Blacksmithing Returns to Welding Curriculum

Learn to create art from metal.

BlacksmithingDECEMBER 4, 2013 -- The new year will usher in new opportunities in the industrial technology program.

One of those opportunities is the return of blacksmithing courses to Hancock.  “This isn’t your grandfather’s blacksmithing class.  These classes offer students the opportunity to get into a shop, shape metal and enjoy the artistic side of working with metal,” said Eric Mason, chair of the industrial technology department.

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 long-time artist and blacksmith James Maxwell.  “James is a well-known and respected artist.  His art is exhibited across the country.  To have an instructor of his caliber and talent is a major opportunity for Hancock students,” Mason said.

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 added.

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 6-9:10 p.m. on Fridays.  Instruction runs from Jan. 24 to March 14, 2014.  Registration is now 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 6-9:10 p.m. from March 28 to May 16, 2014.

For more information on the classes, or other programs of the Industrial Technology department you can call 805-922-6966 ext. 3335 or go to

- AHC -

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Last Modified Jun 30, 2017