René Petitjean, artist and instructor at the artist blacksmith program to Fleming College Haliburton School of Art and Design, He said he has seen a growing interest in the smithy.
“There is a great demand for blacksmithing,” he said. “We started in 1999 with a single class and now we have doubled it.”
He said television shows about forging and a growing market for handmade products have made the trade more popular.
“I love his looks and his story,” Petitjean said. “So there are a lot of people who do things for the house. I do architectural things. We have a teacher who is a sculptor and we had a teacher who was a maker of swords. “
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She added that more women are also learning the trade and that 30 percent of her class this year are women.
John Ducker, a graduate of the artist blacksmith certificate program, said he received the week-long course as a gift for his 50th birthday and has been hooked ever since, enrolling in the full-time certificate program afterward.
“I took a leave of absence from my job and came back for the fall program,” Ducker said. “I’ve kept up with it ever since.”
A former highway service technician said he took up blacksmithing as an exciting project and retirement plan.
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“When I quit my full-time job, I became a full-time artist and brought blacksmithing into that,” Ducker said. “It is so nice and rewarding to see the finished product and how it looks when people see your products.”
For more information about the blacksmith artist course, you can visit the Fleming College Haliburton School of Art and Design website.
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