Dec 7, 2015
Kate Dinneen is a master blacksmith from Lawrence, Kansas. She's
owned her own business called Hot Flash Metalworks since 2006. Her
work can be seen across Kansas as well as on the gates at
Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London. Kate has studied and
mentored with blacksmiths internationally and is currently serving
as a Global Assistant to a World War I memorial being designed at
an event next year in Ypres, Belgium.
What We Talked About
- Kate's family came from Ireland many generations ago so she has
a connection to the British Isles. She travels to the UK regularly
to study and work there.
- One of Kate's biggest blacksmith influences is Uri Hofi. She
has spent time learning from him in Israel. Two of his students
taught her to strike in an ergonomic way that protects the body and
allows her to strike much longer.
- Early in her career, Kate was involved in a new gate design at
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London where she created one of the
featured design elements.
- Kate stays very busy at Hot Flash Metalworks and gets most of
her work through word of mouth. She estimates that 60% of her work
she gets to design herself and about 40% is based on someone else's
- She does charge a design fee and feels that it's better to
charge it up front rather than bundling it in with the entire
project cost. Her ideal pay structure would be to charge in three
equal payments at beginning, middle and end, but she admits it's
very hard to know final costs and the length of each project.
- Kate does sporadically offer some training out of her shop,
mostly to beginners. She also teaches a group of “at risk” kids
through a local non-profit. “They teach basic job skills through
the arts and I'm in charge of the metals component of it,” she
says. They worked on spot welding and sheet metal work last
semester and next semester they will try forging.
- Kate has been appointed Global Assistant to a blacksmithing
event in Ypres, Belgium in September 2016. Ypres is a battle site
from World War I, which suffered mass casualties and heavy
destruction. A cenotaph (a memorial to honor the dead who are
buried elsewhere) will be designed and built.
- The design competition for the 13 panels that will surround the
cenotaph is still open until January. Find info at ypres2016.com. Each panel will be
28” x 29” and should contain a design element that is meaningful to
- The cenotaph will also include 13 panels that represent all the
countries that fought at the site. Those are being designed by
invited blacksmiths from each country.
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