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    Meet the Jurors

    Maegan E. Crowley

    Maegan earned a BFA from University of the Arts in Metalsmithing and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work is in private collections and is exhibited nationally. She has taught blacksmithing workshops at Haystack, Penland, Ox-Bow, Peters Valley School of Craft and the New England school of Metalwork, and has demonstrated at numerous regional blacksmithing conferences across the country.

    Maegan owns and operates “Iron Maegan Metalworks” in Dolores, Colorado where she produces custom metalwork for residential, public and commercial sites. From this small town she has created a client base that spans the country producing sculpture, fireplace accessories, cabinet hardware, railings and furniture with a modern aesthetic and impeccable craftsmanship.


    Instagram: @ironmaegan

    Zack Noble

    My current work involves stretching and expanding on traditional techniques in an effort to create modern designs with a focus on craftsmanship. I make sculptural, functional, and architectural work and enjoy challenging myself with each new project. My work can be found in or around clients homes from Florida to New York to Main Street Telluride, Colorado. I have been published in several books including Dona Meilach’s “Ironwork Today: Inside & Out” and Matthew S. Clarke’s “From Fire to Form”. I have taught at Penland School of Crafts, Peter’s Valley Craft Center, John C. Campbell Folk School, and have demonstrated nationally. I run my shop in Asheville, North Carolina and I live with my wife and our three children.

    Instagram: @noble_zack


    Lindsay Gates

    Lindsay Ketterer Gates has been the Executive Director of Touchstone Center for Crafts since 2018. For over 20 years she has been a studio artist whose work is in the permanent collection of the American Embassy in the Republic of Djibouti, The Museum of Art and Design in NYC, Yale University Art Gallery as well as other international collections (formerly Lindsay K. Rais). Her work was included in the touring exhibition ‘Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in the 21st Century’ and recently on loan in the American Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan and ‘Innovators and Legends; Generations in Textiles and Fibers”. She lectures and teaches nationally including at the Smithsonian’s American Craft Museum – Renwick Gallery, St. Louis Art Museum, Textile Study Group of NY, Haystack Mt. School of Craft, Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Craft, Peters Valley School of Craft, SOFA Chicago, and the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh. Lindsay’s work has been featured on the cover of Metalsmith Magazine and on the pages of American Craft MagazineFiberArts, Fiber Art Now, Surface Design Journal, Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot Magazine, FIBERARTS Design Book VII, 500 Baskets, Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to being an Artist/Craftsmen, to name a few. In 2005 she was awarded an Individual Creative Artists Fellowship by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

    Website(s): and


  • 2021 Scholarship Opportunities


    Scholarship Application Deadline February 1st

    Intermediate Tool Making & Design with John Williams 
    Fabricating & Forging Utensils with Erica Moody  
    Fearless Forge Welding with Addison de Lisle 

                At Center for Metal Arts, we work hard to make our workshops available to the widest possible audience.  Part of how we do this is offering a limited number of scholarships each year for our extended workshops. Currently scholarship applications are open with the deadline approaching quickly.  This year we have three exciting workshops with scholarship availability. These workshops are new for 2021 and represent a broad variety of how versatile and valuable the craft of forging can be.


    Intermediate Tool Making & Design with John Williams

              John Williams is in my opinion one of the most talented forged tool makers currently producing work in America.  With over 20 years of experience forging tools, John has been able to develop and refine his skills to create tools that are as functional as they are beautiful. John’s workshop will cover everything from forging and heat treating, hand tools and hammers, and he will cover tong making pretty thoroughly with emphasis on the forge welded reigns drop tong style.  Tool making with an emphasis on design is a valuable experience and will help you create tools that stand out in the field, whether you’re inspired by tradition or interested in developing your own style.  
                This is a great opportunity to work with a talented instructor in a well tooled forging classroom. Working with other established blacksmiths and tool makers is the best way to quickly improve your skills and more importantly get inspired! John is one of the best and a week with him will surely have a strong impact on your forging and design skills. 

    Fabricating & Forging Utensils with Erica Moody

             Erica’s work really stands out in a craft that places focus on eating and serving utensils. In 2016 she introduced a line of personal work crafting metal serving utensils using basic metals such as brass, copper, and steel with occasional wood embellishments. Her pieces are very beautifully and functionally formed and constructed from simple methods and aesthetics of traditional craft techniques that draw on her years of experience building minimally designed metal fabrications for her architectural clients.
                Her designs borrow from both the antique puritan and minimal modern aesthetic, striving for a style that is visibly handcrafted, yet refined in its practical beauty. If you value tools in the kitchen as much as tools in the shop, spending a week with Erica will be an inspiring experience covering a broad range of materials, forging and forming techniques, joinery and finishes.
                Erica’s work has been noticed by publications such as Bon Appetit, Esquire, and the New York Times Magazine. She has taught at numerous places such as Penland School of Craft, Wooden Boat School, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, & Wentworth Institute of Technology.  We are honored to have her and this workshop and looking forward to a wonderful week of creating beautiful kitchen ware with her.  

