Inspiration for Aspiring Woodworkers & Blacksmiths
Blacksmithing has been around for many centuries, dating back to the Iron Age, and is the practice of forging metal for practical or decorative purposes.
Along side carpentry, both artisan skills not only build furniture, but all sorts of artistic and functional works, including instruments.
Thus, an interest in carpentry can intersect with music studies and art. Building your own furniture can also be part of a wider homesteading lifestyle.
COMMUNITY EVENT & EXHIBIT
Families can learn about blacksmithing and carpentry at Hancock Shaker Village’s “Age of Iron and Wood,” August 6-7 in Pittsfield. For many years, blacksmiths from throughout the Northeast have gathered at Hancock Shaker Village for Age of Iron. This year they are joined by HSV woodworkers and special guests to showcase two crafts essential to the Shaker tradition trough demonstrations and talks.
This event occurs in conjunction with the exhibition, Living on Earth: The Work of Robert Hite, on view at the Hancock Shaker Village and the Berkshire Museum through October 20th. Hite is a painter, sculptor, and photographer, and much of his work includes elements of all three artistic mediums. During weekend you can meet Robert Hite and watch him create his whimsical architectural sculptures. Gain inspiration and practical knowledge for creating your own artistic or practical structures. Demonstrations are included with museum admission and no registration is required. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield MA. ($. Ages 13-17 <$. 12 and under and members FREE)
The Westhampton Historical Society’s museum has an entire room dedicated to the trade of blacksmithing! Set up to mimic a 19th-century blacksmith shop, the room offers visitors a chance to learn experientially about the skills specific to this once-essential trade. Additionally, the museum contains an exhibit on the Loudville Lead Mine, an operation that ran in the hilltowns for over three centuries. Open Sunday afternoon through August.
For younger family members, and those more interested in the artistic side of working with wood and natural materials, consider building a fairy house or two this summer (you can read all about the activity in our post, Building Fairy Houses Promotes Learning, Creative-Free Play & Citizen Science). Or, simply take a camera into the woods for nature photography. You might run into someone else’s fairy house or other artistic structure!
For adults and self-directed teens interested in a serious study of carpentry and woodworking, The Workbench in Easthampton offers night, weekend, and summer workshops and private lessons for all skill levels. And in the Berkshires, the Heartwood School in Washington, offers woodworking courses which focus on homebuilding.
[Photo credit: (cc) Steven Vacher]