Local blacksmith forging a culture of reuse

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Hunter and surrounding community is invited to bring their old metal items and have them repaired at the inaugural blacksmith repair day being hosted in Branxton this Saturday 16 June by local blacksmith artist and sculptor, Will Maguire.

Supported by the University of Newcastle’s Centre for 21st Century Humanities, Mr Maguire will work at the forge on the day alongside colleagues from the Artist Blacksmiths Association of Australia to repair steel and metal household items as well as gardening or farming equipment and decorative objects.

Mr Maguire said the day will not only be about fixing damaged items, but also about bringing the community together through a celebration of practical skills that are often overlooked in today’s modern world.

“Through this event, we can combat some of the excesses of consumer culture by reducing waste and breathing life back into items of worth. I’m also keen to build a sense of community by helping our neighbours in the process.”

Mr Maguire was awarded seed funding for the project after pitching the idea for the repair day at the Centre for 21st Century Humanities Start Up Workshop held in June last year.

Director of the Centre, Professor Hugh Craig, said the judges at the workshop were impressed with Mr Maguire’s desire to foster a sense of community and create a culture of reuse.

“We’re proud to support this inaugural event and can see it being very useful to the wider Hunter community. This event puts value on the traditional skills of blacksmithing, an ancient art that is worth preserving, all while fostering a culture that encourages the salvaging of old items,” Professor Craig said.

Attendees are invited to make a small donation to have their goods repaired, with all proceeds going to Slow Food Hunter Valley who will be supplying a bite to eat on the day.

“We’d love it if those bringing in items could make a donation. All proceeds raised will go to the Slow Food Hunter Valley who use the funds to educate local kids on the value of food and its production,” Mr Maguire said.

Jobs will be taken on as they arrive by the volunteers available on the day, or people can email Mr Maguire and register their interest in advance to discuss the suitability of an item in need of repair at blacksmithnow@outlook.com.

Processes available include forging, electric welding, brazing, riveting, fabrication, bending, straightening, cutting and sharpening/redressing edges.

The repair day will be held at Mr Maguire’s Workshop, 664 Elderslie Road, Elderslie (near Branxton) from 9am to 4pm.

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