2021 has come and gone. It’s hard to see patterns while you are immersed in them, but it’s worth while to take a step back and pause. Step out of the routine and observe the environment you’ve been living in from a new perspective. Perhaps this creates an opportunity to take stock of what was, what is, and what has not yet come to pass.
This year in blacksmithing has brought up many questions. Questions that I do not have answers to, but feel excitement to continue to explore. Questions that are not unrelated to the the broader state of the world. As I think about these questions my mind always wanders back to my undergraduate studies of ecology and ecosystem health. I’ve spent a lot of time relating these questions not only to my work as a blacksmith, but also to the communities I am a part of. I look for inspiration in fungi and the lessons that mycology can teach us. I use my practice of historical rapier fencing to play out and test these concepts and ideas as a physical and mental sandbox of play: one with tangible variables and outcomes. I hope that ultimately these pursuits are worthwhile. It often feels that true creativity evades me in the realm of blacksmithing. Is this the price of making ones interests into a job? I don’t think so.
As always bloomery smelting continues to feel especially important. Other than the obvious connection to ironwork, bloomery smelting strikes a fundamental cord somewhere deep inside of myself. I have yet to exactly place my finger on this, but I’m trusting that this feeling of importance is worth following.
What does resiliency look like?
What is true adaptability and how does one reach it?
How does one find comfort in the uncomfortable, and what is possible in this place of paradoxical ease?
Where is the balance between acceptance and resistance?