    Fearless Forge Welding with Addison de Lisle 

               Addison is a blacksmith who creates work that stands out as very finely crafted with a keen sensitivity to detail. With a strong background forging more traditional style work, Addison excels at forge welding and all the subtle nuances that come with managing a hot, clean, coal fire! Currently he is a professor of blacksmithing at the American College of the Building Arts in South Carolina.   
                Recently at CMA we built and installed nine new solid fuel forges so we can broaden our instructor and topic outreach. Addison’s workshop is the perfect fit to take advantage of these new facilities. This is a chance to immerse yourself in a technique surrounded by intrigue and mystique. Working with Addison will give you the confidence to forge weld successfully shedding insight on proper heat, fire, material cleanliness, and weld preparation. In a craft that’s largely mass manipulation, come hone your skills learning the traditional way of material addition through the forging process.
                Addison de Lisle earned his BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry at the Maine College of Art in 2011. After a class at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft, he was inspired to explore blacksmithing and apprenticed at Wilson Forge on Little Deer Isle, Maine.  In 2014 he was awarded a year-long fellowship in architectural ironwork at the Fondation de Coubertin in France and following this program he enrolled in Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he received his MFA in Blacksmithing and Metalsmithing in 2018. de Lisle exhibits work nationally and internationally, and has led workshops at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft, the American College of the Building Arts, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the Maine College of Art.


    Thank you for your interest in Center for Metal Arts scholarship opportunities.  Please click here to apply and feel free to contact us with any questions.


  • Cambria Iron Conference

    September 11th, 2021

    At Center for Metal Arts, Johnstown PA

     Inspired by the Past – Forging to the Future

              I’m very excited to announce we will be hosting our first forging conference at the Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown PA.  
              Our mission has always revolved heavily around three things, quality education, craftsmanship, and community. Our relocation to Johnstown, now three years ago, has allowed us the opportunity to grow and focus on these concepts.   
              One of the main reasons we relocated to Johnstown is to offer these wonderful historically significant facilities to the greater forging community. Although we have opened the doors of this shop to the public to see and appreciate, the first step of a much larger vision of community involvement is hosting a yearly event with live forging demonstrations on the large-scale industrial power hammers.  

    Above: My first visit to the shop in 2017

             The refurbishment of this shop is a long and costly endeavor, but with the hard work of our staff and the support of our community, we have been able to refurbish and run the #3000 Chambersburg utility hammer. This milestone was very exciting, that hammer and the entire shop have sat silent and unused for twenty-six years and we are looking forward to sharing that excitement with you. Twenty-six years is both a really long and a short amount of time. In the context of the life of the hammers it’s a short amount of time, but to a blacksmith it feels like forever. 



             This year our featured demonstrator is Jake James.  Jake is an award-winning and British born blacksmith. He has almost two decades of success creating functional and sculptural work in forged metals.  Jake operates his forge from Vancouver islands inspirational west coast. His vision is to create an experience with forged metal where your interaction with his work becomes a sensory experience going beyond the realm of surface adornment.  From large architectural commissions to small and personal sculptural works, Jake designs from a leading edge of a craft that traces its lineage through all ages of human history.   


    “My relationship with the material of my profession goes much further than the simple act of hammering it into shape. It is our control of Iron that has allowed the expansion of humanity across the planet, for good and bad, and that duality plays deeply into my thoughts and expression through my sculptural work.”
                Jake James


            Hosting Jake and our first public forging demo in the historic Cambria Iron co. blacksmith shop is an event we have been excited about for quite sometime. This shop and the historically significant forging equipment and tooling have spent 128 years of their life serving industry. What these tools and this shop represent are American progress and industrial development, and for that they should be very proud. After being motionless and quiet for 26 years, we at CMA couldn’t be more excited for them to begin their new life as educational tools, outlets for fine craft, art, and creativity, and feel these new roles will do them justice during their second life. 
              Please consider joining us during the first Cambria Iron Conference. Registration is open with early registration discounts!  Feel free to contact us with any questions. Below you will find a schedule of events at CMA the day of the conference.  

    Thank you 




  • Composition & Connection

    A Modern Metalsmith’s Journal on Forging, Education, & Sculpture

         Last week we taught a 1-week private workshop with Chad Kucherawy.  Chad has been a student at CMA serval times before and this was his 3rd private workshop with us.  The first two private workshops we forged a hacksaw frame and the first of many “dead man” stools we have created.  
         We really like working with chad, he is a great student, hardworking, inquisitive, has interesting ideas, and challenges us to be the best instructors we can be.  
         The hacksaw frame workshop was a great experience, Chad created a hacksaw frame we like to forge heavily inspired by our experience forging them with Seth Gould.  This workshop was very rigid from a design perspective.  We didn’t veer too much from the example I presented him with on day one.  This is an intricate project and a valuable experience simply from a technical standpoint, so we didn’t dive too deep into the design aspect of forging for this exercise.


         The next time Chad came to learn we took the same principals and techniques used to forge a dead man stand that Dan Neville and Zach Lihatsh designed and tweaked it to be an adjustable stool, rather than a shop tool. This was a fun challenge because we had some parameters we wanted to follow, such as the forging techniques necessary to join the piece, but we had to do some design changes in order to make it a functional stool.  
         This was a super successful experience. We created the stool and since it was an object for inside the home, rather than shop tool. We had fun spending time on small details like brass tube rivets, more elegant stock sizes, the finish, and the wood for the seat.  

