Mittwoch, 12. September 2012

Charcoal Fest 2012 "Meilerfest Ennepetal 2012"- weird and funny people and catastrophes

 On Saturday and Sunday I was forging at the really great event "Meilerfest" in Ennepetal. I was there for the Bethaus smithy. It turned out Volker had no truck at hand, so we packed his car instead, humming the "Tetris" melody*ggg*. Turns out his car was a bit-erm- seasoned*ggg*. So it made some funny noises, and when I arrived, it refused to work. So I unpacked the car, humming the "Tetris" melody and laid plans to go home by bike, should the car fail completely. The location was at a beautiful forest site, and I was placed directly beside the charcoal kiln. The sun was shining, and I lit the forge. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, for there was a bunch of great people around, and the atmosphere was great.
(picture by Benjamin Grigo)
 Then the first kids arrived, and I had a lot to do. The kids were righteously proud of their achievements. we forged little projects, such as mini horseshoes (for dwarfpirateponies;-)), hearts, pendants, snakes, Thor´s hammers, crosses, letters, wardrobe hangers, meat hooks and the like. It was fun, but the sun was beating hard, and I had no time for eating anything until dusk! I drank like 6 l of water that day, it was that hot, and had not to go for one leak!

(picture by Benjamin Grigo)
It was good fun to work with those kids. They were creative enough, and did a great job, and many of them did not forge for the first time. It is good to see a traditional craft not dying out, for sure, and it gives me the feeling to achieve something useful. This, in turn, is good fun.
(picture by Benjamin Grigo)
 A view of the charcoal kiln from the forge. The kiln was built in a circular manner, with a half - step and partly submerged into the soil. The coalers were around and will be for a week.
 Near the kiln they built a coaler´s hut out of spruce twigs, but noone actaully slept there... turned out it was just a fake for the crowd;-).
 The kiln.
Even if I was in a survival situation, I would not sleep in this hut for fear of the main beams falling down;-)...
 Rainer, the carpenter was there, too, and I was quite enthused to meet him, for he is a nice guy to boot!
 He had a lot of great carvings at his booth on display, all carved by chainsaw.
 I was especially fond of the craftsmanship that shows in the carving of this dog!
 The artist. He made a kingfisher out of oakwood on Saturday.
 Beside the kiln there was a camfire, and kids and adults alike went there to make stickbread.
 There also was this booth of Marion, offering quality pottery. She makes those all by hand in the region.
 Oh, and this is Olaf, a knifemaker... Olaf is a pagan and screams that on top of his lungs. He is what I´d call an amulet heathen.... I would walk doubly bent over had I to wear that load of amulets! We had a chat, and, apart from his naughty appearance, he was a gentle guy. A weirdo, for certain,. but it´s often the weirdos being valuable people to meet! I am always aware of the fact that the deity scrutinizes us through the encounters we make. To me, it is a gift, meeting unusual people. Life would be boring if not for those encounters. Olaf had some really great and beautiful knives on display.
 Blunt training daggers,
 Mini axes and hatchets and tiny neckknives
 As well as those beautiful mountainman - style users.
 I was particularily fond of this hatchet. A bit too much runes for my liking, and too many inscriptions... Bindrunes would have done finely, too, but a great axe it was no less!
 And I could have bought all of those. Olaf does not forge to date, but our chat is likely to have changed that!
 I really like this damascus hunting knife!

 A backup knife he made from a big - term corporation knife, modifying the grind and adding some filework.
 He also makes leather pouches, sheaths, and bags, and all in a great quality.

 A detail of a lanyard mojo. Silver.
 An antelope drinking horn-sweet!
 I then went to the next booth. There was an altogether different guy, a very modest man making works of art with a simple whittling knife. He carved roosters out of hazel wood as a Christian symbol. He is a practising Christian, and Olaf and he had a nice chat from time to time and got along fine. It works, see?;-) I know, I am starting to get on your nerves, but look around you. Everywhere the goofbrains whack each other with nuclear weapons because some party or the other made fun of their respective opponent´s God. I do not care if you try to make fun of the Goddess, and she loves a healthy laugh, too. And if you make fun of the law of the universe, it´s your own fault and not my business if you burn yourself to ashes, even if I get burned in the process. I tried that, it tickles.*ggg* So I have a different perspective upon that, and I really enjoy the beauty of an utter heathen and a dedicated Christian getting along with each other nicely. Rant over and out.;-)
 And Mr. Rosenberger really had works of art on display, see?;-)
 ...okay, ambitious, and not my liking, but the crowd loved those.
 ...and those.
 Mrs. Rosenberger was weaving baskets and other beautiful items. She worked all day long, too, and still was smiling. In fact, there were so many people smiling, even when at hard work, I could not help but smile myself.
 The works of art of Mrs. Rosenberger.

