Marc WILLGOSS, blacksmith and teacher
After I finished my apprenticeship by the The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths in Great Britain in 2008, I started my workshop in France. Although the number of blacksmiths in Western Europe is declining - because of economic and cultural reasons - I have always been interested in this old trade. Many if not all modern trades and industries are based on the blacksmith who produced their tools and equipment. And this aspect of the blacksmith's work is the most attracting to me, the capability to fabricate my own tools.
My work includes traditional and modern locks and hinges, furniture, sculptures, repairs and welding services as well as selling steel. The essential work however is the work in the forge, meaning the transformation of iron, steel and other metals though heat. To achieve this I use a coke forge, a gas forge and a charcoal forge, as every metal and every composition has different specifications and requirements.
The heating techniques, the time of work and the tools are adapted to the materials used. The blacksmith needs to understand the fire and learn how to use hammer and anvil efficiantly. It takes time to master the basic techniques. My apprenticeship e.g. took almost five years.