Former Grafton blacksmith Eoin McSwan is off to compete at the 21st Biennial (bi-annual) World Blacksmithing Championships, to be held in Stia, Italy, next month.
Eoin has been a blacksmith since the age of 15 (45 years), following in his father’s footsteps.
“My father was a blacksmith (many years ago) on the railway, at South Grafton,” said Eoin.
“I used to have a mobile welding business, but blacksmithing’s just a hobby now.”
Although he has competed in local competitions over the years, this will be the first time that Eoin has competed overseas.
Eoin and fellow blacksmith “Tim” from Ballarat in Victoria are the only two “smiths” from Australia who will be competing in the world championships.
The competition will be held in the quaint, cobblestoned Piazza Tanucci, (Stia’s town centre), over three days.
Each competition has a theme by which the craftsman is to follow, to create their iron sculptures, however the theme is not known prior to the event.
Competitors can enter either as an individual or as a team (consisting of four or five men) and the art works which are created for the competition are then auctioned off at the end of the competition with the proceeds going towards the next biennial event.
Having read up on the event, Eoin said that he is looking forward to “having a go”.
“It will be a real party atmosphere in the piazza, with drinking, music and dancing, exhibitions and pizza’s,” he said.
“The ‘World Expo’ will be on at the same time, in Milan, so we will probably go and have a look at that too.”