         When Chad called me about a third private workshop, we spent a long time considering the next project.  I provided my feedback as an instructor about techniques I felt he needed to work on, and he gave me feedback about the kind of experience he was looking.  
         After several phone calls, lots of thinking and consideration for the project, we settled on a piece of furniture. This decision was not easy as there are many exciting things that can be created. We wanted to work more on the design aspect of the craft, something we at CMA are focusing more heavily on in our workshops these days and that isn’t taught as much as strictly technique-based classes and workshops.
         I have always felt like it’s hard to do anything in the craft of forging technique wise that has not been done before. What makes new and interesting work is the design aspect of the craft.  An example of this is a slit and drift hole, that’s not new, but when you look at the work of Peter Braspenninx you’re blown away because of his unique sense of design, time, and care he takes at the drafting table. I think one who may possess strong technical skills but struggles with design will struggle to create new and interesting work.   
         With that being a big part of this experience, Chad, Dan and I sat down for the entirety of Monday morning figuring out what he wanted to create.

         Chad came to CMA with the idea of wanting to create a table, more of an end table, less of a coffee table. He wanted riveted joinery and to include some structural material. Monday morning we came up with a concept for riveted corner connections with square bar and angle iron for the top and corner tenon joinery for the stretchers. Once we settled on something that Chad was happy with we started a discussion of how to turn concept to reality.
         Riveting through the diagonal cross section of square bar is tricky. We came up with a plan to hot forge a flat round section on the top of the diamond while preserving the corner on the underside in a “V” block tool on the hammer. We made a special tool for the job, a flat bottom round punch with a small point in the middle. The point actually serves two functions, it allows you to easily index in your center punch on the hot material and leaves a center punch mark in the forging for easy center finding later on the drill press.     

         We spent the rest of the day sampling and trouble shooting and am happy to say that we were able to create a strong and attractive corner connection using this concept. We spent a long-time doing R&D for the right tooling and process because we knew that this corner connection would be the highlight of the table. Perfect example of process dictating aesthetic.

         Once we got comfortable with the process, we started to create the actual table. With a loose sense of how Chad wants the finished product to be, we built all the legs and corners, working from there using process to inform decisions as they come. 

         Another highlight worth mentioning in this sheet metal top and the broke edges.  Breaking the edges gives thinner sheet some more structure, makes it less tinny, and actually may take out any warp or bend in it from the rolling process. Considering this detail the decision was made to lower structure side pieces and use the bent sheet metal as an accent, creating a sweet negative space reveal all the way around the table between the top and the frame.  
         All in all this was a great project to be a part of.  It was an ambitious build, one that demanded an attention to detail, custom tool making, lots of problem solving, and all the normal challenges it takes to create a custom table with four legs that sits level and doesn’t rock! 

       I want to thank Chad for coming back! It’s always a pleasure to work together. He makes me a better educator and hopefully we make him a better blacksmith! Thank you all for reading and your interest in Center for Metal Arts! We hope everyone is staying safe and we’re optimistic about a great 2021 workshop schedule! 

  • Composition & Connection

    A Modern Metalsmith’s Journal on Forging Education & Sculpture

    Forging Focus group shot – Photo: Jarrod Bunk

    Forging Focus Weeks 5 & 6

         I had given a lot of thought to how I wanted to handle the last two weeks of the Forging Focus asking myself, “How can I make this the most productive time for the students?”  Typically, during longer duration educational programs, I like to finish with a more intricate project that involves a complicated assembly with lots of parts that demand a keen attention to detail.

         Due to lower enrollment this year, I decided to handle the final two weeks a little differently.  We had three students that each had different interests when it comes to forging and I felt like it was appropriate this year to challenge them to design and build their own final project.  (I love structure in the forging classroom, so this approach with 8 students could get a little crazy)  Design and research played a stronger role in this year’s Forging Focus and I feel it had a lot to do with the success of the workshop. I plan to continue to stress this aspect of the craft through education as a way to create work that is strong both conceptually and technically.  I feel like all the student’s final projects were completed with a level of confidence that the design and discussion process helped with.

    Jim & Austin looking with a critical eye

          Each student searched deep inside themselves and figured out what it was about forging that they wanted to explore.  At this point it was my responsibility to help the students execute their idea to the best of their ability.  This is both the most challenging and rewarding part of being an educator.  It is important to step back and let them take the reins (tong pun there) and play a supportive roll helping in all aspects of designing and building. 

         During the design process I try really hard to get a strong sense of what the students want to accomplish, this is very beneficial when It comes time to build.  Since this is their project and their idea, I feel like my main roll here is to make sure it is within the realm of possibility, meaning they can handle it from a technical standpoint, and our shop handle it. I have been working with them now for four weeks so I have a good sense of what they can accomplish technically, and I know if we have the tooling or capacity to handle their project, and if not then the time to make it.   


