Friday, June 2, 2023

Meet Aislinn Lewis, Colonial Williamsburg Blacksmith

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WILLIAMSBURG-Aislinn Lewis first became interested in blacksmithing back in high school when she started volunteering at George Washington Birthplace National Monument located near her hometown on the Northern Neck.

“I spent a lot of time watching the blacksmith working there,” she said. “I always thought it looked really fun.”

She was encouraged to give it a try and spent two years as a volunteer at the establishment. Lewis went on to join a local blacksmith guild and studied the craft at the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, SC. During her senior year of college, Lewis took an internship with the Historic Trades as a blacksmith for Colonial Williamsburg and never left. Lewis has been with Colonial Williamsburg since 2009 and is now a journeyman blacksmith and the only female currently in the trade.

A blacksmith is defined as a person who makes and repairs items primarily of iron and steel by hand using a hammer. The act is called forging. Lewis forges new pieces or restores items for Colonial Williamsburg and is currently working on objects for the Williamsburg Bray School and First Baptist Church projects. Additionally, she makes pipe tomahawks as well as spits and skewers for The American Indian Experience initiative.

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