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Ironwoman (Language level B1-C1)

Agosto 2016
Il suo laboratorio è una tenda indiana e i metalli sono la sua passione. Ferro, bronzo, acciaio non hanno segreti per Heather McLarty, l’artista californiana che crea capolavori con incudine e martello.

di Talitha Linehan

File audio:

Heather McLarty
Heather McLarty
Some examples of heather McLarty’s work at her “fairytale home” in highland Park.
Some examples of heather McLarty’s work at her “fairytale home” in highland Park.

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Say the word “blacksmith” and most people imagine a big, strong man from the Middle Ages.
Heather McLarty, an artist in Los Angeles, has reinvented this image. A renowned artist blacksmith, she uses the tools and techniques of blacksmithing to create magnificent works of art.


Before she became an artist blacksmith, Heather worked as a prop builder in the theatre for almost 20 years. She really liked working with steel and in 1991, she left her job to start her own business. Since then, she has built a solid reputation in the blacksmithing community and has travelled the world learning and teaching her craft.
Heather works out of a tepee at her historical, fairytale home in the neighbourhood of Highland Park. She mainly builds gates and other structures for private homes, but has also created beautiful sculptures for public parks and national exhibitions.




Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Heather McLarty talked about her work. We asked her whether people were surprised by the idea of a female blacksmith:

Heather McLarty (Standard American accent)

I think that actually has worked in my favour in a lot of ways. Definitely, clients, when they find out that I’m a woman and also that I work in a tepee, that my forge is in a tepee, those things sort of help sell the work and help sell my story. I think it’s definitely to my advantage, yeah.


We then asked her how she felt about the fact that she was creating work that would last a long time:

Heather McLarty

That’s pretty wild to think about that, especially after coming out of the theatre where, you know, pretty much I would make stuff, the play would be up for six weeks, then it would come down and go in the trash. So it’s really different to be putting work in that will probably outlast me. You know, I hope so.


That is more likely to happen with the work that she has done in bronze:

Heather McLarty

The steel actually decays relatively quickly for a metal, but I do work once in a while in bronze. And bronze is the one sort of man-made material that will last supposedly the longest of all the things that humans make. It’s the bronze work that will really last a long time.

ancient wisdom

And that explains why so much work survives from the Bronze Age:

Heather McLarty

When you talk about the Bronze Age, really the tools and techniques are not that much different now than they were then, you know, it makes all of us who are working in this field now as part of that human continuum, that we really do look back to the Bronze Age and it’s not that different.

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Blacksmith. Fabbro. È proprio da questa parola che deriva il cognome più diffuso nei paesi anglofoni, Smith. Poiché risale all’Old English e dunque a un ceppo germanico, la parola ha un suo corrispondente in tedesco, Schmidt, anch’esso un cognome comunissimo in Germania. Concettualmente, é paragonabile all’italiano Fabbri o Ferrari!

That’s pretty wild. É “da sballo”. Wild vuol dire selvaggio ma nell’epoca hippy ha preso anche il significato di “incredibile” ecc.

The trash. La pattumiera. Da notare che in American English si dice trash e in British English si dice rubbish. Entrambe le parole vengono usate anche in modo figurato, ovviamente con connotazioni negative.  

That will probably outlast me. Che probabilmente avrà una vita più lunga della mia. Se il verbo to last significa durare, to outlast vuol dire durare di più, sopravvivere a qualcuno.


...tocca ferro

touch wood!