Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Forge

One day while on our vacation in Gatlinburg we took the Arts and Crafts Trail.  I had seen in the brochure that there were several stops where the artists were actually on-site and demonstrating their art or craft.  On of those stops was The Forge and I thought it would make an interesting stop.

This stop far exceeded my expectations!!  The Forge makes and sells recycled aluminum decorative plates and Christmas ornaments.  After seeing the ornaments I wished I hadn't already purchased ornaments for all the children at another stop.  They were really nice!  The artist (I don't recall his name) talked with us and told us that he had been featured in Southern Living a few years ago.  He was very friendly and joked around with us while we were looking at ornaments and plates.

My mom picked out a plate for my youngest sister and was choosing one for herself when the artist asked, "Wouldn't it be more special to you if the grandchildren made it for you?"  Of course, we were all excited for this opportunity and he took us back to his workroom.  Now, when we get creative here at home, we generally can make a real mess, but the mess at The Forge was well....really messy!

 Here we are going into the back room.  Lots of junk to walk through!

Kaelan is preparing to start the process at the automated hammer.  The artist has a template made with a raised design.  He places a square of recycled aluminum on this template and the automated hammer does it's thing.....with some help.

Kaelan directs the hammer blows under the supervision of the artist.

This process was EXTREMELY loud!

Now Aaron takes a turn.

Now Kaelan and the artist cut the hammered design out into a circle.

After the artist files the edges of the plate and wipes it down with chemicals to darken it,  we all walk out to the anvil where the children take turns pounding the edges.

The artist was very trusting of the children.  Throughout the entire process his fingers were in close proximity to hammers and cutters that the children were operating!

Kaelan's turn.

Jackson takes a turn.

That was fun!!  You can see the smaller ornaments just over Jackson's shoulder.

The finished plate!  Isn't it beautiful?  I think mom put it on her mantle.

If you go to Gatlinburg take the drive out to The Arts and Crafts Trail.  It's not as nice and neat as downtown Gatlinburg, but you will see real craftsmen and artists at work.  It is definitely time well-spent!


Celee said...

That looks really cool, I know they had a wonderful time! When we were in Indiana last month we went to a small pioneer type town and got see candle dipping, pottery making, wood carving, etc. The kids didn't get to do any of those things, though and I know they would have loved to!

Heather said...

We are going next week, and the Arts & Crafts trail is probably what I am most excited about! (Scott and I went there on our honeymoon, and I have wanted to go back ever since!) That plate is beautiful!

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...


Thanks for the tip. We've never been out that way, but will definitely make the effort next time we our in Gatlinburg.

JenT said...

Did you go to Alewine pottery? You get a small free bowl, one per family. We live off the same exit, just the other direction. My husband works in Pigeon Forge. Isn't it beautiful this time of year? We're blessed to be living here.

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