List of Blacksmithing Classes in Mississippi 2021 [Updated]
Mississippi, a state in the Deep South region of the United States, has a long and complex blacksmithing history due to its early economic reliance on agriculture.
Both free farmers and plantation workers used farming tools made by local blacksmiths. On large and wealthy plantations, slaves themselves would be assigned the role of blacksmith and crafted farming implements, hardware, and other necessary items for the main plantation house and its outbuildings.
After the Civil War, the production of crops like cotton continued to play a large role in the economy of Mississippi, but the popularity of large-scale manufacturing that took hold by the late 19th century meant that many blacksmiths would have needed to alter the work they did to get by. Some smiths continued to work on traditional products, while others turned to farrier roles to avoid competition in factories.
Today, there is a revived interest in blacksmithing in Mississippi. Hobbyists across the state can learn the basics or advance their skills by participating in the class offerings listed below.
- Hoffman, Liam (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 162 Pages - 08/25/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: meetings, conferences, small group classes, open forge
- Price: $30
- Website: http://msforgecouncil.com/home/
- Telephone: (601) 540-6030
- Location: 312 Wilson-Welch Rd, Mendenhall, MS 39114
As an affiliate of the Artist Blacksmith Association of America, the Mississippi Forge Council offers some amazing opportunities to blacksmiths across the state. Monthly meetings, classes taught by guest instructors, ABANA conferences, and open forge nights are all included in membership.
If you are a skilled blacksmith seeking opportunities to network and forge alongside other talented smiths in Mississippi, the meetings and open forge nights will be especially beneficial to you. Open forge is hosted at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, which you can use during regular business hours.
Meetings are held regularly, and are your chance to meet other smiths, share advice and stories, and maybe even collaborate on some new projects! The Mississippi Forge Council is definitely worth checking out if you are serious about blacksmithing.
- Type: Blacksmithing
- Classes: small group, 3 days
- Price: $150
- Website: https://mscrafts.org/classes-events/ http://toolstomaketools.net/home/
- Telephone: (601) 856-7546
- Location: 950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157
Tools to Make Tools is instructed by Lyle Wynn, a blacksmith and member of the Mississippi Forge Council with over twenty years of blacksmithing experience and ten years of teaching experience.
This class offers beginner and intermediate level blacksmiths the opportunity to learn how to make essential blacksmithing tools that they can take home and use in their own workshops. Tools made include hammers, tongs, punches, drifts, fullers, and much more.
Wynn teaches with a “watch one, make one” style in which students observe the smithing process and then attempt to recreate it themselves. This allows students to gain knowledge through hands-on experiences and sharpens their observation skills. If you are a visual learner who likes to experiment under the direction of an expert, Wynn’s classes may be a great fit for you.
Tools to Make Tools is offered in the summer over a three day period in the Blacksmith Building of The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. Since 1973, the Guild has worked to preserve the craft work that is so much a part of Mississippi’s history. Besides blacksmithing, the Guild offers courses in ceramics, jewelry making, woodworking, knitting, weaving, and more.
- Type: Blacksmithing, Bladesmithing
- Classes: small group, private,
- Price: $50-$200
- Website: https://www.derekmelton.com/
- Telephone: N/A
- Location: Clinton, MS
Melton Forge Works is owned by Derek Melton, who has been smithing since 1999 and is a champion of History Channel’s Forged in Fire television series. As of 2019, Melton announced he is not currently teaching blacksmithing classes due to time constraints, but plans on offering them again in the future. It is therefore worthwhile to review his class offerings and contact him about class availability if interested.
Classes at Melton Forge Works focus on beginner blacksmithing, bladesmithing, and specific projects. Beginner smiths learn tapering, twisting, bending, forge welding, and finishing techniques to make their own fire poker.
Project-specific classes focus on making Christmas items, bottle openers, hammers, and a Viking knife using appropriate techniques. Melton also offers “Shop Time” where students can come for an hour long private session to troubleshoot problems with their projects and learn new forging skills.