© Michelle Smith Lewis
We are working to change the image of blacksmiths in the 21st century by supporting, promoting, and highlighting historically underrepresented populations and forward-thinking work. When all metalsmiths can work together toward excellence in supportive environments without personal judgments and when professionals and the general public appreciates the value of our work, we will have achieved our goals. We are not an exclusive group setting out to take on these issues alone. This will require a much broader conversation, with smiths from across the country, of all ages, races, genders, and demographics, to engage in this work. Everyone who is passionate about the blacksmithing process should have access and support, and we can build a culture that strives to make that the reality.
To foster an inclusive blacksmithing community we have started a three month online mentorship program, host a thriving online community of like minded smiths, promote opportunities for our community, and fund scholarships for new and upcoming blacksmiths. In the future we will host events, workshops, seminars and projects of various scopes, some for focused groups and others with wide-ranging demographics. In our community we model empathy and inclusive behavior, and expand the conversation about who can be a blacksmith by promoting and supporting smiths that have historically had less visibility in the craft.