John C. Campbell Folk School

Just returned from a fun week at John Campbell Folk School  ( in Brasstown, NC.  With an injured shoulder I opted out of blacksmithing and took a drawing course from Annie Cicalli, a wonderful teacher from North Carolina.  Drawing is important to working in metal art iron and hope it improves my perspective and products.

Long Hot Summer

It has been a long, hot sumer in Oriental and not much work done in the shop due to the heat.  It has turned cooler now that the dog star Cirrus has set.  Cirrus rises and sets for almost 3 weeks in the summer along the same path as the sun.  Ancients said the heat from Cirrus added to the sun’s heat and hence the name Dog Days of summer.  So, with cooler days will come more heating of the metal.

Art on the Neuse Show

The Art on the Neuse show was fun if not stinko hot and humid.  Evie Chang Henderson and all the Pamlico Arts Council folks that ran it deserve a great round of applause.  There were many mediums displayed from iron horses made from scrap to carved walking sticks.  I’d say the crowds were fair because of the heat.  The Oriental Marina is a good place for the event as it is centrally located.  It could use a few of those large fans seen on the NFL football game sidelines cooling the players.  At least the Tiki Bar was open!!

Warm Weather Here

Summer temps have arrived.  It makes working at the forge a little tough.  The Art on the Neuse show is June 18 so I have to get some inventory.  Not too optimistic it will be a big sales event but am sure to meet some nice folks.


The market is slow but the folks, both selling and buying, are nice.  Bob the “egg man” always sells out by 0930.  His fresh eggs, washed and unwashed, are always in demand.  Sandie makes great bagels and even brings cream cheese.  Kip has fresh biscotti for your coffee purchased from the Bean nearby.  Spring in Oriental is busy.

Market Sale

Today was the first day trying to sell objects pictured on the Sale Items page at the Saturday Oriental Market.  With the help of my good friends I managed to move a few animals, hooks and herons.  Thank you all.

Heat shield in place

The heat shield is in place and does a great job deflecting the forge heat from the ceiling.  I am preparing to show and sell some “yard art” at the Oriental market Saturday, Mar 12.  Should be fun–who knows what to charge for a turtle or great blue heron.  HMS Princess back in the water.

Hot Ceiling–Maybe Too Hot

Noticed a few nail pops in the ceiling above my propane forge.  Woodworker from down the creek said I should put in a heat shield or vent before I burn through the ceiling.  Probably a good idea and have ceased work until I can fabricate a 40” x 48” metal sheet and hang it about 2 feet below the 9 foot ceiling. That should take the heat and deflect it harmlessly into the shop and not onto the ceiling.  With a fan I hope to disperse the hot air from the forge in the summer.  In the winter it feels good.  All for now.  Be safe.

Last Blacksmith in Hanoi, Vietnam

Over Thanksgiving I read an article in the November 25, 2010, NY Times about the last commercial blacksmith in Hanoi.  Mr. Nguyen Phuong Hung has a shop on Blacksmith Street, aptly named for all the once thriving tradesmen who practiced their craft there.  Today, at the end of the street, his shop is the last one.  Clothing shops and jewelers make up the rest of the street.  He is 46 years old now and has no one to pass along his trade.  He son and daughter are both university trained and have no intention of entering such dirty work.  In fact, Mr. Hung says, it was tough getting married when his wife found out what he did for a living.

Blacksmiths, working around coal and fire, are looked down upon as marriageable suitors.

I hope to visit Hanoi in 2012 and have sent a letter to Mr. Nguyen letting him know there are supporters of his trade in North Carolina.  I hope to write an article for our quarterly blacksmith’s  magazine about Mr. Nguyen in The Hot Iron Sparkle, the official publication of the NCABANA.

Musée d’Orsay-Paris

Built between 1898 and 1900 as the Gare d’Orsay or Orsay Railroad Station this Beaux-Arts building exemplifies the mixture of beautiful metal architecture and stone at the end of the 19th century.  Many buildings in the US were copied from its style.