GAC logo icon

Guilford Art Center Instructors Win “Forged in Fire” Competition on the History Channel

MaceMattGuilford Art Center is very proud to announce that two of its Blacksmithing instructors – Mace Vitale and Matt Parkinson – were winners on a new series on the History Channel, Forged in Fire. GAC instructor and forge manager Vitale won the series finale episode on August 10; Parkinson, a frequent visiting instructor, won the first episode. Each “win” brought with it a $10,000 prize.

The popular television show provided a great opportunity to showcase the art of bladesmithing. As described by Esquire magazine, “Mixing the DNA of food competition shows and historical weaponry, Forged in Fire was born and the finest blacksmiths in the land were gathered.” These world-class bladesmiths competed against one another to create some of the most iconic edged weapons from history.

Mace Vitale has been teaching at Guilford Art Center, and leading its forge, since 2008. He offers a wide range of classes and workshops for all levels and abilities, including “Introduction to Blacksmithing” and workshops on hand-forged blades, paring knives, and bowie knives, as well as an “Open Forge” series for continuing students. He also runs a popular class in teen blacksmithing. Vitale has a background in architectural pre-cast concrete and is a Journeyman smith with the American Bladesmith Society.

Parkinson is a self-taught blacksmith and sword maker. He graduated from the manufacturing technologies program at Vinal R.V.T.S. where he learned forming, machining, fabricating metal, heat treating and metallurgy. His studio, Falling Hammer Productions, produces custom knives and swords, high-end railings, furniture, and hardware. At Guilford Art Center he teaches such workshops as “Fireplace Tools” and “Kitchen Knives.”

“All of us at Guilford Art Center are thrilled for Mace and Matt,” says Executive Director Maureen Belden. “They are consummate artisans and wonderful teachers, both dedicated to the perpetuation of their historic craft. We are so fortunate our students can work with them here at the Center and think it’s so cool that the History Channel put the spotlight on this form of artistry.”

All of the Guilford Art Center blacksmithing classes can be found online at For more information, contact the Guilford Art Center at 203.453.5947, email