A family forged
Nestled in the winding streets of the charming, rural enclave of Latour-de-France, very close to the Spanish border, I found Denis Rabasa, a third generation blacksmith, still working from the same workshop his grandfather had established years before him.
During a recent road-trip to France, covering thousands of kilometres, I stopped in on some friends who live in a very remote little commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales, close to the border of the Catalonian regions of northern Spain.
The village has been the site of numerous battles through the years, and with a strong tradition for handicrafts and manufacture, it's perhaps these reasons that the Rabasa family has been able to continue their trade in forging wrought iron.
I spent a couple of hours with Denis, pronounced Den-eee, obviously, chatting about the history of the trade in the region, as well as the long-standing practice within his family.
I was also able to meet his father, who showed my a beautiful photograph of himself, working in the mid-70s as a farrier, shoeing local customer's horses.
It was so lovely to know that the traditional tools and techniques had not only been prevalent in the village for so many years, but had also been, literally, handed down through the generations of one very hard working family. A truly humbling experience.