Through January 29, the Southern Highland Craft Guild (SHCG) is hosting its fourth and final exhibition of the year, Forging Ahead: A Blacksmith Invitational. Held in the Folk Art Center’s main gallery upstairs, the exhibition features 36 objects from members of the WNC chapter of Artists Blacksmith Association of North America (WNC-ABANA).
Blacksmiths have a long and rich history as essential members of society. Before the Industrial Revolution, blacksmiths worked with iron and steel tools like the hammer and anvil. While some still use these ancient tools, new technology and sophisticated equipment have emerged to help lessen the work load of the contemporary blacksmith. “The exhibition will hopefully educate people that being a blacksmith is way more than just making horseshoes—blacksmiths are artists and skilled craftsmen,” says Ken Hall, who has been making knives for 10 years. Hall has been awarded the rating of Journeyman Smith by the American Bladesmith Society. In Forging Ahead, Hall will be exhibiting a dagger he created based on a quillon dagger of the Middle Ages. “These daggers would have been considered a personal defense weapon,” he says. “The quillons, or cross guard, were used to block or catch the opposing knight sword in a fight.” All products in the exhibition are available for purchase, online and in the gallery.
The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, just north of the Highway 70 entrance in east Asheville. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., April through December, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., January through March. Learn more at CraftGuild.org.