I just got back from the 2nd summer ABS hammer-in at the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn Maine. Had a great time! Friendly folks, fine food (including lobster!), fair weather, fabulous venue, fierce competitions, fantastic presenters and informative demonstrations! Got to hobnob with four very funny and talented jokers, I mean ABS Journeyman Smiths: tomahawk making Butch Sheely; firecracker wielding Mace Vitale; Bill Wiggins of Waffle House fame (I didn't get it either); and king competition cutter Dave Sylvester. Mastersmiths ABS President Greg Neely; damascus dinamo Jason Knight; mild mannered Rob Hudson; and the inimitable Dr. Jim Batson lit us all up with their luminous presentations. It would be impossible to give too many accolades to our dedicated host Derick Glaser and his warmhearted hardworking assistant, Hunter. THANKS guys!!!
This is only my second official hammer-in, the first being the predecessor last year. I haven't seen the other schools or met many other smiths and ABS shakers and bakers, so I don't have a broad experience base to report from. Never-the-less, I can say with a completely clear conscience, ALL these fine folks, the school and venue are top notch!!! Heck, that even includes the NJ Steel Baron, Aldo Bruno. Thanks for the fine steel donations for the open forge and the auction!
Ha, that auction was hoot...or horror show depending on your point of view I guess. We had slooooow smoooooth talking southern cracker Bill Wiggins, sashay prancing Mace Vitale and the ever candid Jason Knight peddling wares to a dedicated crowd of enthusiasts and supporters. Heck, even a Waffle House coffee mug of questionable repute sold. I've seen a fair number of nonprofit auctions of this ilk. I know their intent is to raise funds to offset the costs of delivering educational and community services that just about always cost more to deliver than fees can cover. But for me
, the value of seeing the generosity of donors (there were numerous woods, steels, tools, knives, hawks, etc), buyers and volunteers (THANKS hawkers and Cindy!) is of value that goes far beyond a corporations bottom line. The heart warmth generated by a dedicated community committed to a common cause at fund raising events like this is PRICELESS!
My thanks to everyone for a wonder filled weekend. I am a better person to have been a part of it...and hopefully will be a better bladesmith too.
All the best, Phil
This post has been edited by Phil Dwyer: 27 July 2010 - 01:35 PM