My name is Caroline Kable and I am a Senior Environmental Design Major with an emphasis in object design. Over the winter/spring months I worked for Nick Vincent at Nathan’s Forge in Westminster, Maryland blacksmithing. Last year I took a year off and took a community college course where I became interested in metal work. I did some bronze casting and welding which was more of an introduction to metal as a medium than a thorough understanding of it. I decided to further my knowledge in the field and heard about Nick who has a shop near my parents. He was interested in taking an intern so we very quickly got to work.
We worked every day starting at 8am over my winter break until 3 or 4 pm typically. Nick works alone so everything I learned he taught me. Starting off I had to learn the basics. I began by hand forging hooks which turned out to be a lot tougher than it looks. Working with a hammer and hot metal takes a great amount of practice to build up the strength and muscle memory to have consistent strong hits where you want them to be. Learning to use the forge and heat the metal was really interesting. I learned about properties of steel and part of the processes it goes through before we would purchase it. Nick doesn’t do too much of the traditional forging work but put me in touch with some that do at the Farm Museum in Westminster.
It turned out that I quickly got better at welding than Nick, so I did a lot of welding work which I was very excited about. I got to use both a TIG and MIG welder. It worked out well since I am only slightly interested in hand forging and more interested in larger metal fabrication such as furniture and functional objects that don’t really utilize hand forging other than for decoration/ornament. I learned to make parts for a large variety of objects such as lamps to napkin holders to a large variety of hooks and hinges. I learned a great deal about how to manipulate metal and have become very comfortable with it as a medium. Nick has asked me to come back and work for him as an employee this summer.
Overall it was a great experience and I hope to further my skills with metal. I also am excited to be able to have time to create my own work since Nick allows me access to the shop.