Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun Times at Stratford Hall's Wine and Oyster Festival

We had a lot of fun this past weekend, demo’ing at Stratford Hall’s Wine and Oyster Festival.  You know it’s going to be a great time when you make new friends within a few minutes of arriving…and the weekend did not disappoint.  We met some lovely people (and even ran into old friends, too!) and had a good time teaching about blacksmithing.

Jeff had two students with him, and they all had a great time working on various pieces for the several thousand visitors who came to enjoy the wine and oysters in Stratford’s beautiful setting.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Don't Miss Us at Stratford Hall's Wine and Oyster Festival This Weekend

We’ve been invited to demonstrate blacksmithing and display our artwork at Stratford Hall’s Wine and Oyster Festival this coming weekend, September 21 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and 22nd (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  Stratford Hall, the home of the Lees, is a marvelous place — beautiful house, amazing grounds, great restaurant….and wine and oysters this weekend.  We are looking forward to it and hope to see you there! 

As mentioned above, Jeff will be demonstrating, using his propane forge rather than using coal and we do not plan to be in colonial-attire.  As usual, though, we will have plenty of time to chat and answer your questions!  In addition, since this is not a living history demonstration, we will also feature Caitlin’s photography.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Hands-On Aspect of our Demos

One of the most popular aspects of our demos (aside from the fire and Jeff forging!) is a child-sized anvil that we put outside the ropes for folks to use.  We equip it with aluminum (which will bend and shape without needed to be heated), lightweight hammers,and tongs.    

We got the idea because our youngest son works on metal this way while Jeff is in the forge and it suddenly dawned on us that others would also appreciate it.    

Having the small anvil outside the ropes has added a whole dimension to our teaching capability.  While people love to watch blacksmithing, the entire experience becomes much more real when they actually hold metal with tongs and hammer on it.  

And, it’s not just kids who appreciate the tactile experience!

Sometimes, people hammer away for a bit and then return later on to work on a piece again….or they bring someone else over to let them experience the process.  

In fact, with seven weekends of demos coming up, we need to get a decent supply of aluminum!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Scenes from the Scottish Games

We had a great (albeit very, very hot!) time at the Virginia Scottish Games this past weekend.  

As always, this is a very fun festival.  What’s not to love about Scottish food (hurrah for colannon!), Scottish dogs (hurrah for the cairn terriers!), bagpipes, athletic games….and blacksmithing!  

One of the fun things about this past weekend was that we were able to bring our dog with us since the festival is super pet-friendly.  Last year, our kids spent a good portion of their time at the cairn terrier rescue tent….and this year, we have our own dog.  Funny how that works! Xander absolutely loved the terrier races….he is FAST!

It was so nice to see lots of friends and visit with new folks.  One of the best parts of demonstrating is getting a chance to talk to people who are interested in history (we were asked to demo in Colonial attire and speak to that period of time), or blacksmithing….or, folks who want to chat about their desire to do something artistic themselves. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can answer any questions — we’d love to help if we are able. 

We loved our time at the Games and are already looking forward to next year….but Jeff wouldn’t mind at all if it is a bit cooler!