Mar 15, 2015
Mary Hackett is a PhD candidate in Fine Arts at TAFE Technical
College where she is examining and mapping the physical forces
involved in blacksmithing processes through sculptural practices.
Hackett began as a jeweler and metalsmith in the early 1980s; over
the past six years, her interests have expanded to include
blacksmithing. A metalsmith is someone who works and shapes various
types of metals, where a blacksmith’s main metal is wrought iron or
steel. She is a co-founder of Blacksmith Doris, a
blacksmithing group just for women in Melbourne Australia ("Doris"
is an old British slang expression for a plain woman). Blacksmith
Doris has been operating as a “side” group that is part of the
Australian Blacksmiths Association (the Victoria chapter) for the
past five years and aims to give women a place to learn and
practice blacksmithing in an all-female environment. A group
of eight to ten women meet once a month, creating a Doris Day, at
the ABA’s barn to make and learn from and with other
women. Some Doris-es enjoy learning traditional blacksmithing
techniques while others just come to hit the metal, happy to see
where that process will take them.
What We Talked About
- Mary went to college for jewelry and silversmithing, after
which she attended a master’s program in "Jewelry Engineering". She
has recently started a PhD program that involves researching the
interaction of smithing with the dynamics of the arms and
- She currently teaches silversmithing at a TAFE (Technical and
Further Education) College in Melbourne Australia.
- Recently, in 2014, she traveled to Helsinki, Finland, at Alto
University to make a speech and write a paper about the quenching
process of a steel ball.
- She and Kirstie Stewart co-founded the “Blacksmith Doris” group
- To become a Blacksmith Doris, you need to be a member of the
Australian Blacksmith Association. The Doris group meets near
Melbourne, Australia, once a month.
- The Australian Blacksmith Association in Victoria meets every
two weeks. An annual membership is $70 (AUD).
- She gives three points of advice to women who are just starting
out with blacksmithing :
- Don’t let society’s norms frighten you; there were female
blacksmiths in the middle ages!
- Try not to be a women pretending to be a man while
blacksmithing. Just be yourself.
- Think about what blacksmithing can do for you in the 21st
century. Don’t pretend you are maker in another time - be a maker
for the current century.
- And lastly Mary talks about the differences between the
industrial and handmade pieces, and the consequences of
these two approaches within the environment in which we live.
Mary’s Website – http://maryjanehackett.blogspot.com/
Blacksmith Doris website - http://blacksmithdoriswomenblacksmiths.blogspot.com/
Australian Blacksmith Association (Vic) Inc - http://www.abavic.org.au/
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