Working Iron

I’ve noticed metalworking is a bit of a theme around here (thanks to Charly, kestrel and Marcus), and so it’s no coincidence that I discovered a new fantastic personality in the field of Women Blacksmiths:

Her name is Elizabeth Brim and she’s made her name forging and inflating playful, elegant, and unexpected objects out of iron, a decidedly indelicate material. Bourdain travels to her home in North Carolina to meet with the pearl-wearing master metalsmith, first as she meticulously fashions a flower and then as she spreads knowledge to her students at the Penland School of Crafts.

“I was brought to believe that I needed some man to take care of me and to pay the bills and to make sure the oil in my car was changed and my tires were good… and so I’m really proud that I was able to pay that house off by selling my work,” Brim says to Bourdain when they talk about the aftermath of a failed marriage. She’s just so, so great. Bourdain himself even says she’s the type of woman his own daughter will grow up to be.

The video at the link is her interview with the late Anthony Bourdain. It’s worth a watch, she seems such a fantastic character and I would love to spend a day with her, in her forge or elsewhere.

Loreena McKennitt has a nice song about a blacksmith, but he’s a two-timing, gaslighting liar, so here’s Ani DiFranco instead:


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If the had Redhead seen her work, it would be all over the house. I have an iron pelican the Redhead bought guarding he thermostat in the front room, with a wine cork on its beak. I swear it tries to peck people of they get too close.

  2. says

    Rob Grigjanis@#5:
    Hey, some of the best folk songs are about betrayal, murder, she/him done him/her wrong, etc.

    “Remember, in music Ralph Stanley killed more people than Ice-T and 50 cent.” -- Ray Wylie Hubbard

  3. rq says

    Thank you, Rob, I was completely unaware of this great musical tradition! I don’t know how I missed it. /s

    Cat Mara
    I’m just a fan of Loreena McKennitt, I love her voice -- and having a man sing the song doesn’t make the actual blacksmith any less of a two-timing, gaslighting liar. Either way, as on-topic as the subject matter might be, I thought Elizabeth Brim deserved something a bit more kickassingly respectful of who she is as a person.

  4. voyager says

    Wow, that’s fabulous rq.
    My dad was a blacksmith in Germany. When he came to Canada there wasn’t much work so he took up welding instead. He didn’t like women who did heavy work, though. He always said that they needed men to help them with the heavy stuff so they were worth less. I wish he was still around to watch this.

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