never been up close to a swordsmith. but, as a kid, i occasionally hung out at a traditional blacksmith's workshop & watched Kukris & knives being made (discarded truck leaf spring blades were the best raw material); made a couple myself.
the old man had grown so inured to heat, he would pick up hot iron bars in his bare hands. (tried it once when he was not around and had my hand in bandages & blisters for weeks.) though the smith was a very small man, years of practice in raising hammers & beating metal on the anvil, had given him arm muscles of steel and the instincts of a sculptor.
you are absolutely right; any part of making a blade, is art. working the bellows to heat up the coals in the furnace, tempering the steel, putting an edge on a blade, whether on a grindstone, or on an old fashioned oiled whetstone - it is as much art as wielding the Katana. and at its highest point, it is Zen.