Elmer Roush began blacksmithing in 1970 and was self-taught for six years, after which he attended workshops at Arrowmont School of Crafts, Haystack School of Crafts and the John C. Campbell Folk School. He also worked with Master smith Vaclav Jaros in what was Czechoslovakia as a journeyman. Elmer has been operating a full time blacksmithing business since 1987. His work has included specialized tools, 18th century style hardware, traditional and contemporary architectural work and a production line of candle holders, letter openers and fireplace tools.
Elmer has passed on his knowledge teaching blacksmithing at a number of schools including Peters Valley, Touchstone, Appalachian Center for Crafts, and the John C. Campbell Folk School. He assisted in setting up the Cearta Inneona blacksmithing school in Ireland in 1999 and was head instructor and acting CEO for the school for a year.
Elmer has also demonstrated widely at local and state blacksmithing conferences across America and made a trip to the yearly blacksmiths gathering near Brisbane in Australia in 2001 to teach and demonstrate. He was a studio monitor at the Haystack School of Crafts and a resident artist at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina for eight years up to 2002.
Elmer recreates tools and implements using the time proven technologies that craftsmen from the earliest metal working period of our history would easily recognize. If a metal worker from ancient Babylon was time shifted into Elmer’s forge he would have no difficulty in recognizing most of the equipment and would surely delight in the improvements.
By breathing new life into these old metal craftsmen’s techniques Elmer is helping to preserve our metal working heritage that modern society is so dependent upon but yet has largely taken for granted and forgotten. Besides his products appealing to preservation and re-enactment groups and societies, there are interior designers, architects and home builders who will also want to enhance and enrich their environments with these outstanding items and by so doing introduce intriguing and beautiful historical artifacts to a new generation who would otherwise only get access to them in museum showcases.