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  • Elizabeth Bockhold

Starting the Site

Joe and I took a big leap last year and moved down to Charleston so that he could follow his dreams and attend school to be a blacksmith. He had never done any actual blacksmithing before, so personally I was a bit worried about it. Despite my worries, as long as I've known him he has talked about it being a goal of his he would like to pursue when I retired and we were able to settle down. Well.... I retired, and while we aren't quite ready to settle down we were looking for a new path to take. We went to Charleston for a new start. I have always wanted to live by the beach, they had the school, and it DOESN'T SNOW THERE. Yes I know, hurricanes, but we all have to pick our poisons. We intended to find a house to buy or rent and settle in for the next couple years while we decided on an ultimate plan.

But..... as with so many things in life that year plans changed slightly... again. While we were attending orientation at his school we learned that each summer the students are expected to have an internship/apprenticeship in their field to further their learning. It sounded reasonable at the time, and we have since learned many of the benefits (though I'm sure not all) that will come from these experiences. What we realized when we got home and looked is how few full-time blacksmiths there are in the country, much less specifically in Charleston. This gave me a chance to field another one of my life goals, Living in the RV. "Why don't we just live in the RV so we can go to the smiths rather than having to focus locally?". It seemed like a logical question to me, and ultimately that is what we decided to do. Watching his classmates struggle to pay double rent over the summer has made me exceedingly glad we made this choice. For the next 4-5 years we will be traveling around to smiths, conventions, and learning or selling opportunities, while spending school terms in Charleston. It sounds like a long time now, but I'm sure it will fly by, this past year sure has.

We have discovered that many of the people we encounter (not to mention family and friends) have found this to be an interesting choice, and so we get A LOT of questions about it. Largely people are interested in what it is Joe is actually doing, and honestly its really hard to give people a complete picture in words. He is doing so many things right now, he is learning drafting, architectural history, metallurgy, smithing, business, and so many important lessons. Some people are also interested in the travel aspect and want to know where we are or cool things we have seen, so the intention is to have a place to actually show the answers to these questions. I'm going to try to keep wordy posts to a minimum and try to mostly tell our story with pictures. Most people who will be reading this don't actually want a 2 page paper on how to properly make an angle bracket, but just want to see the pretty bracket. And honestly I'm with you there. I have learned far more about blacksmithing this past year than I ever knew I wanted to know.

This is something that Joe has built a true passion for. He LOVES smithing, and even bad days in the forge are still good learning days for him. I am so beyond happy that he has found this level of passion in his life, and I so excited to see where is adventure takes us.

So if you want to follow us on our journey we would love to share with you! I will be posting Joe's work, lessons learned, inspirational metal work, and cool architectural things. I may occasionally throw in pretty scenic pictures. The goal is for this to be a place where family, friends and those interested can follow the progress we (mostly Joe) make over the next several years while Joe finds his niche and I get to stretch my constant need for travel and change.


Pictures in order: Time Square NYC, Freshman orientation at ACBA, Working at Greenfield, Camper parked in NH, Lenny the Chocolate Moose.


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Elizabeth Bockhold fenixforges@gmail.com