Childhood in a blacksmith’s shop

Sarpaneva warmly recalled his childhood summers at Säviäntaipale in Pielavesi at his mother Marta’s home. His mother’s father was a local man of note, the respected village blacksmith Abel Hujanen. He made the farming implements and forged locks, hinges and keys. At a very tender age, young Sarpaneva was able to help his grandfather out at his smithy. His job was to work the bellows. Not even the sparks ricocheting off the bare knees of this smith’s apprentice would distract him from his grandfather’s focused work as the man conjured forth all manner of shapes from the glowing iron in the gloom of the smithy. Sarpaneva later said that he felt at home in the hot incandescence of the fire. His favourite workplaces – foundries and glassworks – seem like a natural continuum of the time he spent in his grandfather’s smithy.