The new year will usher in new opportunities in Allan Hancock College's Industrial Technology program. One of those opportunities is the return of blacksmithing courses.
“This isn’t your grandfather’s blacksmithing class,” said Eric Mason, chair of the industrial technology department. “These classes offer students the opportunity to get into a shop, shape metal and enjoy the artistic side of working with metal.”
The curriculum includes an introduction to the art of blacksmithing. Students will use an extensive array of blacksmithing equipment to complete various projects assigned by the instructor.
“This more free-form type of class lets students take away art to physically show off to their friends and family,” Mason said.
The first eight-week course, called Blacksmithing Projects (WLDT 319), will be taught by longtime artist and blacksmith James Maxwell.
“James is a well-known and respected artist,” Mason said. “His art is exhibited across the country. To have an instructor of his caliber and talent is a major opportunity for Hancock students.”
Maxwell has more than 40 years of experience as an award-winning photographer and sculptor. He also spent two decades as an architect, designing projects for such diverse clients as a casino, Santa Barbara’s San Ysidro Ranch and the owner of the former home of actor Gene Hackman.
“We’re not talking about horseshoeing,” said Maxwell, a member of the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America. “We’ll learn about the nature of hot iron, how it moves with each blow. Each student will choose a project to undertake and create it. Blacksmithing is my love.”
He praised the college for its new blacksmithing lab, now under construction, which includes task areas, exceptional ventilation and use of compressed natural gas.
“The opportunity at Hancock is magical!” he said.
The new lab, part of the new industrial technology building, will be complete in late spring. The $16.7 million project, which also includes a new welding lab with 40 work stations, as well as new labs for the auto body, automotive, engineering and architecture programs, was funded by Bond Measure I, passed by voters in 2006.
Blacksmithing Projects (WLDT 319) runs from 6 to 9:10 p.m. Fridays. Instruction runs from Jan. 24 to March 14. Registration is under way. Students interested in blacksmithing are also encouraged to enroll in Medal Yard Sculptures (WLDT 316) or Ornamental Iron I (WLDT 317), which are being offered Fridays from 6 to 9:10 p.m. March 28 to May 16.
For more information on the classes or other programs of the Industrial Technology department, click here or call 805.922.6966 x3335.
— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.