List of Blacksmithing Classes in Alaska 2021 [Updated]
Alaska is known as America’s Last Frontier, so it is no surprise that a rugged, traditional craft like blacksmithing would be popular in this northern state. Self-sufficient homesteaders and artistic city-dwellers alike enjoy the challenges of crafting with metal to create functional and beautiful pieces.
Throughout the state’s history, Native peoples and American settlers have relied on survival skills and hard work to make it in the tough conditions of Alaska. Blacksmithing is a handy skill to learn when living miles away from the nearest town, so many Alaskans in history and in modern times have made learning the trade a priority.
Today, those interested in blacksmithing can learn the skill for themselves by enrolling in university programs or learning from artisans in a hands-on setting in Alaska’s major cities and on remote homesteads.
The following are the top blacksmithing classes available in the state of Alaska. Whether you are interested in the artistic side of blacksmithing, or want to make rugged survival tools, these classes will help you get acquainted with the forge.
- Hoffman, Liam (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 162 Pages - 08/25/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
- Type: Blacksmithing, jewelry making
- Classes: weekday, full day
- Price: N/A
- Website: https://www.uaf.edu/art/areas/metalsmithing/
- Telephone: 907-474-7231
- Location: 404 Gruening Building 1747 South Chandalar Drive Fairbanks, AK 99775
The University of Alaska-Fairbanks has been providing quality higher education for the city of Fairbanks and surrounding areas for almost 100 years. The school offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees, such as metalsmithing.
The metalsmithing program at the University is part of the larger Department of Art and therefore exposes students to a wide range of art skills and techniques. Students learn metal fabrication on small and large scales, from jewelry making to forging.
Classes are categorized in Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, with topics appropriate for each skill level. Students who complete the program will have extensive knowledge on various types of metalsmithing and a good foundation on which to build more specialized knowledge about particular branches of metalsmithing, such as blacksmithing or silversmithing.
If you are curious to learn more about many styles of metalworking and the many techniques involved this program would be perfect for you. A solid understanding of a wide range of metalsmithing skills will be valuable when starting an apprenticeship or beginning to blacksmith on your own. Many artisan blacksmiths hold BA or MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degrees, and you can too by attending the University of Alaska-Fairbanks!
2) Alaska Forge
- Type: Bladesmithing
- Classes: weekend, afternoon, evening,
- Price: $60-75 depending on project completed
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/AlaskaForge/
- Telephone: (907) 745-7463
- Location: 1555 S Bodenburg Loop Palmer, AK
Alaska Forge is a small workshop located in Palmer, Alaska that offers weekend classes in partnership with Arctic Fires Bronze. Alaska Forge announces upcoming classes on their Facebook page periodically, so follow them for more information about fall and winter 2021 classes.
Classes center on the completion of a specific project and all necessary skills and techniques are taught along the way. Some classes are ideal for beginners, such as the hook making classes and fire poker classes. More advanced projects such as plant hangers and knives are completed in mixed level classes, with individual instruction provided as needed.
Alaska Forge’s classes are therefore great for every smith interested in gaining some new skills or improving old ones. The classes are scheduled on the weekends during the afternoon and evening, which works for most schedules and is great if you do not want to commit too much time and money right away.
This option is also ideal for those living in Anchorage, as it is only a 45 minute drive north from the downtown area.
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: small group, half day
- Price: N/A
- Website: https://calypsofarm.org/greenmanforge/
- Telephone: (907) 451-0691
- Location: 4780 Old Nenana Highway Fairbanks, AK, 99709
Greenman Forge is located at the Calypso Farm and Ecology Center. The Center is an educational farm that encourages local food production and hands-on learning about nature, farming, and related topics. Calypso was founded in 2000 and since then has taught hundreds of people about homesteading, blacksmithing, fiber arts, and other valuable skills.
The Forge is run by Calypso’s co-director Tom Zimmer, who teaches workshops for all skill levels and interests. Students must complete a 4 hour Blacksmithing Overview class before signing up for additional workshops. Classes cover all necessary skills and techniques needed to make beginner and intermediate projects that are functional for farm and home use.
Due to COVID-19, 2021 classes are currently postponed. This may change in the fall and winter, so check back or contact Calypso for schedule updates.
- Type: Bladesmithing
- Classes: demonstrations, conferences
- Price: N/A
- Website: http://www.alaskablades.com/
- Telephone: N/A
- Location: Southeast Alaska off the grid
DesRosiers Knives is a family-run bladesmithing business owned by Adam and Haley DesRosiers. Both Adam and Haley are masters with the American Bladesmith Society and teach classes around the world and at their off the grid homestead in southeast Alaska.
The couple shares much of their work on their respective Instagram accounts, so check them out for the most up-to-date information about upcoming classes, demonstrations, and product launches.