         With sculpture, the concept is just as important as the process and the challenge is to find some sort of blend between the two without letting either sacrifice one another. This is where it really pays to listen to the student and as the instructor not micromanage the project. It’s very easy to just say “Well I would forge it like this” and sometimes that is appropriate and helpful, but sometimes it might take away from the concept, so that kind of feedback walks a fine line.  I loved this experience, and  how challenging it was.

    Sculpture by Austin Rose

    Furniture & Functional Objects 

         This is a completely different animal than sculpture. Although one has to focus on a lot of the same things, it’s much more of a technical challenge than conceptual. This kind of work is a lot easier for me to be definitive about what will work and what will not. The Challenge with furniture also lies in the design and even though the work is not “conceptual” the concept in this case is technique and functionality. For this particular project the benefit I can provide is helping design something that will function to the student’s satisfaction. We worked on multiple drawings which allowed us to figure out things like material sizes, dimensions, and try to anticipate construction complications in order to resolve them before the actual forging began. Following this process I think the strongest roll I played was assisting with layout. Jim had plenty of skills at the hammer and anvil, but was open about uncertainties in the assembly process. This allowed me to share a lot of tricks and tips about complicated assembly and orders of operation to prevent struggle.  

    Above: James Burr’s completed end table

    Below: Zach after being caught in the rain with his newly forged hammers 

          It was a very rich experience working so closely with all the students and assisting as they researched designed, forged, experimented, and challenged themselves. I know that the workshops are 100% for the students, but I would be remised if I didn’t mention how much I learn about being an instructor, working with individuals, learning about my process, and how to communicate about it. Because of that I would like to thank our students, not only for their interest and support of CMA, but all that they teach me as well.  These workshops always leave me energized and inspired!      

         Of course this whole program is not possible without a strong team. Courtney in our office, keeping everything together as we teach, and Dan and Tim, thank you so much for all your hard work! Thank you all for reading these blogs and for your interest in CMA, here’s to a safe rest of the year and a great 2021!


  • Composition & Connection 

    A Modern Metalsmith’s Journal on Forging Education & Sculpture 

    James Burr working at the hammer


    Forging Focus Weeks 3 & 4 – Tool Making 

         During weeks three and four, our focus was on two things, power hammer forging and tool making. After just finishing the “design your own coat rack” project and having not yet forged anything on the hammers, these two topics were a welcomed next step. 
         Sticking with my philosophy of having a firm grasp on the basics will serve you well as you advance, I asked them to do extensive parallel forging samples on the hammers.  On one bar they forge round to square, to octagon, then to round again, leaving evidence of each section.  They pick up on this pretty quickly, having first done it by hand at the anvil.  Because of their familiarity with this exercise, students can spend time focusing on lining up shoulders on the hammer and how to use flat dies to efficiently forge the material.  Besides the obvious benefits of control and comprehension of forging, it also gives our students an opportunity to run all three hammers and experience the differences of each one.   

    Power hammer demonstration samples

         Following these exercises, we get right into forging basic hand tools. Some of the tools I encourage the students to make are cold chisels, center punches, and 1/4” round and square punches.  The introduction of these forgings builds off of the parallel exercises, as I like my tool handles to be faceted, but introduces tapering on the power hammer.  This basic toolset covers two sided tapers, four sided tapers, round tapers and I like the center punch to be an octagonal taper.

    Center Punch

         I enjoy the challenge of transitioning parallel octagonal stock to tapered octagonal, and having the transition be in the same spot on every facet. This is more challenging than one initially thinks. These exercises provide the students with a nice toolset while getting them very comfortable at the hammers. Emphasis is placed on clean forgings done at the hammer then in some cases finished and refined at the anvil.  
         Finishing and heat treating are also covered and taking care during these steps is encouraged.  I always feel like quality work starts with quality tools, and I like to be happy and proud when I look down at my tools in use.  I feel like that pride directly transfers into the work that I am creating. Personally, it’s hard for me to make clean work with sloppy tools. 
         I love a successful heat treat when students use steel to cut steel with their cold chisel.  It’s a wonderful moment that gives everyone a sense of accomplishment and demonstrates one of the most special things about forging, the ability to make your own tools.  

    Zach with his tools

    Following basic hand tools is my favorite part of the toolmaking portion of this workshop…..


         To me the importance of forging tongs is difficult to describe in a few short paragraphs. Anybody who might know me personally or follow my work on social media knows I’m mildly obsessed with forging tongs.  As an artist and someone who enjoys pushing the boundaries of forged steel, I cannot have enough tongs to help me hold all the odd and interesting shapes I like to create. On top of that as a learning exercise they teach a blacksmith a lot about forging at the anvil, power hammer, and hand hammer control. They involve shouldering, tapering, riveting, mass isolation and calculation, knowing how and where to preserve material to achieve strong transitions, and forging multiples.  
         Forging multiples that are the same is essential to tong making and really drives home the forging multiples exercises we did as a class during the first week. I always like to point out to the students, “Remember when I had you make so many of those boring hooks the same without specialty tools and jigs? It was all for this!” I really think they understand and realize the importance.  
         It’s not always the case but these students were just as enamored about learning how to forge tongs as I was to show them my processes.  Naturally we start off with the three shoulder flat jaw tongs and work hard on all our transitions and preserving strength in them. 

