I was delighted when Michael Budd invited me along to his forge to try my hand at being a blacksmith for an hour. The family, were of course horrified, thinking I was going to burn part of my anatomy because I’m quite clumsy, or I used to be.
For those of you who don’t know Michael Budd is an award-winning blacksmith and sculptor located in Castlebaldwin, Co. Sligo. Not only is he extremely talented he’s also a really nice man. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I went along to the forge, I had no pre-conceived ideas of what I would be doing and I’m really not artistic in any way so I was wondering how I would get on. Michael was warm and welcoming and we chatted as we waited for the furnace to heat up. I was kitted out in a very fetching apron and safety googles.
Michael explained each step of the way as we went about making a coat hook from just a piece of metal. He worked on his piece first so I could see exactly what I should be doing. You just have a certain amount of time to work on the steel while it is hot and pliable. It surprised me how easy it is to work the metal, although I was very slow so mine had to keep being put in the fire, I also kept bending it quite out of shape but Michael was very reassuring and told me it can all be hammered out.
What I really didn’t expect was how relaxing I found it. I was so focused on what I was doing when I was at the anvil I really wasn’t thinking about anything else. Michael really does make it look so easy and after having my own try I’m even more full of admiration at the fabulous work he produces. I can’t understand how he doesn’t have his work featured in a local or national art gallery so everyone can see his fabulous sculptures.
If you fancy being a blacksmith for an hour you can contact Michael here. If you want to try a longer course that’s also possible. To see Michael at work you are welcome to call into his forge, he’s very happy to have visitors. You can find him on the main N4 road opposite the petrol station/Supermacs in Castlebaldwin.
Thanks to Michael for a very unique and enjoyable morning.