© Michelle Smith Lewis
Increased representation in the field of blacksmithing will benefit the craft as a whole, from the hobbyist to the professional level. The presence of the voices, creativity, and economic participation of a diverse population will expand the craft and encourage members of underrepresented groups who do participate in it. Lack of representation and active support can cause harm in the form of increased likelihood of harassment and a decreased likelihood of continued participation due to a variety of real and perceived barriers. By fostering a broader participant base, SIBs encourages a community that expands and re-imagines what blacksmithing can be.
We believe that the following intrinsic conditions must be met for someone to be able progress in blacksmithing (wherein “progress” may be understood as learning, continuing to improve, trying new things, which we consider an essential part of blacksmithing for both hobbyists and professionals).
They must believe they are capable of blacksmithing. (This belief may be influenced by role models, teachers, peers, and non – blacksmiths.)
They must have access to appropriate tools, fuel, heat, materials, appropriate space, and time. (Access is influenced by money and connections.)
The must have access to information. This may be in the form of a teacher / mentor / role model, peers, videos, books, articles, guilds, demonstrations, and/or access to iron-work. (Access is influenced by money, connections, and formal and informal education.)
They must be able to practice blacksmithing regularly in a manner that allows them to make mistakes and learn from them. (Access is influenced by all of the above and requires a space where the Blacksmith may be safe and comfortable enough to focus on blacksmithing.)
We believe that there are social and economic barriers that prevent people in underrepresented groups from being able to meet these baseline conditions, thereby making it more challenging for people from these populations to progress in blacksmithing.
We believe that the Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths can make meaningful change by equitably reducing those social and economic barriers.