I spent a hugely enjoyable three days on the blacksmith course at Bluefoot Ironworks. I left with several items I had made, the skills I had learned, and the enthusiasm to carry on making things on a forge. Pete Smith has the gift of passing on knowledge, seemingly effortlessly. Heather Smith provides delicious home-cooked food. I cannot recommend this experience highly enough.
Andrew Bennett - - #20136
The day went so quickly and met our every expectation and more. It was a delightful inspiring introduction to the art of blacksmithing based in a beautiful landscape at Blue Foot Forge. Pete Smith was bounding with knowledge and enthusiasm for his art but was able to demonstrate what to do so clearly and effectively. It was very refreshing to meet both Pete and his wife, Heather, who are ethically minded people intent on making life more sustainable and rewarding. Pete made blacksmithing so much fun, we actually went away amazed to find we had actually made two useful tools/holders under his careful supervision. Heather has made a fine garden and provided an excellent lunch.
A day to remember thank you Pete and Heather
Phil Hughes - July 2018
Phil Hughes - - #16207
In September this year I will be going to study Blacksmithing and metal work in Holme Lacy College. A tutor from the course reccomended Pete Smith to me, Ive done 3 three day courses with Pete. Throughtout the days I was with him I learnt so much more from what I knew from the beginning. He is an amazing person, very understandable, but also an excellent teacher, I am really grateful of how he's helped me on my journey to become a blacksmith a little easier, and that I recognize the differences of metal, or certain temperatures for certain bends etc.
Harry Gwatkin - - #16073
Wow! What a great day I had at the Bluefoot Forge!
As a complete novice this first experience of forging was better than I could ever imagine.
A fantastic day with Pete at his lovely forge where together with the other participants I watched Pete as he was transforming a simple piece of metal into something wonderful.
I couldn't wait to get started so I could try and do the same.
With Pete's guidance and help I was able to make my own pieces - a lovely leaf and a perky snail! I really enjoyed the session , I have learnt a lot and I hope to return for a longer course sometime soon.
Pete's wife Heather was a wonderful host too. She made us feel so welcome in her home and treated us with some delicious home made lunch, teas and coffees.
Thank you very much!!!
Lucy Kuzara - - #11912
I first met Pete at an evening course run by Hereford and Ludlow college. I enjoyed the course and Pete’s teaching so much I signed up for a 3 day course at Pete’s Forge in Presteigne and then the BTEC course in Herefordshire.
Pete is an excellent teacher with an extensive knowledge of blacksmithing. His short courses are a fantastic introduction to the craft and I’d recommend them to anyone. In his teaching, he demonstrates clearly and guides you through the steps to make some amazing items. I’m so pleased I met Pete and he encouraged me to follow the path I’m now on in blacksmithing.
Lottie Shaw - - #11586
I was lucky enough to have Peter as a tutor for 2 (and a bit) years. When he interviewed me and seen some bits and bobs Ive done in the forge with little experience in blacksmithig, he simply said he can teach me to do better, and has stayed true to his word. Peter, having heaps of experience and knowlege of blacksmithing, has taught me not just the theory and practice of blacksmithing but also showed me how to learn from the metal, he thinks outside the box and clearly shows what he means, its like he saw every little thing that escaped my attention and when he pointed those things out it was that lightbulb turning on above my head moment.
Kacper Nowak - - #11396
I really enjoyed my day and never thought I would learn and make as much as I did in 1 day.
Peter was an excellent Teacher and very patient and great company the lunch was fantastic
I recommend this day it is value for money and to cut to the basics you get taught by a Guy who has done this almost all his working life and teaches people for a Living.
Jez Jones - - #8294
With my rudimentary blacksmithing knowledge, the tool making course provided
an exciting challenge in working with tool steel. The 3 days were organised
well, starting with making the tools needed to produce the final tool, a hot
sett. Pete demonstrated clearly the processes before we tried them for
ourselves, during which he gave gentle guidance and help when necessary. The
tools produced were, surprising, better than I hoped and will form the basis
for long future use. The hospitality offered by Pete's wife Heather during
tea breaks and lunch was fantastic with scrummy food. It was a pleasure to
share experiences with the two other fellow course members and to benefit
from Pete's long experience. I would recommend a 3 day course at Bluefoot
Forge to anyone with any level of interest in Blacksmithing.
Phil Platt - - #7830
The course was fantastic. Pete moved at our pace to ensure that we made the most of the day. Consequently we ended up making at least 3 items all of which had clearly been carefully selected to ensure that we could try out key blacksmithing skills. Despite it being our first time, under Pete's tutelage we were able to execute them so that we now have some beautiful and useful mementos of the day, plus learn how to fold, heat weld, cut and develop hammer skills.
From 14 to 46 all three of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would recommend this to anyone interested in blacksmithing and learning form a true enthusiast. Oh and the lunch was delicious and tailored to accommodate my peculiar dietary requirements!
Beth Rudolf - - #7780
Attended course from 18th to 20th July 2016.
Didn't know what to expect found Peter was very hands on gave me the confidence to work the heat in the forge then working the metal on the anvil.
Heather always made a lovely lunch with fresh produce out of the garden and fresh bread from Prestigne. I really enjoyed the 3 days and would love to go back and build on what I was taught. Would really encourage anyone who is thinking about this course to go ahead and do it. Great fun !!
Martin Boundy - - #5694
Pete Smith was my tutor and mentor during three years of study at the National School of Blacksmithing in Holme Lacy, Hereford. By the end of those three successful years I took away a triple distinction and a life-long friendship and admiration for Pete.
