Nov 6, 2016
Denise Axelsen is an award-winning blacksmith. Educated in
England, she now enjoys living in Newry, Victoria Australia.
With over a decade of experience forging metal, Denise makes small
functional and custom pieces as well as stunning sculptural
What We Talked About
- Denise went to university in the UK for three-dimensional
design after a 25-year career as a nurse. In her second year at
university, she took a forging class, was very drawn to the craft
and decided that was what she wanted to do.
- It took her another five years to convince the Rural
Development Commission to let her in on the New Entrants Training
Scheme in pure forge work. After taking a few courses at the
Hereford School of art with Adrian Legge, taking as many BABA
workshops as possible and giving up her nursing career she finally
qualified into the Scheme in 2003. The Training Scheme was a
UK government funded scheme aimed at 16 to 25-year old’s to become
apprentice blacksmiths for 12 weeks over a course of 2
- Denise moves just about every two years due to her husband
being in the Air Force, so she has to be particular regarding the
tools she buys knowing she will need to move it to another location
every 2 years.
- When Denise moved to Australia she decided to sell most of her
blacksmith tools she had acquired in the UK and buy more blacksmith
tools in Australia. She soon found out that the tools were ten
times the cost of everything she had already bought in the UK.
- Denise attended the Ypres blacksmith event in Belgium and
worked on Patrick Pelgrom’s team to forge his design panel for the
cenotaph site. This was a lifetime experience that she didn’t want
to miss out on and she could catch up with a lot of her UK
- Last month Denise attended a 4-day hammer making class at the
historic Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop in Sydney.
- In 2004 Denise was the first female to win the UK Worshipful
Company of Blacksmiths‘Champion Blacksmith’ with her forged
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