Wrought Iron Arts on Fox TV
LARGO, Fla. (FOX 13) – Pinellas County is home to a thriving arts community, from the Dali Museum to Vitale Brothers murals to The Playhouse Theater in St. Petersburg And as more people experience art, more want to create their own, which is where many art schools find their audiences.
At Wrought Iron Arts in Largo, students learn the timeless skill and art of blacksmithing from some of the best in the industry.
The school is run by Rob Buck. He and his team teach newcomers to make knives, swords, daggers, battle axes, and other “weapons of minor destruction.”
The goal is not to arm the Bay Area with homemade weapons. These items grant newcomers to iron works a practical starting point to the art of shaping metal.
Wrought Iron Arts has been in Largo since 1992, teaching thousands of students.
The classes are small, between one and four students at a time, and last about 6-7 hours.
Most of the class is about forging – or shaping nearly molten metal. The rest is spent grinding, polishing and treating the finished product.
“We will teach you how to forge it from the beginning to the end,” Rob explained.
Most classes make the knives and swords, but he also teaches everything metal, including how to how to cut and weld. Students get to pick what they want to make.
“I guess my philosophy with teaching is first of all, it’s small classes. I demonstrate how to do something, usually once, maybe twice, depending on how fast the student picks it up,” Rob said. “Once I demonstrate it, I let them attempt it, and then they go and I improve their technique or improve the way they are tackling the task I gave them how to do.”
His students range from no experience to some who have taken classes before.
“Classically, what the blacksmith would do is take whatever metal he had on hand and transform it into something else sort of like “old school 3-D printing”. For the most part, we take old wrenches, old crowbars, old files, old railroad spikes,” Rob said. “I want them to learn how to do it. Yes, they get the trophy. ‘I made a dagger or sword or a knife,’ but learning how to do it, basically we’re promoting the lost art of blacksmithing, bladesmithing, and all that. ”
Rob says the art form of making knives goes back thousands of years. His goal is to spread that knowledge as far and widely as possible.
“When you see the gleam in a person’s eye as they are starting to get it, that’s the satisfaction I get, that’s why I do this,” he said.
LINK: For more information on blacksmithing and knife making classes at Wrought Iron Arts in Largo, Florida, visit https://wroughtironarts.wordpress.com/.
LARGO (FOX 13) – June 4, 2014
Charley spends the morning with a blacksmith at Wrought Iron Arts in Largo.
The art studio sells landscape art sculptures, and also offers classes that teach the art of blacksmithing.
Tampa Bay Times newspaper article on Wrought Iron Arts:
Largo artist Robert Alan Buck works magic with metal
Atoyia Deans, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, August 31, 2008
Robert Alan Buck, right, is a direct metal artist, a technique that works directly with the metal instead of using molds. He works out of his studio in Largo where he incorporates the influences of Julio Gonzales and Pablo Picasso. He has been commissioned to create furniture, free-standing art forms, and architectural pieces such as gates. It can take several weeks to complete a project because of the care and attention to detail in his work. He is currently working on an abstract architectural piece he calls Yin Yang, a 10-foot-tall voluptuous woman titled Venus de Largo as well as a sculpture called Beltane. He wants his work to inspire other artists to come together, forming an artist colony in downtown Largo. “I hope that being here and inviting passersby into my studio to watch me work and discuss art, will promote art awareness in the area and that other artists will locate to this area as well. This historic downtown area of Largo has been redeveloped with a pedestrian friendly retail design which is very conducive to art studios and galleries.” Buck also teaches blacksmith/metal arts classes. Information about the classes and his artwork can be found on his Web site http://www.wroughtironarts.wordpress.com or by calling (727) 588-1315.
[Last modified: Aug 31, 2008 06:36 PM]