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Contemporary Thermodynamic Design with Mike Rossi


“I think blacksmithing is sometimes seen as something old or backward looking. It’s a handworking process, it requires earplugs, and there’s no app for it.


But there is a sensitivity to it, and a versatility to the process of forging that’s unavailable any other way. It allows me to be responsive to architecture and space in all my work, and to create any physical shape in metal.


In a world of mass manufacturing, forged metal objects represent something rarefied and meaningful.”
–Mike Rossi 


Mike Rossi, Ellipsis in blue, forged and inflated steel, 2013.
Mike Rossi, Ellipsis in blue, forged and inflated steel, 2013.


Mike Rossi
Contemporary Thermodynamic Design
In the iron studio
This workshop will use blacksmithing techniques to create meaningful contemporary sculpture and useful objects. We’ll start with introductory exercises and then move into self-directed projects. The workshop will be based in hot forging and forming, including hand- and power-hammer forging of steel and bronze, sheet metal forming, inflation, joinery, and simple toolmaking. We’ll also cover finishing techniques, including bringing color to surface. Throughout, we’ll consider the underlying content of our work and investigate the place of blacksmithing in contemporary life. We’ll work hard, have fun, and create many new objects. All levels.*


To find out more and register for this workshop click here.
Spring scholarship deadline is November 29. Please note: applications need to be at Penland by this date to be considered for scholarship. Overnight service may not deliver to Penland’s campus on time, please plan accordingly.


*Mike Rossi notes that the course of his eight-week workshop will be subject to change based on the interest of his students. Basic toolmaking will be covered, but Rossi adds this disclaimer:


“we won’t be making any swords during this class!”



Mike Rossi has taught at Penland, Ox-Bow and Kalamazoo College. His work has been exhibited at Torpedo Factory (VA),the National Ornamental Metals Museum (TN), and  Houston Center for Contemporary Art (TX), among others. He was participant in FERRO 2005 (Germany). He tries to read one book a week, and has been influenced by the writings of Gene Wolfe, Jack Vance, Jorge Borges, and Dave Hickey–and, more recently, Samuel Delaney and Mervyn Peake. Over the last two years, he’s been blown away by the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki. Oh yes, and his big three artists right now are Olafur Eliasson, Martin Puryear, and Giorgio de Chirico.