Aaron Petersen is part of a family of Blacksmiths. Father and two brothers. And that connection, father to son, mother to daughter, is traditionally how crafts were learned.
The Petersen’s are an interesting family. Grandfather (Jack Petersen) was British Heavyweight Boxing champion back in 1932.
One of father David’s famous creations: The 10-foot-high Welsh Dragon, the Mametz Wood Memorial:
The Petersen family forge is is a huge building packed with the tools amassed through two generations. Dozens of hammers, tongs (is that what they are called?) and some huge machinery too. I’m no metalworker, but I imagine for most of you this would be paradise!
A lot of people would think that Blacksmithing is one of those crafts that is pretty much dying out. But the reality is that in the UK there are plenty of working smiths. BABA has 600 members and in the USA blacksmithing is hugely popular. Aaron teaches a lot of blacksmith courses and there is a constant demand for places from both complete beginners as well as people looking to improve their skills.
For this film we asked Aaron to show us a complete project from start to finish that would give a good introduction to some of the key smithing skills and techniques. He chose to make a Rams Head Poker (fire tool) which is something that some other people do make, but there are probably some key differences, and it certainly gives us a really good insight.
It was a really good fun day filming. But what Aaron showed us was quite mind blowing. You can see a Rams Head poker in the photo above. It is made from a single rod of steel. Not seperate pieces created and then stuck together. The more you think about it (or watch the film) the more you realise how incredible it is to transform metal this way. Just heat, some simple hand tools and quite a lot of muscle.
We hope you’re inspired! If so, take a look at the Ferric Fusion website which showcases a lot more of Aaron’s work. It also has details of the courses he runs.