    1/4″ Flat Jaw Tongs

          I express that strong tongs, that hold material properly, are imperative to help you execute your forgings with minimal fighting and frustration, and most importantly for safety. My biggest pet peeve as an educator is students holding material with the wrong tongs. Often students and people getting involved in forging wonder why they can’t forge very well when they’re holding 3/8” flat bar with 1/4” capacity tongs. If you do not have a firm grip on the material you will have a hard time controlling it. As you scale your work up those habits also become extremely dangerous and can damage your tongs.  I stress these points and topics as I demo and we have engaging discussions about the importance of these tools and the techniques to create them.  
         After their fill of flat jaws, (usually students forge about 4 pair each taking their time and making them nice) I introduce a really effective way to forge a very strong box jaw tong.  I have researched and come up with a one piece forging that can strongly hold stock up to 3” wide by ½” thick. This is a great exercise and adds some complexity to the three shoulder flat jaw, so it’s a logical next step.  Students were up for the challenge and I’m really impressed with the tongs they have created utilizing this method.   

    Above: Box Jaw Blank

    Above: Box Jaw Instructor Demo Tongs

         After these we transition, pun intended, to forging V-bit tongs. I demonstrate techniques and tools developed from my research inspired by the industrial tong collection in the historic Cambria Iron & Steel industrial blacksmith shop. For the past three years I have been in awe of the tongs I have found here.

    me, in awe of some tongs I found

         The tongs left in this shop represent over 150 years of industrial forging in one of America’s most influential and impactful steel mills.  The bulk of my research in the shop has been spent figuring out, to the best of my ability, how these beautiful tongs were forged.  I sort of reverse engineered the forgings, or rather, gained some insight into how the blacksmiths here made them, and worked hard to develop the tools and techniques to recreate them.  All the literature and diagrams I have seen about forging industrial V-bit tongs doesn’t seem to contain the techniques that these blacksmiths were using.  
         Because I have spent so much time observing these tongs and learning how to forge them, I am very excited about sharing the process. Getting all the proportions where I liked them and preserving strength in the transitions took me quite a while, but I feel was time well spent.  I have scrapped a lot of these tongs because they simply haven’t held up, but recently (since making some new discoveries) have been putting some through the paces that are preforming quite well*. The students absolutely shared my enthusiasm and had a blast creating tongs in this style to hold several different sizes.


    *I prefer to forge my tongs from mild steel most of the time 

    Above: 1/2″ 3/4″ & 1″ V-bit tongs
    Below: V-bit detail
    Instructor demos

    Austin, @afreerose and Jim, @jbblacksmith76 showing off their tongs in the morning sun

         Thanks for reading this and for your interest in Center for Metal Arts!  I hope this finds everyone well, staying healthy, and focusing on the things in life that matter most to them.

    Hope to see you soon!


  • Composition & Connection 

    A modern metalsmith’s journal on education, forging, and sculpture

    Forging Focus    

         As the second week of the forging focus draws to a close, I look back at the exercises and experiences and feel great about the growth and accomplishments of the students.  As one of the instructors of this workshop, it’s very important to me that no matter what the student’s skillsets are, we start with the basics and move from there at a pace that everyone is comfortable with.  My goal is to demonstrate and charge the students with executing a series of projects during the first two weeks that demonstrate they have an understanding of working at the anvil.  

        One of the major things stressed during this time period is hammer control. Without a firm grasp of this seemingly simple concept, growth as a blacksmith will prove to be difficult and frustrating. In order to demonstrate hammer control we work on parallel forgings: round to square, square to octagon, and back to round again.  All these sections on one bar leaving evidence of each section. This exercise is beneficial in so many ways.  From the student’s perspective, it gets them moving and working in an unfamiliar shop; using the saw, getting comfortable with the tooling and working at the forge and the anvil. As the instructor, it gives me a strong sense of the students hammer control and experience level.  Regardless of your interests in forging a clear understanding and execution of this exercise will serve you well.   

        I want the students to get the most from their six weeks here.  A firm grasp on the basics will only prove helpful when trying to execute sculptural, traditional,  nontraditional, expressive, or rule-breaking forgings.  

        Following theR-S-O-R exercise we get into some simple wall hook forgings. Building off what we have already learned with the parallel forgings this exercise introduces tapering, shouldering, bending, working at the horn, and a small amount of scrolling.  What I’m looking for from this project is several hand forged hooks that look the same.  This exercise is not about the hook necessarily, but rather the repetition, the muscle memory and the introduction of several new techniques and skills.

        Next I introduce the challenge of creating a much more contemporary hook of my design which consists of three forged elements and a rivet.  This project is important because it relies heavily on getting comfortable using hand tools at the anvil and is the first project that involves joinery.  Elements of this hook include three ¼”square punched holes, two ¼” round punched holes, some hand held fullering to create 90 degree bends, an interesting way to forge a crispy corner, and of course the square rivet so the hook does not pivot.  As with the previous project I encourage three of these hooks to be created. It never ceases to amaze me how much better the third one is and how much firmer of a grasp the students have on the concepts and techniques.  

