Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Our kids were super excited to go Trick-or-Treating tonight.  Jeff wasn’t sure about getting dressed up.  I thought that was hilarious, given how often we get dressed up in costume for various blacksmithing demos.  We’ve been dressed in costume twice this week already!  Why not add on one more night, especially for the kids?!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Gathering of Friends at Claude Moore's Colonial Market Fair

We had a wonderful time at Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s October Market Fair.  It was truly a gathering of friends on both sides of the safety ropes, as we had friends forging with us and as we also got to catch up with lots of regular visitors.  We’ve been doing these Market Fairs for the past 4 years and it’s always nice to see everyone. 

We focused on forging rookers and votive candleholders both days of the fair.  And, what’s a Market Fair without turkeys or geese roaming the grounds, not to mention the famous call of “Bread, Bread for Sale”…?

Please mark your calendars now for the May Market Fair at Claude Moore on May 18th and 19th— we’d love to see you!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wonderful Comments about Jeff's Candlesticks -- Thank you!

Recently, we received the nicest note from Kerry, who we met at the Scottish Games over Labor Day Weekend.  She had the following comments about two candlesticks made by Jeff that she purchased: ”It was a pleasure meeting you at the 2013 Virginia Scottish Games.  I just wanted to thank you for my beautiful candlesticks - they are perfect!  Attached, please find a couple of photographs of them…I am quite pleased with how nicely they fit in - I love your work/art.”

Thank you so much, Kerry!  We totally agree — the candlesticks look amazing in your house!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

How We Spent Our Shut-Down Weekend

We were supposed to demo this past weekend but the government shutdown closed the location of our demo.  Suddenly, we had a free weekend, something we hadn’t had since the start of September.  There was plenty we wanted to do!  We are a family of list-makers, so out came the white-board and we started to write down our thoughts.  Some people ask us how we get as much done — this is one of our secrets. We might not get all the things done, nor do we try to…but by having a list, we accomplish a lot! :-)  

I was determined to make cold-process soap for the first time; we tried a lavender mint soap: 

Our kids really wanted to get pumpkins:  

We wanted to spend a lot of time outdoors, despite the rain at the beginning of the weekend and then especially when the sun came out.  These photos are from Mason Neck State Park and Huntley Meadows.

But, who would have expected that we’d save a baby squirrel that fell out of its nest and needed some help?  By the way, the last report from the wildlife rehabilitator says that the baby squirrel is mending well.  

And, we rested a fair amount….all of us…. 

We are looking forward to getting back to work this weekend at Claude Moore’s Market Fair in McLean.  Please come out.  We’d love to see you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Caitlin's Photos are Available on Our Site

Thanks to some encouragement from our friends (Thanks, Jan and Scott!), we have updated our Blackforest ArtWorks site to include a store (click on “Store” on the left-hand side of our home page).  

At the moment, we are offering 4x6 notecards of my photography.  The cards have a full color photograph on the front and are blank on the inside.  We’ve packaged them as 6 cards (all the same photograph) with 7 envelopes (because I always mess up the address!).  If you don’t see a photo you’ve been admiring, please let us know.  I personally am interested in using the photo below as a note card!  Jeff is requesting blacksmithing cards in the future, too, so everyone is welcome to make suggestions….. 

In addition, most of my photographs are available as prints.  The store doesn’t offer that option, as of yet, but I’d be glad to accommodate your requests.  Speaking of that, if you know that you’ll be seeing us at a demo, we’d be glad to deliver the cards/prints in person, so please feel free to email us and we’ll arrange it. 

You might notice that the store does not include Jeff’s ironwork, as we have been so busy with demos that our inventory is rather low and we don’t want to list items that aren’t readily available.  However, if you have items in mind that you would like him to make for you, please let us know.  He’d be glad to help out.  In addition, we’ll post ironwork in the future.  

Thank you!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blacksmithing, Archaeology....and Much More at the Nanticoke River Jamboree

One of the greatest gifts we experience from demos is the chance to meet some amazing people.  It is a real treat to return to a venue a year later and catch up with folks…both visitors and organizers.  And, we love to make new friends, too!  We work very, very hard at these demos, teaching and inspiring about blacksmithing and history, but we also receive a tremendous amount in return.  

The demo at the Nanticoke River Jamboree is one that makes us smile because the people who we interact with there are so special.  They are passionate about the history of the area, as the Jamboree is an annual event held at Handsell (a truly amazing bit of land) to celebrate the natural and historic resources of the Nanticoke River area.  

I said it last year and the same was true this year — this is one of the most educational events I’ve ever seen.  We are there to note the colonial history of the Handsell property but the site’s history is much broader and the other demos reflect the other aspects of the site.  This year’s Jamboree featured the life of Harriet Tubman, as the area has strong ties to the Underground Railroad, but also included presentations and hands-on activities about the archaeology of the Handsell site and the Native Americans from the area.  

As we forged in the heat (yes, it was very, very hot again at this event, even though they moved it from June!), one of my sons was thrilled to help the archaeologists with their work and even find a Native American celt!  My other son participated in a play about the Underground Railroad and had a great time, too.  It was another great year at a small, but very special event.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Prince William Forest Demo Cancelled Due to Government Shutdown

We are very sorry to have to announce that this Saturday’s blacksmithing demo at Prince William Forest Park has been cancelled due to the government shutdown.  The park is closed.  We hope that the demo will be rescheduled, and we’ll update the schedule once we have a date. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You Know You're a Blacksmith When....

Your money has singe marks on it!  

Many thanks to our friend E.J. for noticing this fact and finding it so hilarious that she documented it with a photo! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

"The Friendly Forge" at Jefferson Patterson Park's 1812 Festival

Last Saturday, we enjoyed being part of an 1812 Festival and Military Reenactment at the beautiful Jefferson Patterson Park in Maryland.   As usual, we were demonstrating the art of blacksmithing and had a great time doing so. We knew we were doing something right when a visitor called us the “Friendly Forge”!  

We had one of Jeff’s blacksmithing students working with us and they had lots of fun together — plus, they made some beautiful pieces in between their jokes!  

This demo was interesting because we usually demo in either modern or colonial clothing, although the interpretation for blacksmithing is not terribly different for any of these time periods, including the 1812 period.  

The clothing (particularly the women’s clothing) is quite different, though!  When my boys saw me in a dress appropriate to the 1812 time period, they were rather scandalized because it showed so much more skin around the neckline than my colonial outfits….never mind that they are used to me in modern clothes!  

 All in all, lots of fun on a gorgeous Saturday….