Artist blacksmith, George Witzke (wit-ski) has been a professional blacksmith creating hand-forged ironwork since 1994. His journey started with a three day beginner's class. Once bitten with the blacksmith bug, he progressed from a hobby smith into a full time blacksmith in just a few years. His career advanced from participating in local craft shows to selling at high-end arts and craft shows then on to exclusively crafting custom work. In 2010, when the economy turned, he switched his focus to galleries and shops. In 2015, he was invited by his mentor and blacksmith partner, to build and man a public demonstration shop just outside of the east entrance to Zion National Park. Through that experience, he realized many people have a desire to play with fire, thus Blacksmith Adventures was born! The Silverton, Colorado location is open Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Though he no longer accepts custom commissions, in his years as a smith, George Witzke has created a diverse array of beautiful and complex iron work for both residential and commercial properties. Most notably, he worked with a team of blacksmiths to create the railing at the Grand Canyon's Mather Point Amphitheater.
Meet George's wife, April. They have always partnered together in business with him doing the hot work and her working in the air-conditioned office operating the business. April has a side business building leather aprons. Yes, she built the very ones you will be wearing in class. See more at Forge-Aprons.com. On top of that, they own and operate vacation rental homes in Kanab that are filled with George's metalwork. You're welcome to stay. Visit Zionab.com for more information. Together, George and April have four grown children, seven grand-children and four great-grandchildren!
Blacksmithing, by its very nature, is a dangerous activity. Burns, cuts and serious bodily harm can occur. Each class begins with safety education.
Students are provided eye and ear protection, cotton and Kevlar gloves, and leather aprons from Forge-Aprons.com. A first aid kit is on hand.
Hydration is also critical. Bottled water is available but please, feel free your own hydrating beverages like Gatoraide and energy boosting snacks.
* Participants are encouraged to wear closed toe shoes, long pants and long sleeve shirts.