 This, in turn, was Siggi´s smithy. He had built a smelting furnace and explained to the crowd how iron ore was made in the times of Yore;-).
 And that I met this woman and her man was a right privilege, and quite certainly it was no coincidence. Alexandra is a herbalist tutoring her students about herbs and their fascinating life, of natural spirituality, of incense and healing with crystals, of runes and that simple thing called inspiration that is yet so complex most people confuse it with force and might and magic, and she follows a very similar path to mine. We had a lot of intensive talk, or so it seemed, but in retrospective it were just some 15 min of talk all in all. It felt like hours, in the positive sense of the word. More was said than just words, and I hope to get to know both her and her man better.
 Then I was off to Olaf´s booth. He cellars mead and keeps bees, and he had a lot of related products at hand. he just loves what he does and does it his way, and his love shows when he talks about the products he has on display. I work in the marketing, and I can tell a lie from real passion for a product. His is the latter. He keeps bees, and it´s great that more and more people dicover how important those little creatures are even for the survival of mankind. No bees, no life, it´s that simple. Olaf certainly does not talk much about that, but his bees he keeps with love, and his passion keeps the fire burning. Hats off, mate!
 This is a wood spirit Rainer carved. Oak wood, burned and oiled.
 It took a while until I realized there was a green man at the entrance of the coaler´s hut...
 ..but there he was. Rainer made him. That place was full of details like this.
 A vulture. In Germany we have a saying that goes "Weiß der Geier" (That may know the vulture, literally) indicating that someone has no clue about something. The baker at whose booth the vulture sculpture;-) stood, had a paper bag of miscelaneous bread and cake for sale, the "Weiß-der-Geier"-bag... funny;-).
 They gave away one bread wrapped in a quality towel to every one at work for the fest! Thanks a lot, the bread was delicious!
 I also had a lot of fun with the coalers.
 And that´s the best reward for my work. A smiling, happy kid that discovers smithing.
 This was the smelting furnace Siggi built. Now Siggi certainly is another strange guy with sometimes wild theories concerning archaeology. But that´s because he tends to think more with his heart than with his cerebellum, as most bankers do (EATDRINKSLEEPGAINREPEAT), and in his passion he tends to forget that not everybody thinks along these lines. That is not to say he is not a most intelligent guy. But he thinks along unusual lines, and that makes him not always a friend to everyone, carefully spoken. I like that very much, for it is a challenge, and if you like challenges of the mind, Siggi might be the right guy to talk to. He is weird and funny, but I get along with him pretty well. 
 And, mind you, building a furnace like this is certainly nothing you do wthout a huge portion of knowledge! What was made abundantly clear by the setup was how synergetic people had to think and work in times not so long gone by. The woods were used in a crop change agriculture. There hardwood was cultivated for charcoaling. The charcoal kiln was set up in the immediate surrounding of the furnace. The ore was extracted in the hills where the woods were planted also, where the kiln and the furnace were, and where the smithy was built. We in our overspecialized society have forgotten to think like this, and it has gotten us into the mess we´re in.
 The furnace was stocked with a big fire up to 3 / 4 up the channel. Then three parts ore and one part calcium carbonate was added. Charcoal was added, and so forth. With about 8 to. of charcoal around 1 to. of iron could be smelted!
 This is Siggi, explaining the synergetics.
 The product of the furnace.
 The ore.
 More fine products at Andrea´s booth!

 And there was a troop of falconer´s, too. I was especially fond of this goshawk...
 ... and this fellow here: an eagle owl.... I had a conversation with him and he allowed me to stroke him. It´s kinda funny how much they enjoy being stroked, "vicious" bird of prey, hunter of the night and all;-).
 There also was this demo of moving timber with horses, a Haflinger horse. I really love this breed of horse, good-natured and strong as they are.
 ...and to my eyes, beautiful, too!
 Not all was roses, though. On Sunday morning, after Saturday´s hard work, the pedal of my forge broke. I made a makeshift substitute, but on Sunday afternoon, that broke, too. My hammer came loose by the constant bashing, the nailforging hardy device broke, and the car got still on my nerves.
 The broken pedal winch and the makeshift I made.
 I strolled the aisles a bit, and had a good chat with Alex, another good guy I met. Alex stood nearby the forge on Saturday morning, and before we could trade as much as ten words, he was already helping with the kids, and doing a good job with that. Since it was a right mad craze on Saturday, I was right grateful for his help, and I hope I made that clear enough! Thanks, Alex, you are welcome!
Then, sooner as i anticipated, evening came. It was but time for a goodbye tour that turned out not too brief;-). I daresay new acquaintances and maybe even friends were made, and I will be back for sure!

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