Fire in the Swamp 2010 featured local expert artisans at Dragonwatch Forge

Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fire in the Swamp 2010 was held June 19 through June 20.  Those that attended had the opportunity to get hands on experience working with various forms of metal and clay under master craftsmen.  There were many artists demonstrating their craft, while interacting with the public. 

Brian Brazeale, a blacksmith who recently settled in Brandon, demonstrated his iron jewelry making technique in front of a crowd of onlookers.  This was Brazeale’s first year to be part of Fire in the Swamp and he plans to attend next year.

Brazeale is a blacksmith that dedicates much of his time to teaching his forging clinics and demonstrations at the Jackson Agricultural Museum.  He has studied under Alfred Habermann of Austria, visiting his studio on Ybbsitz. This was a visit that extended to 11 months and ended with Brazeale taking his newly acquired knowledge on the road teaching as he traveled throughout the Ukraine.

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The thing that Brazeale most enjoyed at Fire in the Swamp, besides teaching his craft, was the opportunity to speak to other artists and watch the different ways that other mediums are crafted. 

This opportunity to watch other artists demonstrate their techniques in their areas of expertise was something that Rocco Sloan, art teacher and potter, enjoyed as well. Sloan has been throwing pots since 2000, but recently incorporated his passion for eco-friendly resources into his craft. 

Sloan has developed a clay that is a mixture of natural clay from the earth with recycled shredded paper. The result is a clay that has more elasticity in its substance.  Sloan says, “One of the ways that I benefited from this festival, in addition to the crowd interaction, is that I learned how to enhance the performance of my kiln from one of the other artists.”

Festival host, Larry House, says that this year was a lot of fun. “I enjoyed hosting the event and the artists had a really good time as well.”

House says, “2011 has the potential to be held at a cooler time of year and may be the last one for a while. When we started this, I committed to three years.  We will have to see if it is viable to continue this at our own expense, without sponsors and at no charge to the public.”

House has a teaching studio where the festival was held and for more information on his classes or those of the other artists you can contact him at 601-799-0441.