When I went outside to meet with the second chairman of the museum to have a discussion, he greeted me in front of the café. Now Rainer is an enthusiastic smelter and historian and, no mistaking that fact, I pay him a huge amount of respect for what he does and what he is, and he is capable of some constructive discussion, too. I informed him that we would like to continue, but to be left to our own devices. His main concern was that everyone should wear proper safety gear, which catched me out cold, for I had forgotten my goggles and could not yet afford safety boots, mea culpa. But that´s no only fine with me, but one of my main concern, too. What made my day (and Willy´s, who came, too), was that they did not want us to make WEAPONS. Oh, pleeeaase, most of the blades we make are up to 10 cm in blade length. Other than that, the Ennepetal and Breckerfeld regions as well as the city of Hagen were leading regions of edged weapon and tool knife production from the early medieval ages, maybe dating as far back as the elder bronze age, up to early modernity, when the excellent bladesmiths of Hagen-Eilpe were recruited by some Mr. Eversmann (this will be dealt with in another historical post) to produce under the Tsar´s reign in St. Petersburg in the 19th century. Catch a glimpse of the art that might have been trademark of our region if they would have stayed here. The iron ore of the Breckerfeld region was famed throughout Europe and Russia. So, as we always refer to and lecture on that tradition, with not just a tiny bit of research done, I think we might have a legal reason. We will never, ever, make legally prohibited artifacts and weapons. Most of the stuff we make does not even have weapon characteristics (even that Birka saber;-) does not have) according to §§1, 42a WaffG (German offensive weapon act) and other laws. We told him, and offered to have a book handy in case anyone would ask. On that he agreed, and we parted as friends;-).
But it is unnerving still, and I daresay we do not have seen the last of it, for he is but a tiny cog in the machinery. We are enthusiastic about tutoring and doing something for a region that has social problems enough. We want to educate youngsters to achieve a socially adequate use of edged tools. We want to achieve a regional identity and identification with the region by the inhabitants, be they young or old. In fact, we have a dream: We would like to see old smiths passing on their knowledge to us and to the little ones.
With prejudice and fear we will not achieve this. But with education and hard work we will.
And if we are not welcome at one place, we will continue at another. We are many, and we have fun doing what we do, even if it is hard work at times. Handforging speaks louder;-) (Thanks, Joel, for that slogan, I really love it!!!*ggg*).