Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jesus Hernadez - Demonstrator Profile

This is the first of a series of profiles of the featured demonstrators for CanIRON 8. The text and images are being gathered from each individual's web site. Readers are encouraged to visit these, as in most cases there is not only a greater selection of each artist's work to see, there are often other goodies like techniques or video available.

Jesus Hernandez

Huntsville, Alabama

" I am a bladesmith. For a long time I have been fascinated with the ability to create both useful and beautiful objects by hand. The craft of a blade represents an expression of that ability. From understanding how metal moves under the hammer to shaping a piece of raw wood into a handle, every aspect of this art is capable of bringing a sense of satisfaction to the maker and to the owner of such creations. "

" I started making blades because of my interest in Japanese swords. I have practised and taught different forms of kenjutsu over the years. I regularly refine my skills at tameshigiri ―cutting tatami or bamboo targets― and I am a modest collector of Japanese swords. I have been a student of nihonto for many years. "

" Driven by a thirst for knowledge, I took the challenge of learning how the Japanese swords were made and what made them so special. Hence, I started a long road into bladesmithing. "

Ayasugi dagger

" This dagger is part of the first international exhibition of contemporary bladesmiths held at the Macau Museum of Art.

" This is a special project made of 1050, 1095 and 15N20 steel. Folded to about 100 layers and then manipulated to generate a pattern that will imitate the AYASUGI hada of the GASSAN school of Japanese swordsmiths of which I have been particularly fond. Cable damascus guard and pommel and stabilized California buckeye burl handle. The blade is 9 1/2 inches and the overall length is 14 inches."

Bamboo tanto

" Aikuchi style tanto made of tamahagane steel. Nagasa 7.5 inches. Overall length 13.5 inches. The hada is simply beautiful resembling a raging fire with lighting strikes in the hamon. There is utsuri. The fittings are delicately brought to a great finish to compliment the blade. Multiple materials are used for the koshira: a carved copper habaki, buffalo horn for the koiguchi, fuchi and kashira. Mokume gane menuki. Horn pin and high quality same for the wrap. The kojiri is reinforced with cured bamboo. Lacquered saya with gold paint of bamboo design. The red kanji letters read: 'Shadow of the Wind.' "

Tiger Tanto

" This blade's steel was made in a tatara at the first hammer-in organized by Kerry and Matt Stagmer at their shop in Maryland. The following year a portion of the steel was consolidated, folded and turned into this tanto. The saya is made of curly maple and the spacers are snake wood. The habaki is copper. "

Iron Smelting - Japanese Tatara and Southern European Catalan Furnaces

Also On Jesus's web site :
A series of photo essay tutorials that includes - Habaki making / Forge welding / Heat treating forge.
A much larger portfolio of his past work, including detailed images of most of the blades.

Unless otherwise indicated, Images and text are taken from the individual's web site, and are used here with permission. Full copyrights apply.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gallery for CanIRON 8

The CanIRON team is pleased to announce that Kelly Probyn-Smith has volunteered to handle the GALLERY aspects of the conference.

Although Kelly is a relatively new face to OABA, she brings a good depth of experience to the effort. Most specifically her ongoing series of gallery / sales exhibits 'Not Just a Trick Pony', and great ties to the arts and theatre crowds in Toronto.

Although its still early days for this aspect of CanIRON, some good ideas have been put forward:

1) Organizing the overall display more like a commercial gallery or artists exhibition, with stress on presentation of the included works.

2) More information for each piece, including some details on method and design inspiration.

3) Possible development of a pre-juried exhibit of higher quality works.

4) Still an area for 'works in progress' and work at the beginner, hobbyist, and journeyman levels.

5) Allowing for free public access to the Gallery collection over fixed (limited) hours.

6) Inclusion of networking opportunities such as 'meet the artist' and area for distributing cards and fliers.

7) Possible co-sponsorship of a longer duration exhibit at a local museum or gallery?

8) Development of a 'virtual gallery' web site, making a permanent record of the contributed works.

Expect more information on the Gallery as Kelly gets her plans drafted and in place!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Help Us Spread the Word!