        At this point, week one has come to a close, and on Friday I introduce the next project which is to design your own three hook wall mounted coat rack. I feel confident I have introduced enough techniques for the students to now try to design and execute their own forgings. I request that they stick within the realm of techniques we have learned, but I encourage experimentation and sampling.  They still are not yet allowed to use the power hammer. I don’t like when blacksmiths use the hammer as a crutch, and I love the challenge of designing something that does not rely on its use to execute. As frustrating as it is, it shows them that there are a lot of possibilities and lots of interesting forgings and work that can be created without power hammers. 

    Instructor Sample

        The shop is closed this weekend, and the students have some homework.  On Monday morning I ask to see a presentation consisting of three different hook idea sketches, they need to share five images of forge work and be able to talk about what is inspiring to them about the images, and to present one blacksmith that they look up to and why.  

         Students then have from after their presentations on Monday till end of the day on Wednesday to complete their designed and executed coat racks.  During this time, I work closer with the students one-on-one helping them trouble shoot their forgings and make any necessary adjustments to their design to help ensure success without sacrificing integrity.  This is a nice blend of personal exploration and one on one instruction.  

        This section of the Forging focus is super exciting, I love seeing what the students come up with and helping them through their process.  I also really value being able to have two and a half days to work on a three-hook coat rack.  This is something the real world rarely affords you and often, as they are encouraged, the students see this project more as wall mounted sculpture they can hang their coat and hat on.  The results are always great, and I am inspired by the variety of work they present and the personal challenges they set for themselves and subsequently overcome.  

    Below: Coat Rack by Austin Rose

    Next up is power hammer introduction and tool making!

    Thanks for reading and for your time.  I hope everyone is well, staying healthy, and we hope to see you soon!


  • Happy New Year!

    Greetings from Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown PA! I hope this finds everyone well as this holiday season draws to a close. As always, I am excited to reach out and share with you some of the exciting things that are happening in  2020.  In this newsletter I will highlight both our Scholarship and our Internship Program. 

    Setting Rivets with Noah Wakefield

    I am thrilled to share with you that our 2020 workshop schedule is posted, open for enrollment, and courses are filling up fast!  We work hard to create an engaging curriculum consisting of workshops for all skill levels that represent a broad range of what forging has to offer.  

    Center for Metal Arts in honor of the New Year holidays offers our customers to receive as a gift to our products, to receive additives based on .

    We have scholarships available for both 1-week workshops and our six week “Forging Focus”

    Forging Focus
     Tool Making and Applied Forgings 

    Andy Dohner demonstrating some layout tips and tricks

    The Forging Focus workshop is a six week intensive workshop in which students have access to our forging classroom 7 days a week.  It is a strong technique based workshop where students learn valuable skills both at the anvil and the power hammer. Full workshop description can be found here

    As the title suggests this workshop places strong emphasis on tool making and how those forgings and techniques translate to all other areas of blacksmithing.  Tool making is fundamental to the blacksmiths development at the anvil and power hammer.  We will work hard creating lots of different tooling such as tongs, hammers, and hand tools then putting them to use at the anvil creating other works that revolve around traditional joiners techniques.  

    There will be lots of emphasis placed on clean forgings and refinement both at the anvil and power hammer. Students will be encouraged to take advantage of open studio time to practice, experiment, and work on class projects.  This is a great experience for any blacksmith serious about developing their skill and who is looking for a solid chunk of time to focus on forging!

    Scholarship applications can be found 

    6 Month Internship Program 

    Hammer making with Anna, Aaron, & Jesse

    As you think ahead to 2020 please keep in mind that we are also offering one six-month internship from April through September 2020, so if you feel like immersing yourself in all the exciting programs CMA has to offer, want to grow your skills as a blacksmith and learn about what its like to run an educational blacksmith shop, perhaps this is the right program for you.

    Our internship is ideal for the aspiring blacksmith who is self motivated and eager to lean and work.  This opportunity gives our intern plenty of open studio time to grow their skills as a blacksmith with unlimited access to our forging classroom and free housing during there time at CMA. We encourage our interns to work as much as possible during open studio time as we feel this combined with working with our visiting instructors is an invaluable asset we can offer someone who wants learn about forging. Our interns work closely with all of our visiting artists, audit and participate in workshops and help with all the necessary work behind the scenes that it takes to host blacksmiths, run quality workshops, and maintain an educational forging facility.  

    Internship information and applications can be found

    Observing a demonstration by Peter Braspenninx

    Thank you all for your time, and thanks to all of you who have supported CMA and participated in our programs.  2020 has a lot of wonderful things to offer anyone interested in blacksmithing.  We hope to see you in the shop this year and look forward to working with you!  

    If you have any questions about any of our programs please don’t hesitate to ask.  Feel free to contact us through our contact link on our website or give us a call at 814-418-0409.

    Thanks again!


    Center for Metal Arts
    106 Iron St. Johnstown PA 15906
    Phone: 814.418.0409
    email –

  • Center for Metal Arts: Spring Update

    Hot Rivets: A Collaborative Sculpture with Steve Howell

    The first sculpture for CMA’s campus was completed during Hot Rivets: A Collaborative Sculpture workshop taught by Steve Howell @ballardforge. The pictures above and below are of the sculpture from our first week long workshop. We are very excited by the addition to our campus as well as the  success of the class.

