Why do I do it?

Sunday evening before a holiday, I’m rummaging through my workshop trying to find all the bits and pieces I’d need for doing a public demonstration; trying to cram too much (very heavy) stuff into the back of my truck – all on my own.  As a piece of steel stock drops through the holes in the bottom of a milk crate, darn near breaking my toe, I ask myself “why am I doing this?’.

I mean, it’s not like I have the time to take on many paid projects, even if someone were interested.  Nor do I have the time to build up an inventory of forged items to sell as a vendor at one of these events.  But here I am, yet again, preparing to go stand outside all day doing a demonstration, not entirely looking forward to it.  But the following day, at the event, I got my answer…

It’s because of the people.

You really do meet some tremendously excellent people when you’re out and about in public, demonstrating this craft.  Some are just amazed by the process of manipulating incandescent iron.  Others have an interest in antique tools, machinery, etc and really appreciate seeing how it was all made. Many have a story to tell about some relation that was a blacksmith or farrier.  But virtually everyone that comes by takes some interest – and that’s rare these days.

It’s really neat for someone my age to be told, by a senior, that I remind them of their grandfather.  And its amazing to see kids take an interest in anything that’s not on their iPhone!

The kind people you meet along the way really does make it worth the effort to drag several hundred pounds of equipment out and back to do a demo.  I think its something every smith should do at some point.

Thank you to the Niagara Historical Society & Museum for inviting me back to their Past is Present event this year.  And thanks to all the nice folks who stopped by for a chat. It made for a very enjoyable day out!

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