The odds of hanging on depend on your level of craftsmanship, ability to market yourself and flexibility. So start doing your deep knee bends. It is important to work with clients, because they are the ones signing the checks. Blacksmiths, like some other types of artists, often find themselves making decorative objects that they would never consider making of their own volition, just so they can pay the bills. You may only want to build elaborate iron sculptures that have no practical purpose, but if forging tissue box cozies is going to put food on your table, you’ll have to do what you have to do.
The economy is another thing to consider. Tough times do not equate to numerous wrought iron fence orders. However, many areas of the country, such as Northern California and New York, are still building. People in these areas purchase historic homes, which need authentic looking decorative elements. Specializing in one field or time period may set you apart from the competition, but it may also limit your clientele.