Teach Blacksmithing in Buenos Aires
DATE: February to March 8, 2018
COST: We currently have space left for 10 people. Land cost will be about $900 for 10 days on the ground. Air fares are running from $975 to $1500 round trip.
CONTACT: Jerry Coe Ph: 510-525-4972, firstname.lastname@example.org
Want your blacksmithing skills to make a difference in the world? Want to help restore and preserve the historic architecture of one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Join us in training a skill-hungry and passionate metalworking community in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from February to March 8, 2018.
In 1930, the election of a labor government forced Argentina’s foreign investors to leave the country. This ended a 60-year boom in construction that had created a city of architectural beauty equal to Paris. What happened next was the slow disappearance of crafts and trade skills that are common here at home. Since that time, there has been little new construction except for cement tilt-ups. Carpentry is limited to pre-hung doors and windows, and metalwork is limited to welding and simple fabrication. Argentina may have a weak economy but that doesn’t stop the Portenos (as residents of Buenos Aires are known) from wanting to preserve their beautiful architectural heritage.
Last year, 36 of us went to Buenos Aires and took a chance that Argentines would show up and learn some skills from us. We set up to demonstrate our blacksmithing in a public park in Buenos Aires to raise awareness for preservation and show people the potential to learn the needed skills. We undertook to build a couple forged steel sculptures to get more hands involved. There were four forge stations set up where we could teach, using a ton of tools and forge parts so we could begin teaching immediately. Local people came out of the woodwork to get involved and work with us.
By the time we left Buenos Aires, these people had begun having workshops and meetings. It was as if we had lit a fuse under them. Their numbers have grown to over 800 people now, some of whom meet regularly to improve their skills and some are getting commissions from the city of Buenos Aires and creating exceptional designs and finished work of the highest standards.
Of our original 36 people, 24 of us want to return and take the next step. During our next trip, we will organize formal classes in beginning and advanced blacksmithing and tool making, just as we do at our own conferences here in the US. Secondary to our classes, we will produce a couple of park benches, working with the many friends from the community who come to help.
While we’re here, we’ll also enjoy a walking tour of Buenos Aires' historic districts to see the artistic ironwork that sets this city apart from all others. We will get around using public transport, as we did last year, to get a feel for the city and help us feel comfortable moving around on our own. We will sample the food, take in the music and culture (you’ll think you’re in Europe!). You can get by without Spanish. I made a film of our experience and put it on youtube: check it out on Youtube at "Buenos Aires: Craftsmen Share Restoration Skills" or