[Visionaries in Craft] The Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths

[Visionaries in Craft] The Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths

Founding collaborators. Back row from left: Anne Bujold, Caitlin Morris, Rachel David, Monica Coyne, Leslie Tharpe, Alice Garrett, Heather McLarty, Ryna Cady. Front row from left: Lynda Metcalf, Lisa Geertsen, Ann Klicka.
Published on Thursday, July 7, 2022. This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of American Craft Magazine.
group of blacksmiths striking funny poses with hammers and other tools in front of a brown and green barn door

Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis.

For centuries, blacksmithing in America has had a macho-white-guy image. But not all blacksmiths are cisgender Caucasian men. The Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths (SIBs) was created to support smiths who don’t conform to outdated racial and gender norms at the forge.

Conceived in 2018 by a group of 11 female-identified and nonbinary blacksmiths (above) collaborating on a project at the Cascadia Center for Arts and Crafts in Oregon, SIBs supports, encourages, and uplifts female, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and other smiths from groups historically underrepresented in the field. It provides funding through scholarships and grants, runs an online mentoring program, advertises positive and safe classes, and hosts a digital forum for sharing stories and community support.

“We’re also partnering with schools and organizations that are aligned with our mission, so we can expand the reach of what we can do,” says Joy Fire, SIBs’s digital media and general communications manager.

The five people who constitute the governance committee for SIBs—Fire, Lisa Geertsen, Rachel David, Anne Bujold, and Elizabeth Belz—are all working smiths, teachers, and even students themselves.

blacksmithing tools resting on an anvil beside a stack of business cards

SIB's logo stickers printed for their 2021 end-of-year fundraiser. Photo by Elizabeth Belz.

It can be hard to find time to run a national organization, says Fire, but the work is profoundly gratifying. “We can see direct and concrete results of our work when folks are able to take classes, buy tools and material, and are otherwise supported in a way that enables them to continue to forge.”

inclusiveblacksmiths.com | @inclusive_blacksmiths

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