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Metalsmithing and Blacksmithing are two options available to pursue your interest in smithing. Smithing is one of the oldest crafts where metal is shaped typically with a hammer while the metal is hot. While a metalsmith designs tools and also is creative and creates works of art from an array of metal, a blacksmith is focused on just forging iron.
So what’s the career scope with forging different metal or just sticking to forging iron you may ask. As a metalsmith, your career will be more creatively inclined.
Clearly then, once you’ve decided to pursue metalsmithing, it is best that you first identify where your core skills are rooted. If you want to use metal as a medium to express yourself creatively, then you should pursue a study program and thereafter a career as a metalsmith who works with varied metal.
A study program in metalsmithing is essentially an art course. Colleges and universities offer four-year programs leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Metalsmithing and which generally includes jewellery making too. These programs are devised to refine and hone a students’ creativity, teach the technical aspects of the craft as well as ensure that the student becomes a critical thinker. Admissions to such programs may need ACT or SAT scores besides showing proof of your creative abilities and aptitude – perhaps with a portfolio of your past work. Financial aid for a study program in metalsmithing will be determined by what course you take and where you wish to study. Many colleges that offer programs in Jewelry and Metalsmithing also offer financial aid.
Some of the colleges to pursue Metalsmithing are Rhode Island School of Design, Colorado University and the University of Kansas.
But if you want to walk the path less travelled nowadays and want to pursue blacksmithing, there are a few colleges that offer degree programs in blacksmithing. Considering the scope of career options, there are many vocational schools offering courses too. Such programs will teach students forging and welding and more.
You should also consider an apprenticeship or journeyman program to enhance your career prospects since you’ll then be working hands-on with a master and learn the tricks of the trade from him.
Depending on what you want to specialize in as a blacksmith, you should choose a study program. By choosing to study at Fleming College in Ontario, Canada for eg. you’ll become a blacksmith artist. Or by choosing to pursue blacksmithing at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver, USA or Ontario Colleges, Canada you will become a well-trained, conventional blacksmith. While a college like Fleming College may offer some need-based aid, the vocational schools don’t.
So while both Metalsmithing and Blacksmithing are to do with forging metal, your career option and career graph will be very different based on what you choose to do.