Monday, November 24, 2014

Jeff Welds a Coal Forge

It's the "off season" for us, so both Jeff and I are taking advantage of the time to learn some new things and work on some projects that simply can't get done when we are teaching and demonstrating most every weekend.  Of course, Jeff is teaching a lot during this season, too (next weekend is a custom class that will make shepherd's crooks...and a few weekends ago was a custom class that made bottle openers).  And, we are already putting together our demo schedule for next year.  But, this past weekend, Jeff went to his own class and welded a coal forge.  He had a great time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday in Focus: A Meadow in November's light

Location: River Farm, American Horticultural Society
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon DX 35mm 1:1.8G

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Soap, Notecards and Ironwork on Display at AHS

The gift shop at River Farm, the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society, has a lovely display of our soap (including Orange/Tea tree, Peppermint, Lavender/Lemongrass, and Cinnamon/Clove and Citrus),  photography notecards, as well as a few pieces of ironwork, including the last remaining trivet!  While you can always order directly from us, I encourage you to stop by their gift shop if you are in the neighborhood.  They have some amazing products -- perfect for holiday gifts!

Many thanks to Jane at AHS for taking this photo!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Still in the Family! (My Son Under a Blanket at a Demo)

This is a photo of one of my sons at a blacksmithing demo this summer. He wasn't under the table (like I was when I was his age at an event), but close!

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's All in the Family (Caitlin under a display table)

My father took this photo of me in July 1973 at an art show in Michigan, where my great-grandmother was displaying some of her weaving.  Grandma Blanche was a tremendous fiber artist, usually working on room-sized pieces.  I have no recollection of this show but find it rather funny that we now display our art at numerous shows....and my kids hang out under the display table!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon Closes for the Winter

After a day of cooking over the open hearth (chicken and leek soup, ale bread, and bread pudding with apples), we said goodbye to our final group of children at Colonial Days, and started to close up Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon for the winter.  We won't staff it again until Colonial Days in March and fully for visitors in April.  I will miss being at Pioneer Farm!  It's a beautiful place on its own, and even more so, when you consider the history behind it.  Here are a few photos from earlier this fall:

I am truly blessed to be able to work with the wonderful staff of Historic Trades at Mount Vernon!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday in Focus: Sun-kissed Goldenrod

As we receive the first snow flurries of late fall/early winter, I find comfort in this photo from River Farm (the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society).  Full of warmth and sun, snow seems a long ways away.....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Reality of Living History Interpretation in the Winter Months!

 I work at Mount Vernon tomorrow and I am ever so grateful for hand and toe warmers!  It's not easy to do living history interpretation in full costume during the winter months!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

On a Rare Day Without a Blacksmithing Event....

On a rare day without a blacksmithing event, we still chose to leave the house by to take Xander to see his sister Jennie (and her owner and our friend Helen!) at an Earthdog test.   Xander has spent many hours at blacksmithing demos, so this day was for him!

And, if you want to see the siblings showing their affection....:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Metallurgy Day at St. Albans School (With Costumes for Halloween!)

We had a fantastic demo at St. Albans School on Halloween.  We've been working with the Upper School to link their history curriculum with blacksmithing and other related topics.   This is the 3rd year we've presented at the school and it just gets better and better.  We present at many places, but this is the ONLY demo where we hear student-written "Odes to Metallurgy" and discuss Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations in great detail, as well as the iron-related deforestation of Europe and the East Coast of the United States.  In addition, this is our only demo in which the students (and some teachers!) are allowed to actually forge with Jeff.  



 This year, our presentation fell on Halloween and the students had "free dress" so we enjoyed their costumes -- it has to be the first time Jeff has taught to gorillas, bananas, clowns, and Hamlet!

 In addition, the school arranged for apple-cider pressing, a peat fire, and folk music:

As the school website said so well, "Students were able to have a full sensory experience with the smell of burning coal, the taste of fresh-pressed cider, the sounds of folk music and the hammer on the anvil, and the feel of what it took to make even the simplest nail. The boys enjoyed the opportunity shape various metal tools fresh off the hot coals."  We are looking forward to returning next year!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Caitlin's Smelting Photos in the October issue of The VOICE

Please check out the October issue of The VOICE, the newsletter of the Blacksmith Organization of Arkansas (BOA).  They used some of my photos of Lee Sauder (and friends) smelting at the ABANA conference in August.  I am honored to be a part of this publication -- it's very well done and highly informative.  And, if you want to search around the back issues, I believe you'd find one of my photos in their September issue, as well.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Lest you think we might not have celebrated, here's a photo from an all-day teaching demo at St. Albans School.  I will post more about this demo later. We had a fantastic time.

 It was our third year of working closely with the school to tie blacksmithing into their curriculum, and it just gets better and better.  This year, we added some silliness, as the high school boys were given a "free dress" day and many had dressed up for Halloween.   Some teachers dressed up as well.  In this photo, Jeff was teaching John Campbell (one of our friends who is also a teacher at the school) how to make a nail.   I have to say, we've never had a demo before with Hamlet!