Blacksmithing Opportunities at Touchstone Center For Crafts
1049 Wharton Furnace Rd.
Farmington, PA 15437
Touchstone Center for Crafts is a unique three-season, 501(c)(3) nonprofit craft school in the beautiful Laurel Highlands, only 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1972 as Pioneer Crafts Council, Touchstone’s original mission was to foster interest in the preservation of traditional mountain crafts. Today, this unique craft school has expanded to include contemporary and experimental techniques in addition to traditional and historic methods in disciplines such as blacksmithing, ceramics, metals, textiles, glass, oil and watercolor painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. As Pennsylvania’s only residential craft school, Touchstone offers both beginners and seasoned artists more than one hundred week-long and weekend courses taught by some of North America’s finest artists and artisans.
Touchstone is currently looking for high-caliber instructors to teach blacksmithing and/or other art/craft forms. For those interested in teaching, information on how to submit a proposal to be considered for the 2017 season can be found at http://www.touchstonecrafts.org/Teaching-Proposal.
I wouldn’t have enough room to list all of our fabulous instructors in our 44 year history, but to give you an idea of who you might see in our catalog each year, I’ve included some instructors and demonstrators I’ve been fortunate to work with over the better part of the past decade:
Tom Latané • Mark Aspery • Fred Crist • Peter Ross • Alice James • Japheth Howard • Phil Heath • Alison Finn • Stephen Yusko • Bob Rupert • Glenn Horr • Jonathan Nedbor • John Medwedeff • Jody Best • Richard Sheppard • Jerry Darnell • Wayne Apgar • Ken Carter • Dennis Gilkey • Marc Yanko • Ken Roby • Greg Gehner • Randy McDaniel • Nigel Tudor • Nick Ireys • Chris Winterstein • Bob Elliott • Michael Walker • Tom Boone • Kim Thomas • Pat Livengood • Bob Parks • Richard Becker • Nicholas Kimball, and more.
Studio Fellow, Technician and Assistantship Positions
Touchstone is currently seeking seasonal staff to help manage and assist workshops and operations in our Hart Moore Blacksmithing Studio. More information on the positions and how to apply may be found at www.touchstonecrafts.org/employment.
Hart Moore Blacksmithing Studio and Metals and Jewelry Studio
Touchstone’s Hart Moore Blacksmithing Studio is well-equipped with 12 coal student forge stations, 1 coal master/instructor forge station, and 2 gas forges are available for use. We have a number of power and treadle hammers, including a Bradley 100, Big Blu Max 100, and Bick Lick. The shop has additional equipment for welding, grinding, sandblasting, plus swages, mandrills, and more for use. The tool room has various hammers, tongs, clamps, files, etc., enough for a full class. We keep steel and other materials stocked based on instructor submissions for what is needed to carry out their workshop(s). I’ve attached a few photos of the shop. One photo is of the shop as a whole; please note some of the equipment has since been replaced with newer equipment and the fly press is no longer here.
In addition to the Hart Moore Blacksmithing Studio, we have a Metals and Jewelry Studio where we host a variety of workshops with renowned instructors. This studio also provides 1 instructor and 12 students with their own jewelry bench/workstation for the duration of each workshop. The space is well-designed by Wayne Werner and will suit most needs to carry out classes on a myriad of techniques in metalsmithing.
For the majority of our workshop sessions, a studio technician and/or assistant will be available to help instructors and students with workshop needs.
Each year, Touchstone brings amazing, knowledgeable instructors to teach weekend, extended weekend, and week-long sessions in blacksmithing and other art/craft forms. We host classes to accommodate all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Most of our students are adults (ages 18-90); however, we do have some classes for teens (high school students, ages 13-18) and children (ages 6-12). I’ve attached a listing of our 2016 blacksmithing and metals workshops, plus more information may be found on our website (www.touchstonecrafts.org).
Most of our students choose to lodge on our campus during their session. You’ll find a variety of lodging options that include a meal plan to our dining hall. Our culinary manager and chef Meryl makes delicious and filling meals, and can accommodate most special dietary needs with advance notice.
Scholarships and Discounts
Touchstone has a limited number of scholarships available to deserving students each season. Information on the available scholarships and how to apply is found at
Touchstone offers a 10 percent early bird tuition discount to those who register for a workshop by April 30th. Additionally, we offer discounts to those who live within Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and in nearby counties, plus discounts to K-12 teachers currently employed in any school district. Anyone who is current on their Touchstone membership may also qualify for certain tuition and/or other discounts. More information may be found on our website.
If your group is willing to place information regarding Touchstone in a newsletter or on your website, we would be happy to add your guild to a listing of groups of which would qualify for a maker’s discount of 5 percent off tuition. I would only request a copy of the newsletter and/or a link to your site showing Touchstone’s info. To verify that someone is a member of your guild, I would also request a listing of your members – I am not requesting contact or other personal information, only names (for verification) of current members of whom the discount could be received.
Annual Symposiums: Jim Campbell Hammer-In and Alchemist Picnic
The Jim Campbell Hammer-In is a yearly celebration of all things blacksmithing, honoring the enduring legacy of longtime volunteer and friend to Touchstone, Jim Campbell. This year’s symposium is being held in conjunction with the Alchemist Picnic, an annual gathering of metalsmiths and jewelers from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond offering attendees a wide variety of metals-related demonstrations.
The May 6-8, 2016 weekend will include artist lectures, forging demonstrations, gourmet camp food, a tool swap, roundtable discussion, and good old blacksmithing and metalsmithing camaraderie. The crossover presenter for both these events is Paige Davis. The Jim Campbell Hammer-In demonstrators are Ellen Durkan and Nick Ireys. The Alchemist Picnic presenters are April Wood, Heidi Lowe, and Andrew Haviland. More information on our presenters and event pricing may be found on our website.