Norwich resident to be featured on History Channel show

Norwich — Sandra Jeknavorian, professor of art at Three Rivers Community College, is a fan of the History Channel show "Forged in Fire," and she told her husband that her former student and now adjunct professor Brian Dimmock would be a good fit.

On Tuesday at 9 p.m., the latest episode of the show will feature Dimmock's metalworking skills.

"I'm really happy for him that he's on this show," Jeknavorian said. "He does wonderful artwork."

"Forged in Fire" is a competition show similar to the Food Network's "Chopped" or "Spring Baking Championship," which recently featured Mystic baker Adam Young. However, instead of rounds of food evaluated for taste or presentation, master bladesmiths craft weapons that are tested by experts for their strength and sharpness.

Dimmock, who was born in Norwich and graduated from NFA, said that he doesn't consider himself a blacksmith but rather an artist and art educator who happens to work primarily with metal. He studied art at Three Rivers, the Rhode Island School of Design and Maine College of Art, and he now teaches art at Three Rivers and manufacturing at Manchester Community College.

"In both capacities, he's really outstanding," Jeknavorian said. "He was one of my most talented students when he was a student here."

Dimmock said he likes working with metal because it's more challenging and intuitive than other media, and you can't force it to take just any shape.

In addition to teaching, he has been making armor and weapons for reenactment groups, such as the Society for Creative Anachronisms and the Armored Combat League, since about 2000. He also creates knives, bottle openers and other pieces for his Etsy shop, Knotted Devil Manufactory, as well as metal art pieces out of his garage in Norwich.

He first found out about the show last year from friends in Wolcott who had been on it and suggested that he submit some of his materials. He said there was a bit of a delay as producers determined whether he would be on season 3 or 4, but he made the trip to New York City during the blizzard in February to shoot his episode. Overall, he said, the experience was "absolutely amazing."

"It kind of is what you see," he said. "Once it's competition time, it's on."

Dimmock said he was a little nervous about being on national TV and acknowledged that, as an artist rather than a blacksmith, his background is different from his competitors'. But he cited his experience with art critiques and the defense of his master's thesis for making him able to handle stress well.

"There was definitely a difference in perspective for me," he said. "I'm coming in and I'm just looking at the whole experience as this amazing thing that's happening."

The next episode of "Forged in Fire" airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the History Channel.

a.hutchinson@theday.com

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