To say becoming a blacksmith has been a dream come true would not by any means be an understatement. Of course these were the dreams of a child dreams, born out of fantasies of sword fighting and dragon-slaying knights than any practical, employment-related realities. Still, when someone asks if you, as an adult, if you would like to learn how to blacksmith, something you've fantasized about since childhood, you say yes.
That is, essentially, how I learned the trade.
Naper Settlement is a living history museum in the Chicagoland suburbs. I began my employment at the not-for-profit in 2010 as a museum educator. This means, essentially, I am a glorified tour guide. I dress in period-appropriate clothing and give informational tours about the historical buildings and their associated activities.
One of those buildings is - you guessed it! - the blacksmith shop. As a physically able male it was required that I become proficient in basic blacksmithing skills in order to give tours to school groups and the public alike. Luckily for me, this opportunity was less of a job requirement and more of the fulfillment of that childhood dream.