    Refurbishing of the First Steam Hammer 

     One of the main reasons we moved to Johnstown and what initially attracted us to the sight was the preserved collection of large scale forging hammers and accompanying hand tools. Our mission is to preserve and grow this historic art in our Johnstown location by refurbishing these tools and equipment and making them accessible to the artist blacksmith community who otherwise might not have access to industrial scale forging equipment. Thanks to the hard work of CMA staff and a generous donation by Gregg Glosser of Glosser Steel, we were able to refurbish one of the large steam hammers in the Blacksmith shop and run it on compressed air. This 3,000 pound power hammer was last operated twenty seven years ago. The picture in black and white shows the power hammer in operation 1987. The picture beside it was taken May 2019 during its first operation under CMA’s care . This is a large milestone for us and we are excited for the next steps in refurbishment of the historical blacksmith shop.

    Fall Workshops Openings

    We still have some room in our fall workshops! The below are a small selection of some of the workshops that still have openings. For our full workshop listing or to sign-up for a workshop, visit our website

    Toolmaking for the Metalsmith
    This two-day workshop is perfect for metalsmiths who are interested in learning how to make their own forged tools. During this basic tool making workshop, attendees can expect to forge, finish, and heat treat an 8oz cross peen hammer, center punch, and scribe.More Details.

    Forging a Meat Fork
    In this one day workshop, students will learn how to taper, isolate, rivet, and move steel by hand forging at the anvil. The foundation of this class will be about basic techniques that show the plasticity and capability forged steel can have. More Details.

    Tong Making
    This workshop is jam packed with hand forging skill development, involves lots of small subtle steps and nuances, and moves quickly. More important than walking away with one or two pair of functional tongs, you will learn the skills and gain the confidence to go home or to another shop and continue to make tongs of all varieties and grow your toolset. More Details.

    Tools for the Kitchen
    This workshop will focus on the use of forged steel and formed brass to create beautiful, functional kitchenware. Students will be exposed to two different studios splitting time between blacksmithing and metalsmithing. Handle design, basic forging and forming steel will be covered in blacksmithing. Forming, fabricating, riveting, and planishing brass will be covered in metalsmithing. Students will have the opportunity to make both a ladle and a spatula. This is an excellent opportunity to learn a broad range of metalworking techniques and is open to all skill levels.
    More Details.

  • You’re Invited to CMA’s Open House Party!

    Come celebrate the conclusion of our first, one week workshop during our open house party and sculpture viewing! On May 11th, the results of our “Hot Rivets: A Collaborative Sculpture” workshop taught by visiting instructor Steve Howell will be on display on the grounds of CMA. The sculpture is inspired by the industrial heritage of Johnstown and created using the very same iron working techniques this influential city was built upon. The party starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 11th and goes till dark! Please join us for a fun and informal celebration, hor d’oeuvres will be provided and feel free to BYOB!

    Steve Howell

    Steve has been immersed in industrial arts all his life. He is currently the director of production at the Sahale fabrication shop in Seattle, Washington. Steve’s deep personal interest in metal fabrication bore fruit in 2008, when he succeeded in recreating a complete set of tools and processes for reintroducing the lost art of structural hot riveting. His background in steel fabrication and testing includes offshore welding in the Gulf of Mexico, quality control and inspection of components for the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the  F-22 fighter, and Abrams tanks.
    Instagram @ballardforge

    Workshop Description

    Students will be creating a collaborative sculpture combining forged elements, structural steel shapes, and riveted joinery to break through barriers of perception and monotony.  The riveting technique allows a designer to leverage ideas where one rivet is not a big deal, but six million will get you a monument.

    Prior forging skills are highly recommended. The class will focus on forged sculptural elements, layout on structural steel shapes, and then will look at creative ways to join the pieces utilizing pneumatic and hydraulic riveting techniques with presses Steve will bring.  Come be a part of creating a large-scale sculpture for the grounds at CMA.

    This is a unique opportunity to work in the same fashion things were built in Johnstown, PA when steel construction did not involve welders.  Be immersed in the city that was home to one of the most significant steel mills in the country and work in the fashion it was built.  If you’re interested in industrial forging, structural material, and hot riveted joinery, this is the workshop for you, hosted in one of the most inspirational settings for that style of work.

    For a preview of some of the techniques used during the creation of this sculpture, watch this video!

    Thank you, hope to see you there!

