MADE TO LAST and the modern ARTISAN?


Are we just about to go full circle, from artisan, made by hand products to mass production out of control, where we have to have everything, or is it back to basics and the corner store? Or is it just a fad we’re going through globally at the moment? Personally, I think this new artisan movement and minimalism is here to stay and it didn’t happen over night, it’s been slowly building since the late 1960s.

Low-tech-ing or becoming a minimalist is something that’s steadily being embraced rapidly around the world as well. Why? Because, we’ve alway taught to live life as a consumer, that is always wear and have the latest fashion, car with all the extras, 4 TVs, that funky furniture, 3 phones?, redesigning the house yet again, another new kitchen – why? Painting everything grey, because everybody else is doing it, reduce debt, not live in it…live with less and buy it once! My grand parents bought good quality things once and then recycled things, they didn’t purchase superfluous things and my grandfather was certainly not a slave of fashion, fads or keeping up with the Jone’s. They purchased one set of fire irons for the open fires, good quality sheets that eventually became cleaning rags or they were bundled and tied up for collection for making into recycled paper (something we don’t do anymore) They purchased one bed, never owned a car, used public transport or hired a car for holidays, they grew and preserved most of their own food, made their own bread, beer, collected rain water and most items were hand operated. Fortunately, the thinking now has returned to a simpler life, not hocking yourself up with a massive mortgage for life, being more sustainable and dare I say it, loosing that consumer tag and attitude, hence the rise of the artisan. Even the wealthy are returning to made by hand items that become tomorrow’a heirlooms.

Minimalism is all about living with less. This includes less financial burdens such as debt and unnecessary expenses. … For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions.vMar 10, 2018

If you haven’t caught up with this publication, you should – I’ve read it for years…

We Can’t Do It Ourselves

We cant do it ourselves 2

How to live a more sustainable life? This question generates a lot of debate that is focused on what individuals can do in order to address problems like climate change. For example, people are encouraged to shop locally, to buy organic food, to install home insulation, or to cycle more often.

But how effective is individual action when it is systemic social change that is needed? Individuals do make choices, but these are facilitated and constrained by the society in which they live. Therefore, it may be more useful to question the system that requires many of us to travel and consume energy as we do….


No one is suggesting we go back to living caves…

Low technology, often abbreviated low tech (adjective forms low-technology, lowtech, lo-tech) is simple technology, often of a traditional or non-mechanical kind, such as crafts and tools that pre-date the Industrial Revolution. It is the opposite of high technology.
For instance I’m a low tech person that tries very hard to keep a very small carbon footprint and produce items that will outlast our lifetimes and that of our children – make it well, make it once! With my reaching and work as a blacksmith I use the old ways as much as I can, I’m going back to charcoal for forging this year, why? Coal and coke are great to work with but they’re getting expensive, harder to get, they’re not sustainable and add to green-house gasses. Charcoal is sustainable (and I only buy these products locally) it leaves a low carbon footprint, is hot and efficient to use and the ash can be used on the garden.
Old is new again…

As I’m a traditional blacksmith I find using the old tools or replicating them gives me the end products that rivals the originals made a hundred years ago. I have also found some of these old ways are very cost effective, save waste and produce stunning results, like repurposing a hundred year old grit stone.

Sharpening things on a hundred year old grit stone…

I’m a great believer of embracing the past to grow and nurture the future. New and high tech is not always the way forward, sometimes you have to step back to move forward with your knowledge. This old grit stone was motorised some years ago by another blacksmith – originally it would of been hand operated. Running a fine grit stone like this through a water trough at a low resolution gives you the perfect environment for sharpening a blade – here you have plenty of control and you don’t have to replace the disc or belt all the time – this old stone will outlive me and my children and save a small fortune in going to the hardware store.

So, when it come to a Blacksmithing course at the 1910 Ironworks you work with machinery like this, you also forge in an environment little changed for 100s of years and learn the tricks of the trade from a Blacksmith of 40 years who’s worked with the old timers. Some who worked as smiths and wheelwright apprentices during WW1, shod heavy horses and repaired the iron work or built many a horse drawn vehicle. These old guys learned their trade from generations of smiths, a legacy we almost lost in the 1960s.

So if you want to learn traditional blacksmithing without power tools, why not join us one Saturday in Wildes Meadow and travel back to a time when life was far slower and more sustainable and ‘made to last’ was the mantra of the day!

Made to last…


We show you how to make functional items you can use everyday. Hey, how many fire pokers and meat skewers can you make and use?

Unfortunately we don’t teach knife making as yet but we will soon. However, if you want to learn traditional blacksmith, then the 1910 Ironworks is where you learn it, very hands on with one one tuition from master smith Steve Hogwood.

We have had 100s of students through the shop and we have a 5 star rating, check out the reviews here an on the website if you don’t believe me. We hold regular classes every fortnight, from novice to budding blacksmith. Hopefully we’ll see you very soon at the forge. Cheers, Steve.

Call me on 0402 481 461 for more details or visit the website.

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