Do you have a web site?
It would be a big help to get the word out if there were a number of links back to the CanIRON 8 web site.
(This also would raise the site on the Google listings too)

CanIRON VII - FErgus

Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex

Fergus, Ontario

Thursday July 28 - Monday August 1, 2011

The Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association
is pleased to announce we will be hosting the next Canadian National Blacksmith's conference!

Find out how things are progressing by visiting the WEB

The actual html code snippet that makes what you see above has been formated into a text (for Word / PC) and placed in a small file on the OABA / CANIRON8 web site - this is the direct link

If you cut, save and paste that stuff in to your own web site - it should produce the same thing you see at the top of the page.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Facilities / Content / Pricing ?

(A Personal Observation)

Right now, the CanIRON 8 core team (Brad Allen, Mick Smith, Shirley Young, Elaine MacKay, Darrell Markewitz) have gotten a pretty good start in framing up the event. A date and site have been chosen, a slate of demonstrators confirmed, a draft schedule and tentative grounds layout are in hand.

Last week's blog poll was directed to potential fees for the event. Although at this point the sample is admittedly small, the results were a bit surprising. A full 50% of those who responded felt that a fair cost for admission to CanIRON 8 would be $200. All but one of the other respondents listed $150 as a likely fee.

This puts the concepts of the organizing team right on track, as it is our hope to be able to fix admissions price for the event at something between $150 and $200. This also puts us pretty much in the same line as earlier CanIRON events.

One thing that will be of note to all those intending to come to CanIRON 8 : The main outdoor area booked for the conference is fully equipped with electrical and water hook ups for RV camping. Although it is a bare, flat grass field, it will be ideal for tents and trailers. The tentative fee for a camping site (paid through the Sportsplex itself) is $25 per night. I suspect that several tents could share a single site. This offers a low budget alternative to local hotels or B&B, plus will keep you right on the centre of activities.

The next task before us is to draft a budget framework for the entire event. The hope is that we can have at least a rough set of numbers available for our next full face to face in early January. Hopefully within a month we will be able to announce the participant's fees for CanIRON 8.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Demonstrator Added!

We are happy to announce that we have added British artisan blacksmith Paul Allen to our initial roster of demonstrators for CanIRON 8.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CanIRON 8 Web Site...

Or really only a framework for a web site!

There is an existing
But if you check it, you will see its just acting as a re-direct to the last CanIRON, this last summer at Ness Creek. I have been trying to track down just who manages that domain, but without a lot of results (at least so far)

You might want to book mark the CanIRON at Ontario Blacksmiths link. I manage the OABA site, so certainly it will remain possible to keep the latest information (as it firms up) on to that address. Of course, expect weekly updates and tid-bits here on the CanIRON blog!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Potential Demonstrators

These are some of the people who we have contacted - and who have expressed an initial interest in demonstrating at CanIron 8:

Paul Allen
Dorset, United Kingdom
Sandra Dunn
Kitchener, Ontario
Joinery Techniques
Jesus Hernandez
Huntsville, Alabama
Japanese Tradition Bladesmithing
Mike McCarthy
Copperstown, New York
Colonial Pipe Tomahawk
Jake Powning
New Brunswick
European Pattern Welding
Mark Puigmarti
Port Perry, Ontario
Contemporary Work

Brian Russell
Winston, United Kingdom
Architectural Designs
Kelly Smyth
ChaddsFord, Pennsylvania
Marine Fittings
The intent of the organizing team is to gather together a group of EIGHT featured demonstrators for CanIRON 8. As well as the people seen above, there are a number of others still under consideration.
The focus for the conference is more towards hand techniques, suiting the practical needs of the attending blacksmiths. Our hope is to recruit demonstrators who have proven abilities not only in terms of technical skills and inspiring work, but also those with good communications / demonstration skills. We would like individual demonstrators to interact with the participants as much as possible, providing not only demonstration sessions, but also some to be involved some kind of a direct hands on workshops. There will be space and time for lecture styled presentations by the demonstrators as well, with aspects of design an important topic for the conference.

