Monday, December 08, 2014

Early Iron 4 - A bit more first notice...


Early Iron Four
April 24 - 26, 2015
Ashokan Centre, Olivebrige NY

Early Iron 4 will be held in pairing with the Northeast Blacksmith's Association spring hammer in.
Current thought is to have a separate admission for the Early Iron related programming. (Although we all expect a certain amount of 'slop' between the two groups of metal smiths.)

At this point the working team for Early Iron 4 is:
Mike McCarthy (who started this whole mess and ran the other EI events) - nuts and bolts on the ground
Darrell Markewitz (who, me?) - some early organizing and communications
Tim Neu (who has organized many earlier NBA events at Ashokan) - helping with the financial aspects
Lurking in the background will be Jonathan Nedbor (New England Bladesmiths Guild) and Lee Sauder.

The Ashokan Centre is well known for its history of blacksmithing events.
The facility is located roughly half way between New York City and Albany

There is an established blacksmith shop there (with a small mechanical hammer) but this will certainly be occupied by the NBA activities.
There is a large 'picknick shelter' overhead with associated field that is the most likely area for the main Early Iron activities.
As well the Centre has ample lecture spaces available.
The Ashokan Centre also provides meal and lodging packages (purchased separately) for participants. These range from open bunks to private rooms. Those who have attended other events there will tell you the food is good quality and there is plenty of it. Rough estimate on a two night / 6 meals is about $190 per person.

At this point there is still some discussion about how to shape Early Iron 4.
Earlier symposiums have centred on demonstrations and teaching. At this point however, the base information on how to build and operate a small direct process bloomery furnace are fairly wide known. (For the last decade, members of the extended Early Iron Group have undertaken a lot of demonstrations!) Its also safe to say there is a kind of 'second generation' of practitioners who have taken that basic research and pushed it into solid 'bloom to object' work.
Some possible 'themes' that this event could explore:
- Historic / Cultural iron smelting traditions (North European / African / Japanese)
- Variations on Ore (similar furnaces then running various local ore types)
- Bloom to Bar to Object (more concentration on the challenges of working up those blooms!)

The exact format the activities take will determine the costing for participants.
One question still open is if Early Iron should recruit one major feature demonstrator? Or recruit a number of 'team leaders' - against a more 'hands on' approach?

At the very least, please mark the date on your calendars.
Spread the word!

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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