Mittwoch, 19. Juni 2013

Another Hammer - In in the Industriemuseum Ennepetal - Weird and wonderful tales:-)

 It was the first Sunday of June, when the monthly Hammer - In was on schedule. Preceding the event was a bit of a disarray, for we were informed that we had to face something of a trial in the evening. It seemed then the head chairmen of the museum were not amused that we are making tools and knives and only some few pieces of jewellry- in fact, what inspiration makes us do- and that we were not members of the museum club. Those were the chief grievances. Some hints suggested that some of the smelters (I do not like categories at all, but I did not start it) were not so amused that we were having altogether too much fun. So, all in all, we were informed that it was play according to their rules or don´t play at all, and we had decided, if that´ll be the case, we´d rather play somewhere else. So, I contacted the guys and gals and informed them that this could as well have been the last time to meet in that museum. That turned out to be a real kick up the south end for the lot of them;-), for the smithy was brim full with people eager to make some noise. Sort of like the ultimately last ´Stones tournée...;-). Volker and Marcel with their little ones from Dortmund, Rolf from Münster, and people from as far as the North of Hessen came by. Daniel was there, Willi and myself, of course, Nick and many visitors, and, did we have fun? BOY, DID we!!! There were smiths from six to sixty years frequenting the smithy, and at times it was too full to properly work, the downside of it all.   
 Here Marcel checks the gas forge, which was roaring the whole day through.
 Willy doing some sanding of one of his miniatures.
 Rolf came by and had his knives and hatchets on display.
 He brought a new friend of his with him, whose name I unfortunately forgot, but he had two knives with him which left me flabbergasted!
 He does stock-removal for the most part, but hey... we are Borg... you are being assimilated. Resistance is futile;-)...
 I was most fond of this titanium slipjoint folder with next to no tolerances...
 The handle is titanium with a mirror(!) polish... schwweeeet!!!!;-)
 Since it was that full in the smithy, I grabbed the opportunity to have a decent lunch this time and to make the traditional photos of the historical automobile show.

 I was most fond of this carriage. Four horsepower, and is fueled by renewable resources;-).
 Trust those guys, they are in charge!
 Marcel forging a badass fighting knife.
 Did I say trust them...*ggg* Rolf doing a blacksmith´s interview...;-)
 BAMBAMBAMBAM!!!!! Forging a setting hammer.
 Puky, the fly man;-) at the belt grinder...
 I was really delighted that my smithing groupie ;-)came by, too. He started smithing some years ago at an event I did for the Bethaus smithy, and, time passing by, he grows to maybe become a blacksmith himself. This is great to observe!
 Volker forging a badass birka style... er... sword???*ggg*
 Daniel showing Marcel´s son new tricks in an old trade...
 Nick having a go himself.

 Top to bottom: A forging exercise in brass Marcel´s son made, the monster Birka sword by Volker, a leaf and a blade by Marcel´s eldest son.
 And his youngest son having a go, too. It was a very friendly atmosphere the whole day through, an atmosphere of learning and creativity, and the youngest not only contributing the least to the latter. You can learn a lot from children, best when tutoring them freely!
 I did not achieve much that day, however, with quite a bit of tutoring and supervision and all that stuff;-). Then Julia, the Erdmuthe*ggg* came by, and I lent her an ear and a shoulder, and there was still some ordeal left.

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*).
Then, suddenly, it was all over, and I saddled my steed to ride out into the sunset;-), and in the woods I sat and had a cuppa tea to calm down and to contemplate what the day meant to me, and to simply hear the birds singing.

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