Hello! I’m Joy, I do stuff here on the internet for SIBs sometimes. Allow me to introduce myself.
I am a 31 year old, queer, cisgender female. For anyone who doesn’t understand that, cisgender means my gender identity (who I am, how I think of myself, how I look and act) matches my biological sex (chromosomes and stuff). The queer part can mean a lot of things. For me it means I don’t fit into the social definition of femininity. Honestly “femininity” often makes me feel bad about myself, because I’m not really good at it, and I don’t really want to be. That’s all, it’s pretty simple really.
So, why bring this up in a post about blacksmithing? Because blacksmithing is so important to me, it’s part of my identity, just like being cisgender and queer. Just like having blond hair or being from Kansas might be to someone else. It may sound silly, but being a blacksmith makes me happier and more comfortable as a person. I can be a woman, I can be a bit queer, I can be myself, because I can also be a blacksmith. There is something empowering about the sense of accomplishment you get when you make something, that personal pride when you execute a technique skillfully. If you are a blacksmith, or just like to make things, I think you know what I mean!
Because blacksmithing has made me happier and healthier mentally and physically, I want other people to be able to do it too. I know I’m lucky to have the opportunities I’ve had, and I know there are many people who aren’t. That is why I’m part of SIBs, so I can reach out from where I am and pull more people up here with me. I just want everyone to get to forge because forging is the BEST!
The reality though, is that some people are going to hit more barriers in their lives than others. People who are queer, or trans, or gay, or people of color, or experiencing a disability, or poor, may have a harder time getting into this weird art/craft/hobby. That’s what SIBs specifically addresses. We want to grow our community by providing resources to anyone who might otherwise not have the chance to learn blacksmithing or practice it regularly. We’ve all been helped along our paths and we want to pass that on. We want to connect people to all the resources, groups, individual shops, and great people that are out there. It’s as simple as that.
Thanks for reading! Sincerely,
This was written where I live and work, on the historic land of the Gabrielino/Tongva people.