Blacksmith’s success sparks second inspirational lecture

Artist blacksmith and Crafts graduate Charis Jones at work

The first ever female Blacksmith to become resident at Etruria Industrial Museum is due to speak out about how she forged a strong reputation in the traditionally male world of the blacksmith.

Charis Jones, contemporary artist, one of Barclay’s Top Businesses in the Trading Places Awards and finalist in the Lord Stafford Awards Entrepreneurial Spirit category, will speak at the second of Staffordshire University’s Women who Inspire lectures.

The lecture will take place on Monday 28 June 2010, at 5:30pm in The Pavilion, Staffordshire University, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent.

At the event, Charis will speak about her journey, from her beginnings in theatre design, her experiences of motherhood and how she made history by becoming the first ever female resident blacksmith at the Etruria Industrial Museum.

Charis began her business Sculpted Steel in 2008, with help from Staffordshire University’s Enterprise Fellowship Scheme (EFS).  She had embarked on her journey into Higher Education five years earlier, following her divorce when she was forced to give up her career as a theatre set designer.

She said: “It’s been a complete life change and I think you have to be the right sort of person. Juggling work and family is tough and running your own business – you have to be absolutely committed and prepared to do everything yourself but I love it!”

“I couldn’t go back to being a stage technician so I did a Foundation degree in Art and Design in Stourbridge and this led on to me going to Staffordshire University.”

The Staffordshire University graduate attended the New Designers national graduate showcase, resulting in her showing her work at a garden exhibition in Hampshire for two years in a row. She has also worked on a number of large commissions which include three sculptures for the former Chatterley Whitfield Mining site and making the awards for the Stoke Your Fires Animation Festival and the 2010k run for the Stoke centenary celebrations.

Charis was also one of five Early Career Artists to take part in the Space, Place and Identity project run by Beaver Arts in Newcastle, and is relishing her role at Etruria Industrial Museum where visitors to the Stoke-on-Trent visitor attraction can witness Charis at work as the resident artist blacksmith.

While her high points include being recognised as one of Barclay’s 100 Top Businesses in their Trading Places Awards, making the finals of the Lord Stafford Awards in the Entrepreneurial Spirit category and becoming the first ever female resident Blacksmith at Etruria Museum, Charis spends the remainder of her time honing her techniques, creating enough pieces to exhibit and sell and being a full time mum to her two children.

For more information please contact Staffordshire University on 01785 353653 or 01785 353741, or mail


Judy O'Brien
University Communications Manager
2 Winton Square
St4 2DE
t: +44 (0)1782 294345
e: j.l.o'