Blacksmithing classes Bay Area

Welcome!

If you’ve ever dreamed of learning the creative art of welding, blacksmithing, woodworking, glass blowing, enameling, ceramics, jewelry making, dancing with fire, pouring bronze, or other industrial arts, The Crucible is for you! Our classes are designed for everyone (including youth)—from beginners with no prior experience, to experienced makers, advanced artists, and tradespeople. We offer a variety of scheduling options to fit all sorts of busy lives, and our classes average one instructor for every six students.

Artist Resources

Whether you’re just beginning to explore your creativity or are an experienced artist, the classes in this section are designed to assist you: from understanding basic design principles and material properties to finding your inner muse. Specific workshops help you navigate copyright law, get your work professionally photographed or teach you how to write about it.

Blacksmithing

Learn the basics of heating steel in a forge and shaping it with a hammer, anvil and chisel. You’ll master five basic smithing operations: drawing, shrinking, bending, upsetting and punching, and you’ll make several small pieces of your own. Advanced classes introduce you to the power hammer, bladesmithing, forge welding and ornamental ironwork.

Ceramics

Clay is a material rich in history and possibilities for art making. Ceramics at The Crucible offers a unique place to learn the different building techniques of pinching, coiling, using slabs, in addition to press molds and slip casting with plaster molds. Students have the opportunity to explore different glazing techniques in low fire, high fire, and other firing alternatives such as raku firing. From functional tableware and vessels to sculpture and installations to mixed media, the possibilities in ceramics are endless for both youths and adults.

Enameling

Enameling is the colorful result of fusing powdered glasses to metal using high heat to form a durable vitreous coating. The first enamels date to the 6th Century BC, in ancient Cyprus. At The Crucible, we teach both traditional and experimental application techniques, onto various metals—from gold to steel (and everything in between) to make objects ranging from fine cloisonné jewelry to large-scale steel sculptures and wall pieces.

Fire-Performance

Fire has always been a powerful, mythic element for humans. It has played a significant role in our history and molded our very way of life. Fire performers have a deep respect for the flame and know that by no means do they ever have total control over it. At The Crucible, you can learn to safely manipulate fire’s captivating power, and learn to make and use various tools like poi, fire staffs, hula-hoops and fire rope dart.

Foundry

Casting metal is a 6,000-year-old process still used in both manufacturing and fine art. The founder melts metal, usually aluminum, bronze and cast iron in a crucible, pours it into a mold, then removes the mold material or the casting once the metal has cooled and solidified. In our classes, beginners learn the chemistry and basic steps that go into making a piece of cast metal, while advanced classes explore the intricacies of casting and metal finishing.

Glass Blowing

One of the most recognized forms of glass art using the artists’s breath to inflate and shape molten glass on the end of hollow rods – beautiful, challenging and physically satisfying – a very popular series of classes at The Crucible.

Glass Casting & Coldworking

Cold glass can be carved, cut and drilled to create gorgeous pieces with unique surface textures and shapes. Kiln cast glass allows you to turn wax sculptures into solid glass art pieces, or put a relief into a solid piece of glass.

Glass Flameworking

Using the intense heat of an oxygen-propane torch, learn how to melt and shape borosilicate glass. You’ll learn to create beautiful and interesting pieces including beads, marbles, small sculptures and hollow vessels.

Glass Fusing & Slumping

Melt and reshape glass in the intense heat of a kiln to create art pieces or practical objects like plates and bowls. Advanced techniques allow you to combine colors, and even paint on glass, all while using recycled materials to create beautiful and ecologically sound art.

Hot-Wheels & Bikes

If it’s got wheels, learn to work on it here – bicycles, motorcycles, whatever you got.

Jewelry

Learn the skills and techniques in a variety of methods, from traditional metalsmithing and fabrication, to casting metal using the lost wax method, setting gemstones or shaping modern resin and clay. Our classes allow you to create original pieces of jewelry or small sculpture, expand your knowledge into specific techniques, or even make your own tools and design your own home studio.

Kinetics & Electronics

The possibilities of integrating movement and sound with artwork are endless – from wind-powered mobiles to motorized robots, art cars, flaming sculptures and more. The Kinetics Department focuses on mechanical and electronics-based movement to help you create dynamic and interactive artwork. Whether it is large-scale Rube Goldberg contraptions or tiny robots that literally have minds of their own, these classes will help you take your creations to the next level. Learn about motors, how to program microchips, where to find components, and how to (safely) set your work on fire!

Machine Shop

Learn the secrets of machining—to drive sharp cutting tools using lathes, milling machines and drill presses and make precise, accurate cuts. Machining is used on engines, bicycles, appliances, kinetic or mechanical projects and much more. Our machine shop also has a lab for experienced workers to work on personal projects and for new students to perfect their machining skills.

Moldmaking

Molds are used to produce everything from objects of art to kitchen sinks; both as a step in unique original creations and to make multiples. When you have a three-dimensional piece to duplicate, creating the right type of mold from the original is the first step. Whether you work large or small, in metal, resin, plastic or glass, our moldmaking classes give you a great foundation and teach you which technique and which materials to use for the best results.

Neon & Light

Radiant light technology greatly expands the possibilities for light design, whether incandescent, fluorescent, neon, LED, plasma or electro-luminescent wire. Our classes introduce and explain techniques, tools, properties and adaptability of these materials. Illuminated projects can either stand alone or be combined with many of the other processes taught at The Crucible.

Paper, Textiles & Leather

It’s not all about metal, glass and fire at The Crucible. Come check out our softer side with classes that reacquaint with your sewing machine, turn old T-shirts into hot couture, create three-dimensional photography or learn the ancient art of cartoneria.

Stone Working

The Crucible’s stone classes teach the skills you will need to carve stone, sculpt it into vibrant and organic art pieces, mold it into furniture and even cast concrete counter tops. Learn traditional hand-carving techniques and how to work with pneumatic tools, as well as how to design and shape different materials.

Welding

Joining metal with heat is a fabrication process used since the Bronze Age, and new technology develops continually. The Crucible teaches beginning and advanced classes in four different kinds of welding: oxyacetylene gas welding, arc (or “stick”) welding, metal inert gas (MIG) welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Start with a beginning class in one type of welding, or begin by exploring all four types of welding in our Exploring Welding class.

Woodworking

In The Crucible’s woodworking program, you can learn to work with wood using hand tools and power tools, learn to carve and turn wood and apply these skills to your own projects. You’ll learn about different types of woods, appropriate techniques for working with them, and gain an understanding of basic furniture-making and cabinetry design. Students work closely with teachers to understand approaches to woodturning and woodcarving as well.