Saw the new members intros and thought I should do the same.
My kids and I have been learning to blacksmith/bladesmith for about 18 months. My son, Finn (now age 8), was the main drive behind this new hobby--we read the Deltora Quest series several times (Lief, one of the main characters, is a 16 year-old blacksmith) when Finn was very little, and he has been pushing to learn bladesmithing ever since. Then we moved from Alaska to Nicaragua and after about 1 year we met Mike Deibert (of ESVO Ministries) in the waiting room of a local hospital. After learning Mike was a blacksmith who ran a local smithing school, Finn's eyes lit up and I knew we were going to be asking Mike for a favor. Mike was generous enough to invite us to visit the shop, and he introduced us to Jaime, who became our weekly blacksmithing teacher. Jaime (and the other smiths at the shop, including Ivan, Jaime's brother) was amazing--he would always start a session with Finn by asking, "What do you want to make?" and then go from there. Finn made an anchor, a fishing spear, several towel hooks, lots of leaf key chains, a candle holder, a pirate knife, and a big fighting knife. I have been a school teacher for over ten years, but I learned a lot about "experiential education" watching Jaime patiently guide Finn through many difficult tasks. While Finn worked with Jaime I would fumble around in the background, trying to stay out of trouble and asking Jaime questions as they occurred to me. Nothing was impossible for Jaime--if Finn wanted to make it, Jaime would help him get there.
A side note: when we visited the shop the first time, Burt Foster was there for the week volunteering his time and expertise to help the men at the shop hone their skills. From even my limited experience I have seen the bladesmithing community to be a welcoming, giving, generous group of people.
So, now we're hooked. We moved to Ecuador 6 months ago, and I've set up a small shop (charcoal forge, a few hammers and tongs, a small anvil, some files, a post vise) outside the master bedroom window. It's apparently not the ideal location, the wife tells me, but it's what we've got for now.
Many thanks to Mike for helping us make the childhood fantasy of my son into a family obsession, and many thanks to Jaime for his many hours of guidance and patient instruction.
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Steve Morley Introduction Hello from Ecuador!
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