With the summer at a close, my days at Beachwood Life Time Fitness hopefully behind me, and a new journey in the forefront starting with Touchstone Center for Crafts.
Joined by Nicolette Absil (small metals), Greg Orloff (small metals), Samantha Momeyer (ceramics), and Bryce Hemington (ceramics) we embarked on a 2 month residency at Touchstone Center for Crafts in the mountains of Farmington, Pennsylvania without much cell service or internet. This experience has been an interesting ride. Everyone at Touchstone is wonderful, caring and generous. Our time at Touchstone was at the end of the class season, with only a few courses being offered on weekends throughout September; Greg Gehner and Jody Best being the instructors in blacksmithing.
I had the pleasure of meeting Greg previously, his wife Cappy Counard is a jewelry and metals professor at Edinboro University where I used to studio assist once a week last year. Both wonderful artists and amazing human beings. Greg’s class was entitled Forge and Fabrication, the title speaks for itself. Greg showed a few demo’s on rivits and a few forging techniques but let the students go with their projects, spending most of the class time helping them understand forging and fabrication techniques that pertained to their own project ideas. I had a blast helping out where I could.
Jody Best taught a Beginner Blacksmith class. 11 beginner blacksmiths in one class… she is baller! Jody demonstrated a few fundamental blacksmithing techniques: how to build a fire in your coal forge, and keep it going, how to hammer efficiently, taper, hook, etc. and then let the class have at their own forges. Intermittently she would demo more techniques between bouts of everyone making hooks and walked around helping out. Jody is a wonderful instructor, very patient and great at explaining technique. After hooks, she helped everyone figure out what projects they would like to make and got everyone going. Wonderful class!
In October, each weekend still brought activity to Touchstone. The SNAG board had their meeting/retreat one weekend, Keystone Metals Forum hosted by Touchstone another, a woodworkers guild came another. Busy, busy, busy.
As our time at Touchstone was coming to an end, we worked more and more in the studios. I set up a spot in the small metals studio and worked on pieces for my fundraiser.
Towards the end of October, during the Keystone Metals Forum, we set up a Artist in Residence Show, displaying the work we have been making while at Touchstone.
I apologize this post is rather short and under informative. Since leaving Touchstone, change has been in an overwhelming abundance. Beyond that, I have been ramping up for my residency at the University for the Creative Arts in January! Stay tuned for more.
Until next time, take care.
-Meredith S. Tibjash