Blacksmiths To Forge Links With Community

October 02, 1991|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing writer

WESTMINSTER — Many people have a misconception that all blacksmiths make horseshoes.

"The truth of the matter is that most blacksmiths wouldn't evenget near a horse, since they bite and kick," said Albin Drzewianowski, vice president of the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland.

The guild, in cooperation with the Carroll County Farm Museum, will sponsor Blacksmith's Day from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the museum.

The event will be open to the public for the first time.

"I thought it would be a good idea to invite the public so they could see what blacksmithing is all about," said Mike Kaiser, president of the guild. "Our last two events (1988 and 1989), were just for people involved with blacksmithing.

"I brought it up to members of the guild, and we agreed that it would be a good opportunity for people to see what we do and maybe get more people involved in blacksmithing."

Kaiser, a full-time blacksmith, said Blacksmith's Day was initiatedso full-time blacksmiths and hobbyists could share information and demonstrate techniques.

The guild contacted 380 blacksmiths from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, offering an opportunity to set up portable forges and pound out useful objects, such as door latches, hinges, hooks and knives.

"Our conservative estimateis that 50 will attend," said Drzewianowski. "It really depends on the weather, since it will take place outside.

While some blacksmiths forge utilitarian steel items like hinges and latches, others craft works of art.

Some, like Kaiser, do both.

"I like to put creativity into my work," Kaiser said. "I use designs in my functional pieces.

"For instance, I just finished some reproduction hinges, andthe ends have been drawn out to look like a flowering tulip. It's functional, but it also draws the attention of the eye."

Blacksmithswill demonstrate their art from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Visitors who want to try their hands at smithing can

take up hammer and tong.

"By simply signing a waiver, we will be able to have an individual heat a piece of steel and be taught by a blacksmith how to twist and bend it," Kaiser said.

At 3 p.m., three smithing teams will each produce one like item within a time limit.

Finished articles will bejudged by guild officers on creativity and usefulness.

Prizes made by professional blacksmiths will be awarded to the winners.

A blacksmith auction will begin at 4 p.m., with antique tools and hand-forged pieces to be sold.

"The proceeds from the auction will be used to buy technical manuals on blacksmithing for a library at the FarmMuseum," Kaiser said.

The Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland was established in 1986 by blacksmiths who volunteer their time most weekends in the Marshall Crumbacker Blacksmith Shop at the Farm Museum.

"The guild is made up of 27 members, ranging from weekend, backyard blacksmiths to the full-time smith," said Kaiser.

The museum farmhouse and exhibits will be open for touring during the event. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for ages 6 to 18 and over 60. Under 6 is free.

Information: 831-0350, 848-7775 or 876-2667.

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