Families Invited to Learn About the Art of Blacksmithing

Blacksmiths Converge on Hancock Shaker Village for Age of Iron Weekend: An opportunity to get the whole family involved in the art of blacksmithing

Blacksmiths from all over the northeast will converge on Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA for the Age of Iron Weekend on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16, 2009. The two-­day family event features demonstrations of blacksmithing and metal work. Forges and workshops will also be set up on the grounds throughout the historic Village with

  • demonstrations
  • activities for the whole family
  • opportunities for visitors to try their hand at being the Village “smithy”

Blacksmiths, representing Berkshire, Connecticut, Capital District, and New England Blacksmith Guilds, will showcase their art and artisanship with both historical and contemporary demonstrations. Ironwork craftsmanship dating from the 17th to the 21st century, Japanese hardware, tool making, engraving, and Viking and Shaker forging are just a few of the techniques and styles that will be showcased. Beautiful hand­-wrought items from the participating blacksmiths will also be available for purchase. Participants who make custom ironwork for the home will be available to discuss specific commissions. Many exhibitors will be dressed in period costume as they demonstrate using tools and equipment of the same time period.

Hancock Shaker Village ironwork will be highlighted with a special scavenger hunt for children, and interpretive talks pointing out Shaker metal work throughout the Village. Hancock Shaker Village’s blacksmith shop, which is staffed by skilled volunteer blacksmiths, will be open for tours and demonstrations.

Hancock Shaker Village President and CEO Ellen Spear comments, “Blacksmithing is an integral part of the Shaker history, especially here at Hancock Shaker Village. The Age of Iron Weekend is wonderfully fun and an excellent educational experience for the whole family.

Check out this video on blacksmithing by the Museum of America where Mannie Gentile gets down and dirty in this exploration of the world of Blacksmithing:

Click here to see Part 2 and Part 3 from this video series.

Admission to the Village includes this great family event, as well as free access to the innovative, new audio tour program at the historic museum. Hancock Shaker Village members and children 12 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission for adults is $16.50 and youth visitors aged 13 – 17 are $8.00. The Village is open daily from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

About Hancock Shaker Village

Hancock Shaker Village is one of the most visited cultural venues in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Visited by over 60,000 people annually, the Village brings the Shaker story to life, and preserves it for future generations. We are a center for reflection on principled living and believe that the values the Shakers embraced – equality, community, sustainability, and responsible land stewardship resonate for us today. For more information, call 800.817.1137 or see http://www.hancockshakervillage.org.

2 Comments

  1. August 11, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Visit a local blacksmith in the Pioneer Valley!

    Ted Hinman invites visitors to his old coal burning forge for free in Northampton, MA (46 Bridge Street). Ted is a member of ABANA and a graduate of Mass. College of Art and has been forging for over 13 years. He also offers private lessons … (wonder if he’d offer group lessons to a small homeschooling group?)

    Call Armene at 413-773-0448 for more info.

  2. August 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Hey!
    Thanks for including me in the festivities even if only virtually. I hope folks enjoy watching the video as much as I did making it.

    Have a great event. I’d like to see it in person sometime.

    Best wishes,

    Mannie Gentile


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