iCons: February Coffee Hour Recap

Justin Fermann blacksmithing demo

iCons students and faculty got a small taste of blacksmithing and a generous helping of donuts at last month's iCons Coffee Hour, where iCons 1 Professor Justin Fermann shared his striking old-school hobby. Using a small gas forge he set up in ISB 135 that reaches about 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, Justin fashioned a two-pronged toasting fork and an S-hook while explaining a bit about the tools, techniques and history of the craft.

In the meantime, students grazed on a selection of decadent donut varieties from Glazed in Amherst - including Maple Bacon, Chai, and yes, Glazed.

The impressive turnout of approximately 40 students and faculty was no surprise to iCons 1 student Cameron Smith-Freedman, “How could anyone miss a live blacksmithing demo from professor Justin Thomas Fermann PhD himself?”

Photo of Justin eating donut iCons 3 student Erica Light echoed the sentiment. Despite being a little under the weather, she said she came to the Coffee Hour because, “I heard Fermann was bringing the heat.”

Sure, the free donuts didn’t hurt either. Over the course of an hour, attendees consumed nearly 96 donuts. One donut was even eaten by Justin off of the newly minted toasting fork. For the record, it was vanilla frosted. The fork was then awarded to iCons 4 student Marco Eres for correctly guessing the number of donuts ordered for the event.

Though the collective sugar high likely lasted into the wee hours of the morning, the unique demonstration undoubtedly made a lasting impression on students and faculty alike.

“The most interesting thing I learned from the coffee hour was not about science, but Justin's classification of traditional art versus the art of blacksmithing,” said Cameron. “Artists work to tolerance, blacksmiths tolerate work.”