In my humble opinion he is one of the most talented men I have ever met. I am still in awe at some of the things I have seen him create and I still can’t work out how he managed to do them. His creation of the Solar Eye was nothing less than a piece of wizardry.
It’s hard to understate the influence he has had on me, and my future career, and he is a truly inspiring figure. I honestly believe this man only has good to give and he is absolutely generous with his knowledge.
Hand on heart Pete Smith has changed my life for the good and I hope he will continue to do so.
Morgan Scoble-Rees - - #3703
After waiting a mere 20 years to learn the trade I had always dreamt about, I had the pleasure of training under Pete at Hereford college's Blacksmithing & Metalworking course in 2011. I’m glad I did.
Pete’s training approach is calm, hands on, no nonsense (the good kind) and to the point.
He understands the metal-working processes in great depth and applies them with an exceptional amount of skill, some even say wizardry ... you’ll find out why.
The way Pete demonstrates techniques and processes is easy to follow and clearly explained. He encourages note taking, but more importantly expects students to pay attention to what he is doing during the demo.
Students' questions are answered patiently and always with a sense of ‘try things out for yourself’.
Pete encourages you to try and learn from your mistakes as problem solving is a key skill; not just for blacksmithing.
While the training at Hereford college is a mix of old & new, Pete favours traditional techniques over their modern counterparts where ever possible.
If it can be done by traditional means instead of a grinder, welder & co. you will learn how to; or at least be told how.
You thought you'll need flux to fire weld? You’ll see you don't.
You thought you’ll need a belt-sander for a smooth tool finish? You’ll see you don’t. You thought you knew about sun-dials and stonehenge? You’ll see ...
I enjoyed every day of it and wish I could have done two more years.
I highly recommend training with Pete for anyone interested in learning the King of crafts from one of its masters.
Benjamin Kroll - - #3702
I had the privilege of being a student of Peter Smith for two years at the National School of Blacksmithing. He taught me to make my first ever pair of tongs. For two years he was involved in my metalwork education and was always an inspiration and role model for me. He has a wide knowledge of all things metal, from the scientific side of blacksmithing to the creative and aesthetic side. Whenever Pete had a spare minute and worked on a fire I was always keen to see what magic he had created. When I talk to people about the blacksmith I want to be in twenty years time I use Pete as the level of skill I can only dream of; the way he thinks and his ability to picture form and function in his head and then apply his skills to create true art is incredible. I am truly lucky to have been a student of Peter, and will always remember his gentle and kind manner.
James Livesey, 24, Student, Sydney, Australia. - - #3701
I have found Pete to be a great teacher that has a incredible amount of knowledge,
he is passionate about his work and has a natural talent to explain complicated processes to his student/ I have been his student for the last two years and I'm confident that I wouldn't be as good of a blacksmith without his guidance.
Leszek Sikon from Poland - - #3700
I am a fabricator by trade but in my spare time I make sculptures/ornaments etc. I have been fabricating for around 18 years and thought that I was pretty good at what I do!
One thing that I hadn’t done was blacksmithing. As a way to enhance my work and add another ‘string to my bow’, I decided to look at doing a course in blacksmithing. I found that there was a night class at Holm Lacey Campus.
This is where I met Pete, has he was the lecturer.
Just from talking to Pete for a few minutes I could tell that he was very passionate about the art of ‘smithing’ but, it wasn’t until he gave us a demonstration that I saw the talent that he had!
I was hooked! Pete made it look very easy!
(That’s the sign of a great craftsman)
When it comes to teaching, Pete is very patient and has the able to see the fine details that is required, where to stand, how hard to hit it, how hot the material is etc.
When you might be getting frustrated because it’s ‘just not working’ Pete just as the knack of explaining in a way that you can understand.
A truly talented craftsman and great teacher!
Chris Lane (Welder, fabricator, sculptor) - - #3699
In September (2016) I will be going back to study blacksmithing at Hereford and Ludlow college for another year. It was during my first year that I had Pete as my tutor, and he was the one to take us through everything we learnt. He has such a huge wealth of knowledge about blacksmithing and was a great tutor both practically and when discussing techniques away from the forge. For me there was a lot of frustration at first and he was really patient and kept encouraging me so that my confidence grew. I really enjoyed having him as a tutor as he totally understood what my interests were, I was coming from an art background and wanted to learn blacksmithing as a way to take my art practice forwards. Pete was really understanding of this and helped me on this journey. What i love most is that you are bound to learn a lot more than just blacksmithing in every lesson.
Katie Louise Surridge. - - #3698
Pete taught me blacksmithing for a year. I started as a beginner having never worked metal and with low confidence in my ability. Through out the year that Peter was my tutor my confidence grew. He helped nurture a rounded view of the processes involved, from the first design to the completion of the artefacts. Pete was always available and enthusiastic to help and never made me feel like any question I asked was a stupid one. He also steered me toward self learning, giving me the freedom and ability to experiment for myself using a variety of techniques he taught and an eagerness to share any knowledge he had. His confidence in his students ability and capacity to learn transferred to me, giving me the foundation needed to push myself out of my comfort zone and really try new and exciting things. He helped work through frustration of not getting a process straight away, patiently coaching me through the process one on one. I felt like Pete tailored the teaching to me, picking up on my weaknesses and strengths and working on both with me.
Katie McLennen-Dobson - - #3697