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I Forge Iron

Interview with Hofi

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The Golden Hammer
[An interview with Israeli blacksmith phenomenon, Uri Hofi]

This is a rare glimpse into the man Uri Hofi byAdrian Ioniţă. It includes how Hofi learned Romanian language, his move to South Africa, his joining Kibbutz Ein-Shemer, Israel, and many more details you might not have ever known. The article is translated into the Hebrew and Romanian languages.
click pentru versiunea rom

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What a great interview, I have been watching a series of videos Hofi was demonstrating in, and he discussed the book "the power of limits" which I placed a review about elsewhere on this site, it appears that his ambitions to pass on the knowledge of our art, is well on it's way to fruition. I truly wish to meet him sometime soon, and listen and learn.

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While reading this article I realized that Hofi had imparted that same wisdom to me many times over the years I have come to know and respect him. For some reason he has traken a particular interest in me, why I will never know. I would like to think that he saw something in me that is special. I realize though, that Master Hofi see something special in everyone. Maybe I just bugged him enough that he took pitty on me and decided to invite me to Israel. I have tried now for a couple years to make it over there and every time I get close something comes up. Right now I am dealing with my mother who is in the hospital and is not expected to make it out. My sister in-law has stage 4 lung cancer, she's 39. One of the last classes I took with Hofi in NY had to be cut short to drive back to Alabama because my other sister in-law passed away from breast cancer. She was 47. To say the last several years have been tough is an understatement. While all of this was going on we were building a house for almost a year and a half. AND on top of that the City of Montgomery decided to force me to retire from the Fire Department before I was ready, costing me 60 grand.

Why do I tell ya'll this? Here is why. There is always something that "comes up". There is never"enough time". And, "we are not here forever". Life is a "blink of the eye" and someone "always has it worse than me". Trust in God. If you love someone, tell them now, tomorrow may not come. The job of a fire fighter and law enforcement officer has taught me this over and over. Watching those you love die is also a good teacher.

To say that Hofi is a good teacher is an understatement. He is unlike any other teacher I have seen. If you have a chance to take his class, take it. Classes are an investment in your business, much like a tool. In fact, I believe knoweledge is a tool. Some people have more tools than others, fill your tool chest. I fully plan on continuing Hofi's teachings in the states when he no longer comes over here, providing I can do it to his standards. And that time may not be too far in the future. It is always better to learn from the Master and not the student when possible.

I have spent many hours together with him and he is always teaching me if I am willing to learn. I have had the privilage to room with him in New York on several occassions. I am his Taxi while I am there. It is great. When Hofi teaches you he teaches not only the blacksmithing process but the reason behind it. You will never hear him say we do it this way because that is the way it has always been done. You are more likely to hear him say this is the way THEY do it but this is why that way is not correct. He sometimes will even demonstrate the traditional way to prove it is much slower, less efficient.

The last class I took in New York was the Basic Hand Hammer Class. In that class was a Master Blacksmith from Germany. In order to be a master blacksmith in Germany you must go through a strict process which consist of many years of school and apprenticship, also a lot of money. In Germany you cannot have a blacksmith business unless you are a Master Blacksmith registered with the government. While driving this gentleman around he told me that Hofi was traumatizing him. I asked why. He said that everything that Hofi teaches is opposite of what he learned and was taught by the German Masters. But he said, it is better, it works. This is a perfect example, the best I know of that demonstrates how the traditions are taught because it has always been done that way. When I told Hofi what the smith said I had to explain to Hofi what "traumatizing" meant.

Learn from Hofi and learn about life not just blacksmithing. He teaches design, math, nature, philosophy (sp) etc. You will not hear him say " that did not turn out right but you get the idea". He is very accurate with the hammer and it turns out right.

Well I must go now, we are leaving for the hospital. Remember, tell that someone how you feel because you may not get the chance again.

Hofi, I will see you again soon and I love you buddy.

Gary Cremeens

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