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September 05, 1980 - Image 154

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-05

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head turns slowly toward his inter-
viewer. "Beats the hell out of it," he
barks, "for hand-crafted quality, care
in execution, and finish."
Throughout history, Turley notes,
smiths have been proud of their work:
"The blacksmith always considered
himself the elite of all the craftsmen
because he made the tools for all the
other craftsmen."
Turley himself, according to Heers, is
one of a small number of nationally
respected teachers of his craft-and the
only one. who has established his own
IN THE EARLY sixties, Turley
became a horse-shoer in California,
but, he says, "after I shod horses for a
few years, I got more interested in the
iron than the horses."
He still shoes horses part-time, but
concentrates mainly on teaching and
commission work such'asycreating
customized hardware. Turley said he
also occasionally exhibits his work. He
belongs to the 900-member Artists-
Blacksmiths Association of North
Art student Julie Guthrie, a metals
major, explains that she has worked
with fine metals like gold and silver in
the past, but had never forged iron
before the workshop. "I love it," she
says. "Three weeks isn't long
enough-all you can do is learn the
GUTHRIE IS making a set of knives
during the interview, and seems to have
developed a smooth technique: First
she heats a piece of metal in her coal-
fueled forge, and then firmly but
meticulously taps it gradually into a
flat blade with a hammer.

Blacksmith Edwin Grove, from Fen-
ton, Michigan, already knows "the
basics" of his trade-he is attending the
workshop to learn about what he calls
the "art part of the work."
Grove is busy making an elaborate
candle-holder, but takes time out to ex-
plain to his visitor his motive for atten-
ding the workshop: "Every time you
watch somebody else work, you learn
something new."
RAISED ON a New England farm,

self ... blacksmithing is a. genuine art
form," she says.
"You ought to talk to this guy," John-
ston says, pointing to Grove. "he's a
real blacksmith - a farrier. That's
spelled f-e-r-r-i-e-r, isn't it?" she asks
"I don't know," he jokes, "you know,
they never teach us how to spell."
Grove nearly starts to giggle as he at-
tempts to keep up the stereotypical
facade of an uneducated blacksmith ,


'After I shod horses for a few years, I
got more interested in the iron than the
-Frank Turley,
blacksmith workshop instructor

Grove first learned the skill of iron-
working by repairing and making fafm
equipment. He was in the lumber
business until five years ago, when he
became a full-time blacksmith. He calls
that move "one of those things that you
have to do and you just do it."
" Grove, 55, now works mainly on a
commission basis, but does some horse-
shoeing as well: He is secretary-
treasurer of the Michigan Artists-
Blacksmiths Association.
Metalsmith Ruth Johnston, 66, says
she looks at the blacksmithing
workshop as an "expansion of
"IT' FUN TO create something your-

but his attempt fails when he reveals he
graduated from the University of
Maine in 1951, after serving during
World War II.
blacksmith students in Tucson, and
sells most of her work by commission
or in "multiples" - duplicates sold
commercially in specialty shops.
During World War II, she managed
the metalworking shop in the
rehabilitation center of Walter Reed
Army Hospital near Washington.
Dean Heers sports a smile when he
speaks about Turley and the workshop
- Heers first met Turley when he
traveled to Santa Fe last summer and
worked with him.
HEERS IS pleased with the
workshop: "The reaction has been very
positive," he says with a gleam in his
Heers relates a story involving his
blacksmithing ancestry: After he
worked with Turley last year, he looked
up his family history and learned that.
one of his great-great-grandfathers was
a blacksmith in Denmark.
The workshop facilities offer a
strange contrast of ancient smithing-
techniques and modern amenities -
the tools are simply-constructed ham-
mers and pliers, but the forges draw in
air with electric fans.
This story was reprinted from the
summer edition of The Daily.



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