Have you ever wanted to try blacksmithing? Come take a Monday afternoon or evening forging class at the Folk School! Learn basic safety, blacksmithing history, coal fire maintenance, forging and finishing techniques while making simple and useful items for your home such as hooks, a key rack, or a wall hanging coat rack. Open to all beginners. Class is held once a week for four weeks from November 23 – December 14th, 2020.

Workshop Timeslots


  Workshop 1

   Taught by Paul Garrett

   Dates: Mondays from November 23 – December 14

   Times: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

   Price: $120 plus an estimated $30 material fees

   Where: JCCFS Blacksmith Shop



  Workshop 2

   Taught by Elizabeth Belz

   Dates: Mondays from November 23 – December 14

   Times: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

   Price: $120 plus an estimated $30 material fees

   Where: JCCFS Blacksmith Shop


Overall Course Objectives

  • Be aware of safety concerns and procedures of the shop and craft itself
  • Understand the basics of coal fire maintenance  
  • Develop a basic vocabulary pertaining to blacksmith tooling and techniques
  • Produce a wall hanging coat rack or pot rack to take home
  • Be informed of other course offerings and ready to explore further classes the Folk School hosts

Student Requirements

  • Safety glasses (individuals who already wear glasses need ones that will cover over the top of those glasses or at minimum detachable side shields)
  • Ear protection (disposable earplug are available in the shop at no charge)  
  • Closed-toe leather footwear
  • Cotton clothing
  • Hair tie for long hair

Things not required but suggested:

  • Pencil
  • Notebook
  • Leatherwork gloves
  • Water bottle

Health and Safety is a Priority

In order to minimize risk, workshop size will be limited to six students. Each student will be provided with their own workstation and set of tools. Some workshops may involve shared equipment. In this case, we will stagger use and provide sanitation wipes for cleaning. Each workshop will use a dedicated restroom shared only by their fellow students. Hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes will be provided. Restrooms and workstations will be sanitized before and after workshops using EPA-approved disinfectants for COVID-19 and influenza. We will require students and instructors to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings at all times when indoors or when within 6 feet of others outdoors. Face masks should cover the nose, mouth, and chin according to CDC standards (gators and face shields should not be worn).

Registration and Scholarship Information

If you’d like to register for a slot in our blacksmithing workshops, you may call 828-837-2775 and select 1 for our Registration office. Calls will be received M-F 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. A deposit of $60 is required at the time of registration, and full payment is due one week prior to the workshop. Material fees will be paid on the last day of the workshop. 

For cancellation five business days prior to the class start date, registrants will receive a full refund. Cancellation under five business days prior to the class state date will be half of the deposit. 

Limited scholarship funds are available and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on how to apply, contact Elizabeth Belz or call 828-516-7896.

About Paul Garrett

Paul is a full-time blacksmith who has been working with metal since 1978. He is owner/operator of The Ironwood Forge and has experience in projects ranging from architectural to functional to artistic. He has attended, taught, and assisted many classes at the Folk School. His mission as an instructor is to teach good basic smithing techniques and habits early to ensure a rewarding experience for each student. In 2009, Paul took a study trip to Europe, where he and teammate Matt Jenkins received an Honorable Mention in the World Forging Championship in Stia, Italy. They retraced their steps for the 2015 Championship in Stia, then competed in the Czech Republic at Hefiaston, and Paul co-taught a workshop at the Hans Bochler Schule in Berlin, Germany.

About Elizabeth Belz

Elizabeth Belz is a blacksmith, educator and the owner of Black Widow Forge, LLC. Originally hailing from Stillwater, Minnesota, Belz spent two years in Memphis as a blacksmithing apprentice at the Metal Museum where she focused on creating both utilitarian and sculptural metal objects, primarily involving an insect theme. Her work can be found in collections all over the country, including the City of Eagan in Minnesota and City of Memphis’ “Moveable Collection,” as well as online. Belz is currently residing in western North Carolina as John C. Campbell Folk Schools’ Creative Catalyst Fellow 2020-2021.

Visit Elizabeth’s website.

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John C. Campbell Folk School
About John C. Campbell Folk School

The Folk School transforms lives, bringing people together in a nurturing environment for experiences in learning and community life that spark self-discovery. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.