I did not fall in love with iron at first sight. In fact it was love at very last sight.
I never wanted to become a blacksmith. Having grown up in a forge, the job looked completely uninteresting to me. It was banal, and I wanted to be the exact opposite: I wanted to express myself and be original. How could I ever do that with iron? What a fool! Iron dust bothered me and definitely could have smelled better, so I always found excuses not to help my grandfather and my father in the workshop. In retrospect, I was a real slacker.
Then something changed. Probably me. I started to listen, to watch more carefully, and to learn the basics. I was struck by the way iron, so hard to work with, would soften when it reached the right temperature. At that point, you could do almost anything “to” it.
Once I was charmed, even the sound of my grandfather inveighing – punctuated by the percussion of the hammer on the anvil – became an ancestral and mystical sound to my ears, like a magic formula I needed to bend iron to my will.
Fotografie: © Benedetta Balloni