Crosby Arboretum to hold ninth annual Forge Day on Saturday
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017
The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune is gearing up to hold its ninth annual celebration of blacksmithing and metalworking on Saturday.
Every year, Forge Day gathers local craftsmen to showcase their historic trade for the general public.
“The primary part about it is getting the opportunity to show young people, and adults both, some of the art form of metalworking,” local blacksmith Larry House, of Dragon’s Watch Forge in Picayune, said. “The goal is about teaching others what goes on in the metalworking community.”
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 28, the public is invited to watch demonstrations by House and other craftsmen from around the Gulf Coast.
Attendees are permitted to participate in some of the demonstrations, either as newcomers to the trade or practiced hands looking for a few tips.
A few years ago, House helped a young boy forge a knife, he said. Just the other day, the boy’s mother told him he used that knife to dress a deer he harvested with his father, House said.
“In the long run, it’s about working with people and letting them see that this isn’t rocket science,” he said.
The event is organized annually by Crosby Arboretum Director Pat Drackett.
“I wouldn’t do this without Pat,” House said.
This year, he will demonstrate how to make small metal sculptures of birds, he said, involving a quick demonstration that is sure to keep spectators’ attention.
Another unique part of the event is how a number of area craftsmen get together to share their love for the craft, House said.
For some, this is the only time of year they can practice their work together, he said.
Other members of the Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association will be in attendance, demonstrating a wide variety of skills and techniques, including knife sharpening.
Items will be available for purchase.
The Arboretum provides a unique venue for artisans like House, who often draw on nature for inspiration.
“It’s a very unique venue inasmuch as it is a nature place,” House said. “It’s nice to take a break and get away from the forge to see some of the wonderful fauna growing there.”
A lot of the work he does emulates nature, he said, including the metal birds he has been working on this year.
The event costs $5 for non-member adults and $2 for children. Members can attend for free. The Arboretum is located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune.
For more information, call the office at 601-799-2311 or visit crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu.