The mission of the North Hälsingland Blacksmiths Guild is to develop and encourage the craft of blacksmithing in Sweden and across the globe, through sharing ideas, collaborating on work, and educating new smiths. The Guild welcomes both working blacksmiths and members of the public. For those active in ironwork, it is a structure to share work and pool resources, increasing learning and productivity. Any member can enjoy the benefits of the Guild however, from participating in Blacksmithing Days, to designing and ordering work from our skilled craftsmen, to becoming an apprentice and starting their journey into the world of blacksmithing. To continue the tradition that has made blacksmithing thrive throughout the centuries, we use the titles of Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master to reflect the skill of our craftsmen. The standards for these titles have been carefully considered by working smiths, based on practical milestones that each smith experiences. This basis in craft brings authenticity to these terms, and in turn encourages a high standard of workmanship and craftsman’s pride.
WHAT IS A GUILD?
For centuries the guild structure served to develop and preserve knowledge, and educate the next generation of craftsmen. The guild was a brotherhood of craftsmen, working together, supporting one another, often with a central gathering location or guild hall. The sense of tradition was strong, the brotherhood fierce, the lasting results of which we can see in stunning examples of ironwork surviving to this day. The guild was an assurance of quality, a guarantee that the items produced by its craftsmen would be enduring and beautiful. The guilds guarded their secrets, often jealously, in the tumultuous times of the Middle Ages and onward. The hierarchy, secrecy, and loyalty among the members forged a bond that was like family. The passing of knowledge from one smith to the next through this system stretches back through history in an unbroken chain, each smith a link, each one responsible for the preservation of the craft.
In the present time, we believe there is no longer a need for secrecy. Our strength lies in sharing our knowledge and skills, encouraging interest in blacksmithing, and strengthening the foothold of this ancient craft in our modern lifestyle.