am for a 9:15am start. Classes are from 9:15am – 5pm. As this course is held in the Forge, morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please note that tutor supervision is always required when you are working in the Forge.


Andrew Smith

Andrew, an experienced artist, craftsman and tutor, has a BA (Hons) from West Surrey College of Art and an MA from the Royal College of Art. He has a large portfolio of architectural and public art commissions, from sculpture to functional metalwork. Andrew has substantial teaching experience at University level and has been teaching metalwork at West Dean College since 1987.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more