I started Blacksmithing at 8 years old (1976) after a visit to Old Sturbridge Village and a visit to the blacksmith shop.. Lots and lots of hours refining skills and fully Self taught. Went professional at 17 specializing in Colonial period hardware. Worked for 8 years as a professional Blacksmith. At 21 served a 3 year Farrier apprenticeship..
A true purist at heart everything made was strictly by hand.. For drilling I used a hand drill.
After working as a farrier I moved away from blacksmithing basically closing up shop and moved away from the home forge..
9 years later I've refocused and hope to get a new shop up to start teaching blacksmithing. Grand total of 40 years blacksmithing as of 2016
while i find the Artist aspect of blacksmithing or forming metals interesting.. I myself prefer items that are used vs just looked at.. a fork, an axe, a hammer, a hinge, a frying pan. a sign post bracket, a bolt, nut.. etc, etc.. These are things I find to be beautiful when hand made..