Dale Morse

Dale on Anvil

Dale Morse is the co-founder of the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing and proprietor of  Clay Hill Forge an artisan blacksmithing company specializing in architectural and ornamental ironwork.

For ten summers starting in 1976, Dale’s family participated in the Booker T. Washington National Monument’s Living History Program. The program depicted everyday life in a rural 1860’s tobacco plantation.  While his sister participated in churning butter, Dale was drawn to blacksmithing.  So at the young age of 9, Dale began his journey into the art of blacksmithing.

Booker T. Washington’s philosophy is instilled in all that Dale teaches to his students to this day; ‘Working with the hands and the mind’.  Skills and academia.

While attending Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, he established a blacksmithing shop where he also obtained a bachelor’s in Business Administration.   He also attended   Penland and John C. Campbell craft school.   Traveling to Europe, he studied under Manfred Bredohl of Vulkanschmiede in Aachen, Germany and under Gabriele Curtolo in San Servolo, Venice, Italy.ornamental iron work

“There is really something cathartic about taking such a unyielding material and bending it to your will, literally. It also feeds my creative needs…”  – Dale Morse 

From lighting fixtures to railings to gates, Dale’s ironwork can be found in homes and businesses in the US and abroad.

Dale is the Guild Mentor at the Shenandoah Valley Blacksmithing Guild and a regular instructor at  the John C Campbell School in Brasstown, NC and Warren Wilson College.  He is also a member of the Central Virginia Blacksmithing Guild. 

Dale was one of 19 recipients of the Artisans Center of Virginia Juried Master Artisan Award.  The award reception took place at the Double Tree Hotel in Charlottesville, VA March 17th, 2015


Dale is…”Excellent, friendly, not intimidating – allowed students to get a feel for materials with a great deal of independence – but always available for questions or extra demo.”  KH

Our blacksmithing instructor was…”Excellent, very detail oriented, patient and knowledgeable, good humor too.”  GM

Dale is…”Outstanding – his enthusiasm for blacksmithing is clearly evident.”  RP

“Great! Very clear directions and encouraging.”