In the fall of 2006 Mike Tanner took his ideas of creating a new blacksmith guild in Virginia from his personal thoughts to the very real planning stages of creating a unique group that will offer the best demonstrators to its members on a monthly meeting schedule. Within a month there was an Executive Board in place, website up and running, and the first event scheduled. Mike's vision is to raise awareness, and offer opportunities for everyone from the beginner to the professional.
In November the First Annual Yesteryear Forge Hammer In was held with over 50 blacksmiths from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania in attendance. The demonstrators were a few of the notable area smiths. The momentum was then focused into the 2007 schedule where we toured historic Blacksmith shops in Virginia, built portable coal forges, and enjoyed demonstrations by some notable smiths including: Doug Merkel, Brian Gilbert, and Bill Epps.
The Second Annual Yesteryear Forge Hammer In was held in October 2007 and had Randy McDaniel as the main demonstrator with other demonstrations and an interactive forging area called "The Ring of Fire" for anyone interested in forging. This was a joint meeting with fellow guild: Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild. There were over 130 in attendance from several states and close to 20 tailgaters from Blacksmith Supply Inc. to antique tool dealers and coal dealers. There was also a silent auction of all items that had been demonstrated that year. And the Iron in the Hat raised over a thousand dollars which went to both guilds to help the educational opportunities both have to offer. We have also demonstrated as a guild at an area historical village where they are now in the process of building a blacksmith shop.
We are concentrating on making 2008 a year to remember. Our schedule is complete with only one date up still to be determined. It is filled with some first time gatherings of smiths to showcase and reminisce to some very well known smiths and instructors. Here is the schedule for anyone interested in coming by!
January 19th: Alwin Wagener
February 16th Nol Putnam
March 15th: Chris Winterstein
April 19th: Clay Spencer
May 17th: Elmer Roush & Lynda Metcalfe
June 21st: Dan Easley
August 23rd: Mark & Mindy Gardner
Sept. 20: Peter Happny
Oct. 18: Special Ladies Event, Lorelei Sims & others
November: Colonial Blacksmith Rendezvous- Ken Schawrz, Peter Ross, and others
All of our meetings/events are free to attend and open to anyone interested. We ask you bring something for Iron in the Hat.
We are actively investigating further methods to serve the blacksmithing community on a larger scale with our focus on recording meetings and possibly "going live" on the internet for all to watch as it is happening. We are also beginning to schedule 2009 and brew up some new and exciting events to share with everyone. Our "future is so bright I gotta wear shades!"
The Blacksmith Guild of Virginia is open to any and all who are interested in the multifaceted world of blacksmithing. There is no membership fee. The revenue from the monthly Iron in the Hat is able to cover the costs of the demonstrators and mailings.
We mail out a monthly newsletter to our active members and make it available as a downloadable file for everyone on our website. You also receive email updates on the guild and other blacksmith news several times a month. You can take a look in the "Gallery" and get a good idea of our meetings. We try to have an average of 50 or more pictures uploaded from every meeting.
You can join by going to www.blacksmithguildofva.com and clicking on "Membership".
Or you can contact us:
The Blacksmith Guild of Virginia
309 Second Ave.
Farmville VA 23901