This past weekend was our first major event hosting around two dozen artisans from Ohio and surrounding regions. Together they represented trades and arts in woodworking, blacksmithing, weaving, painting, luthiery, carving, historic preservation, scrimshaw, glass blowing, and more. For a first-time show with a short timeline for promotion, I admit there was an element of the unknown, of not knowing how many exhibitors would commit, or of what kind of crowd would show up.
Some of us on the organizing team had nightmares the night before of no one showing up or not being able to find us in the Ag building at Harvest Ridge. The strong winds Thursday night blew our primary signs down State Route 39 and some exhibitors’ cars had snow on their roofs when they arrived.
This Saturday, November 2 at the Early American Artisans Fair, we have three special events taking place throughout the day. Three of our exhibitors will be giving talks and demonstrations (beyond their normal booth setup) about their work, their backgrounds, and their experiences. If you come you can expect to hear a little about tools and technique, a bit of storytelling, and a likely a dash of philosophy about craft, hand work, and life.
10:30 AM - Fredy Huamán Mallqui
Architectural Wood Carver
Fredy has trained as a wood carver since he was nine years old in Peru. He'll be speaking about the cultural backdrop of his home country, his move to the US, and his professional work in conservation and restoration of art and antiques.
12:30 PM - David Fisher
Bowl Carver and Green Woodworker
David will be talking about and demonstrating axe and adze carving techniques and how momentum in movement and work can be a thrilling advantage if we learn to avoid its potential risks.
2:00 PM - Amy McAuley
Restoration Joiner at George Washington's Mount Vernon
Amy will be sharing details about what it's like to work with a defined set of hand tools from the 18th century in her preservation work at Mount Vernon.
We've posted a roll-up of the artisans who will be exhibiting, demonstrating, and selling at the Early American Artisans Fair on November 1 & 2, 2019.
This inaugural event features 25 local and regional makers who specialize in traditional hand skills in the following trades:
See the Show Preview here.
Drew Hocevar is not only a glass blower, but also a wood carver; however, his wood carving craft is not your typical backyard pursuit - he carves and restores carousel horses for the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, OH (where John Blazar, another exhibitor at this year's event, also carves). You may not know it, but you've likely seen Drew on the big screen, especially around Christmas each year since he played the role of Male Elf in A Christmas Story (1972).
Whimsical, detailed, and often mechanized, Barry Wheeler's creations are not the typical blacksmith products. Barry combines his training and experience in traditional blacksmithing with other metalworking skills to create items that make people smile.
Visiting George Washington's Mount Vernon home is usually a memorable trip for those who appreciate history; however, doing preservation work on the mansion is an entirely different experience. Preservation activities are a fact of life at the mansion, and have been for the 160 years that the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has owned the house. Amy McAuley, one of this year's exhibitors at the Early American Artisans Fair, is one of many skilled craftspeople working on the mansion using tools and skills much more common to the 18th century. She'll be bringing her experience and tools with her to the November show.
Growing up in Ayacucho, Peru, which has been around since about 1540, Fredy Huamán Mallqui had been surrounded by a rich history including centuries-old architecture and a legacy of craftsmanship. He started learning from master carvers at nine years old and was later trained by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture to conserve fine objects dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After coming to the US in 2012, Fredy has done work for Fair Lane, the former home of Henry and Clara Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, and designed and carved the decorative elements for the replica of the 1914 Estey Organ, in collaboration with The Schantz Organ Company.
There's another side to woodworking beyond the kiln-dried-flat-and-square that we find in modern furniture making. Before the kiln and before the sawmill is the beginning of green woodworking, when the wood is still wet. From this arises common objects like joined furniture and chairs, but also bolws, spoons, kuksas, shrink pots, and so much more; each object a reflection of the material it's made from and bearing the facets and textures of the tools used to create it.
Dave Fisher, who joins us at this year's Early American Artisans Fair, is a Pennsylvania bowl carver who is well-known in the green woodworking field. His style is recognizable as his own and is the result of over twenty years of learning, listening, and doing.
Coming in early November is our inaugural Early American Artisans Fair featuring the works of contemporary artisans from Ohio and surrounding regions. Andrea Durnell is one this year's artisans. Andrea is a multimedia artist who creates carved wooden animals from fallen wood and incorporates antique materials to complete them. Her work is influenced by the personification of animals often seen in 19th century American culture, but expressed through the personality she finds hiding within the shape of the wood that defines each creature.