Modified 11/29/09 to add Paul Allen

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Framework Timetable

This is the tentative schedule for CANIRON 8:

Time / Area

July 28
July 29
July 30
July 31
August 1

9 - 12
Site Opens

Packing Down

Demo A

Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration

Demo B

Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration

Hands On

Guided Workshop
Guided Workshop

(12 - 1:30)
Registration Opens

12:30 - 1:30

Mealtime Presentation
Mealtime Presentation
Mealtime Presentation
Site Closes

1:30 - 4:30
Gallery (public & ongoing)


Demo A

Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration

Demo B

Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration
Feature Demonstration

Hands On

Guided Workshop
Guided Workshop
Forging Competition (public)

(5 - 6:30)
Welcome BBQ

Auction (public)

7 - 8

Main Hall
Opening Ceremonies
Feature Presentation
Feature Presentation
Closing Ceremonies


Feature Presentation
Feature Presentation

8 - 9

Main Hall
Meet the Demonstrators
Feature Presentation
Feature Presentation
Closing Ceremonies


Feature Presentation
Feature Presentation
Gallery Closes

(6 - 12)
Open Forge
Open Forge
Open Forge

(Sorry if this is a bit hard to read - Blogger does not import tables very easily!)

The Organizing Team is intending on setting up the CANIRON site to provide for the following:

DEMONSTRATION AREAS - There will be two main areas equipped for your featured demonstrators. You can see that this means two choices for any given session - with sessions planned for both morning and afternoons on Friday / Saturday / Sunday.

HANDS ON AREA - There will be a third work area, equipped with between 6 - 8 forge work stations.
1) In the mornings (Fri/Sat/Sun) these stations will be available for self directed work by any participants. Over the mornings, a volunteer with some teaching experience will be on hand to supervise and assist.
2) In the afternoons (Friday / Saturday only) one of the featured demonstrators will conduct a specific hands on workshop session. Individuals wanting to participate will need to sign up in advance, and available slots will be limited. Of course others will be free to observe those sessions.
3) In the evenings (Thurs/Fri/Sat) The work stations will be available for pick up work, inspiration, or just plain messing around. There will be no teaching supervision provided in the evenings.

LUNCH TIME LECTURES - In the later half of the lunch period, speakers drawn from a wider pool will be presenting shorter sessions on an expanded set of topics inside the gallery space. We expect to be able to provide 35 - 50 spaces of seating, so come feed your mind as well as your body. (Friday / Saturday / Sunday)

EVENING PRESENTATIONS - We have broken the evenings down for two individual sessions, to take place in the main dining hall and also in the smaller space inside the gallery. Each session is for an hour, and is certain to include formal presentations by your featured demonstrators.

FORGING COMPETITION - Love it or hate it, forging competitions done on the spot between teams of participants are always a big part of any gathering of Blacksmiths! Our hope is to allow the general public to be able to observe the goings on 'from behind the ropes'. This event will take place in the Hands On area on Sunday afternoon.

AUCTION - In keeping with our mission to inform and involve the public in selected aspects of CANIRON, we are hoping to open up participation in the fund raising auction to those with fatter wallets! The Auction is scheduled for Sunday late afternoon.

GALLERY - The best way to inform the public to what we REALLY do is to allow them access to the Gallery. Bring your best and most inspiring work, make sure you include a stack of business cards. The layout of the site at the Fergus Sportsplex is ideal in terms of both layout and large size. Security and close supervision will be provided for all the work.

Modified 11/24 :
Corrected calender dates (!)
Added second evening presentation space

Friday, November 20, 2009

Looking Good

Well done, Darrell. This looks very good. The more information we have available, and the easier it is for folks to make suggestions, or ask questions, the better this conference will be. We are off to a great start.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fergus - a View of the Area

Center Wellington Community Sportsplex
Formerly Fergus Community Center
550 Belsyde Avenue E, Fergus, Ontario N1M 2P7

Note that this image has NORTH roughly at the bottom.

Google Maps

View Larger Map


Monday, November 16, 2009

CANIRON VIII - in Ontario!

Host - Ontario Artisan Blacksmith Association

Place - Fergus Fairgrounds, Fergus - Ontario, Canada

Dates - Thursday 28 July to Monday August 1 - 2011

Stay tuned as more details develop!