Blacksmithing is a lost art in much of the world but thanks to a UBATC instructor, that’s not the case in the Uintah Basin. Gerald Cooper first began blacksmithing 15 years ago and at that time was one of three blacksmiths in the Uintah Basin. He soon discovered that Blacksmithing and Ornamental Iron were elective courses in the UBATC Welding Certificate Program and he was asked to teach the course locally. Cooper already worked for UBATC as a maintenance specialist and his shift to teaching was expedited by training under world-renowned blacksmith Mark Aspery. In the years since, Cooper has become an expert in his own right and taught hundreds of students in the Uintah Basin. Last summer he competed in the Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America Blacksmith competition that drew professionals from around the world and he claimed second place behind his mentor Mark Aspery. “Blacksmiths make all of their own tools - that is what sets them apart as being the most important traditional skilled trade,” shares Cooper. “The saying ‘by hammer and hand all arts do stand’ was because without the blacksmith no trade could stand. Blacksmiths made the tools for everyone.” In addition to teaching at UBATC, Cooper enjoys participating in demonstrations throughout the region at events like the Days of 47 celebrations and Scandinavian Days.