LOCALS got hands on with an historic craft last month as blacksmith workshops came to Uppermill.
Authentic, an artisan shop on Mill Street, hosted the sessions over two days so visitors could try out the skill under the watchful eye of artist blacksmith Simon Reed.
Simon gave up a career in sales after 30 years to follow his passion and is based at the 250-year-old Home Farm Smithy at Temple Newsam House in Leeds every weekend.
He also travels around to craft fairs and country fairs and gives workshops at various places, including four weekends a year at Authentic.
He said: “I went to a fair a few years ago and saw a worldclass bladesmith.
“I had a go and really enjoyed it but from there I’ve been mainly self-taught mainly.
“Five years ago I went to seven funerals, including my parents and two friends who were younger than me.
“I decided I wanted to make the most of my life so I gave up my job for this.
“So now I am poor but I am enjoying it!”
Simon’s sessions at Authentic last around one hour as he explains the history and safety involved, and shows participants the techniques to craft something to take away with them.
“Some people have never picked up a hammer before whereas others might have previously had a go,” said Simon.
“I like to talk over everything and do it properly so they get an experience they enjoy as well as being safe.”
Simon crafts a variety of items from contemporary and traditional hand-forged wrought ironwork to delicate artwork and jewellery.
And his work has won awards, most recently a certificate of merit from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths at the Great Yorkshire Show.
Find out more about Simon and his work online: lilliputforge.co.uk
Book onto one of his courses at Authentic by contacting the shop: call 07741 480896 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The next courses are on: June 23 and 24, July 14 and 15, September 15 and 16. No under 16s. Gift vouchers for the courses are available.