Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Smithy


I recently went to the Festival of History which was held at Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire. This was an immense multi-period re-enactment event organised by English Heritage who are an organisation that promote and conserve historical sites, buildings and monuments and also play a role in educating so that the past is understood.

At this event there was everything there from the Romans, through the Vikings, Normans, Civil War through to the First and Second World Wars. There were re-enactments, living history villages and of course stalls selling period goods and crafts.


Regulars to Bobkats House will remember that I practice Western Martial Arts or Historical Martial Arts and so I was very happy to find a proper armourer there. He had a small hearth and an anvil set up and was working away in front of a fascinated crowd. While I watched he made a torc bangle and then later a dagger. There is something about a practical man that is good with his hands, especially one that wears an apron! LOL! It turns out that he was from the Czech Republic, a country with a rich history in armoury and his company was Kovex-Ars.

I don't know if it's because I do a desk job but I have a lot of respect for truly skilled craftsmen. I must admit, that I get a lot of satisfaction from doing something practical rather than going to meetings, and being emboiled in organisational politics myself. It is far more easy to be 'in the moment' when you are making something or doing something similar. You focus entirely on the task at hand and when you are done there are very tangible results. You can see what you have achieved. I think that is something I miss in my everday work. My tools are a computer, diary, pen and paper. Other than at appraisal time, it cna be hard to judge how well you are doing.


Anyway, I had my camera with me that day so I couldn't resist taking some pics of the armourer working, and of his stall. I will be posting some more pics from the Festival soon including some of WWI planes that had a staged dog-fight and a battle between the Vikings and Normans. Not something you see every day!

25 comments:

flleenie said...

Hey Bobkat, I like visiting historical places too. We visited the UK 2 years ago. I loved York! Where in The Uk are you from? My other half is from Yorkshire.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Fascinating B-K! I would think that you might want to stay and see everything possible that you can....Does it run for more than one day? Also, I am afraid I would be spending a lot of money at the "stalls"...lol! Can't wait to see your other pictures of the many other things you took! The World War 1 planes....Now, that had to be truly fantastic!

mar said...

It is truly fascinating, as that clever lady above me just said!!

I am not good with crafts so I too have much respect for skilled craftsmen. Specially because they have such patience and care about the details... Beautiful pics!

archshrk said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

Being from California, there isn't a lot of localized history except the occasional indian artifact, but they worked with wood and leather and it was not designed to last like what you find in europe.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing some pictures of the dog fight between the vikings and the Normands (haha)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

OMG, that looks SO cool (and yes, men in aprons who are good with their hands. Mmm.). I wish there was a way I could be there with you... is this an annual thing? Maybe I need a late-summer trip next year, huh?

Dara said...

I love that too - back on the east coast we have colonial Williamsburg and Sturbridge Village but they are a mere 2-1/2 centuries old - lol. Hello from Michele!

utenzi said...

I love swords but I've never bought one, BK. Maybe that's something i should do later this year. Lord knows I'll never make one myself!

November Rain said...

wow... Martial arts huh.. cool...

I have done yoga and have friends that do real life role playing and are history buffs

Wonderful pictures

Hi from Michelle

diyadear said...

hey cool.. know wat my hubby too is very much interested in daggers, swords, bows n arrows n stuff... hmmm history is a mysetery indeed.. :D

Little Miss Muffet said...

oh i imagine making something with your own actual hands must be an extremely satisfying experience...not many of us are lucky to have the talent to put their feelings into creation..i envy those who can..

Ps said...

Wow --what a good looking armourer!
festival of history sounds just like something I'd truly enjoy.History always fascniates me.
And I agree so much about 'being in the moment', and your views about a desk job.

gautami said...

Hello Bobkat, Glad michele sent me here to look at these photographs. He appears to be skilled with his hands just the way you are with your camera.

Mike Davis said...

It's wonderful that there are still small pockets of poeple keeping these skills alive.

I miss the history of Europe.

Over from Michele's

'B' said...

I just look at all that armour, and think, How the hell do you WALK in it let alone anything else!!! ;)

Great looking photo's to by the way.

Here from Michele's tonight, oh dear, it is nearly morning, I must get some sleep!!!

BreadBox said...

Lovely photos --- it really is tremendously satisfying watching a true artisan at work, isn't it? LOML and I took the sprogs to a historical museum at a farm in Nova Scotia this year, and there was an amazing guy making snowshoes the old fashioned way. Similarly awe-inspiring!
Michele sent me to tell you, though I sometimes visit just because I feel like it!
N.

Mr. Althouse said...

I love watching skilled craftsmen at their art. My tools are today much the same as your, but there was a time when a full compliment of hand and power tools was always at my side. Those days are long ago and far away now...

Michele sent me,

Mike

Carmi said...

I'm glad you couldn't resist, because these pictures and the accompanying observations are so rich. My frustration at not having these events closer to home is somewhat eased by your sharing your experiences on your blog.

Michele sent me this afternoon to share my gratitude for always taking the time. Can't wait to see more!

colleen said...

We have blacksmithing classes here where I live. Hopefully the skill will be kept alive. I found you at Michele's.

JAM said...

I always thought that I would have loved to learn to work steel and other metals like that. At places like this showing old hand crafts I end up watching the blacksmith until the family begs me to move on. Swordsmiths are a breed apart. Amazing work.

Sarch said...

Wonderful pics BK!

I know exactly what you mean about working with your hands allowing you to be "in the moment".

I too have a desk job. It is a rare thing indeed for me to be able to experience that satisfaction that comes with actually crafting something. I envy those who can.

Excellent post and pics.

craziequeen said...

Hi honey.

I missed Kelmarsh, but am sorting out my list for the re-enactors market in November.

Unlike you martial types, I need fabric, a stool, needles, baskets, pouches, a new spoon.
I'm such a girly..

cq

November Rain said...

HI Bob-kat
I enjoyed coming by and yeah some people never read they just comment I read, if someone took the time to write it then they deserve for it to be read
also like you said we have quite a bit in common
oh the castles are great if you ever come this way let me know :)


thanks again for coming by

Nikki-ann said...

Wonderful pictures! A friend's partner is a blacksmith. I just hope more young people take up these skills before we lose them all together.

Bob said...

That sounds like such awesome fun!

Love the photos.

Niall said...

Amazing..we were actually about to go to this festival too as a family...it sounds a great day out...(we're in English Heretage too)..maybe we'll bump into eachother at one of these events!!