  • Open House: December 1st

    Center for Metal Arts (CMA) has been established in Johnstown for almost a year – and now, CMA and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) are inviting the public to see what they do.
    On Dec. 1, five hour-long tours will be offered to showcase CMA’s current operations in the Pattern Shop, and its plans to occupy the historic Blacksmith Shop. The tours, which will be offered at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm, will include a metalworking demonstration by CMA’s principals, Patrick Quinn and Dan Neville, and a tour of the Blacksmith Shop’s interior. The tour’s nominal $5 cost will cover ear and eye protection.
    Tickets will be sold in advance and at the door. Advance ticket purchase is encouraged, as each tour will be limited to 40 people. Advance tickets can be purchased securely online, or in person at the Heritage Discovery Center or Johnstown Flood Museum.
    Founded in 2003, Center for Metal Arts moved their operations from New York state in early 2018. It offers educational programs open to the public, as well as specialized training for professional blacksmiths — it also creates commissioned work, and sponsors residencies.
    “Moving to Johnstown was an easy decision for CMA,” said Patrick Quinn, CMA executive director. “Our passion for forging and industrial joinery techniques paired really well with Johnstown’s heritage, and the city is a great place for us to grow our educational forging program.”
    CMA estimates that 150 people have attended workshops at their facility since they opened in Johnstown. Many of these workshops take place over several days, meaning that participants spend multiple days here.
    “We think the experience that CMA offers visitors can help to attract heritage tourists to the city. People rarely have the opportunity to view industrial forging,” said Richard Burkert, president of JAHA.
    Currently, CMA’s operations are located in what was formerly the Pattern Shop, but the organization plans to move to the Blacksmith Shop as soon as is feasible, once reinstallation of utilities – compressed air, electricity, natural gas, and water — can be completed.
    It will take time, but equipment in the shop (some of which is in place; other items are in storage) will be refurbished and used, including the shop’s five steam hammers.
    Many people think of horseshoes and nails when they think of blacksmiths. By contrast, the Blacksmith Shop, which was built in the 1860s, made large-scale tools and equipment used in other sections of the Cambria/Bethlehem steelworks. Just a handful of men worked there at the time of Bethlehem’s shutdown in 1992, but as many as 100 people worked there daily in two and three shifts during its heyday of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    The Blacksmith Shop was the subject of an intensive rehabilitation effort undertaken by JAHA and the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2004, JAHA successfully applied for a Save America’s Treasures grant of $292,836 from the National Park Service to stabilize the structure. The handmade brickwork was restored using historically accurate methods – in fact, the mason who worked on it had also done preservation work on the White House. Other improvements included replacement of the roof and stabilization of the cupola, installing drainage, and other items.
    Also in 2004, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, which owns the building, received significant brownfield grant funding from the EPA for the Blacksmith Shop, which was used to install a concrete floor, mitigate environmental issues, and repair historic doors and windows.
    But the building was dormant for more than 25 years until Center for Metal Arts’ move, a process that was instigated when CMA’s principal saw a photo of the shop’s interior on JAHA’s social media a few years ago.

    Get tickets here

  • The Center Welcomes Haley Woodward

    Haley has been blacksmithing professionally since 2001 and with an MFA degree in blacksmithing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Currently a forging instructor at Austin Community College, Austin, TX. Haley teaches a variety of blacksmithing courses ranging from introductory skills to tool making, power hammer, and sculpture. Check out his work on his website!
    Also maintaining his own full-time studio in Austin, where his work ranges from sculptural forged fine art pieces to architectural ironwork. Haley has been invited to exhibit and teach and demonstrate throughout the United States at a variety of craft schools and organizations, including Penland School of Crafts, Forging on the River at the National Ornamental Museum in Memphis TN, and the Artist Blacksmithing Association of North America.
    Haley will be teaching the popular and informative Power Hammer workshop that covers everything you need to know about forging on a power hammer! This is a great workshop to take if you own a power hammer and want to improve your skills and understanding of power hammers or are thinking of purchasing one. Covered in this workshop are all aspects of working safely and efficiently at a power hammer, open and closed die forging, top tool work and proper safety and care for the machine. This year, Haley has designed a special project: a forged and traditionally joined anchor.
    This project will cover closed and open die forging, swage dies under the hammer, and simple traditional joinery such as the tenons, wedges and a shackle. There are a few spots left for this informative workshop! This is a great opportunity to learn from one of the best forging instructors teaching traditional and contemporary forged work in America today. Haley is a Welsh of knowledge when it comes to power hammers and all aspects of forging and working in a smithy. Taking a class with him is an opportunity not to miss. Our new location at the Cambria Iron Co. National Historic Landmark, in Johnstown PA is filled with rich industrial forging history and power hammers alike. Come check out our new location and learn new forging techniques in this beautiful location!
  • Center for Metal Arts is Moving!

    We are pleased and proud to announce that The Center for Metal Arts is relocating to the historic Cambria Iron Blacksmith Shop in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Built in 1864, this shop conducted industrial scale forgings continuously from the 1860s until the early 1990s when it closed. The site is a designated National Historic Landmark, having a historically significant and extensive collection of rare, large-scale power hammers and original hand tools forged on site. We are excited to bring this amazing asset back to life and to offer it as a facility for your learning and use.
    We have been hard at work with the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority to solidify an agreement to turn the Cambria Iron Blacksmith Shop into the new home of The Center for Metal Arts. This move will help us grow and develop in all of our current activities, and more. We will have the room to expand and add to our programs, to better suit students of all skill levels and from all regions of the country. Our new, larger facilities will accommodate our growing artist residency and internship programs and will allow us to offer longer-term workshops.
    We expect to accomplish our move quickly and to resume our regular schedule of workshops beginning in late February. After that, we intend quickly to expand the program offerings of The Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown. Stay tuned!