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2014 Combo-Demo Day in the Brazos Valley features art of blacksmithing

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The 4th Annual Combo-Demo Day coming up at Steephollow Forgeworks on Feb. 22 is open to anyone interested in the art of blacksmithing. The day brings together members of Balcones Forge, the Houston Area Blacksmith’s Association, the North Texas Blacksmith's Association, and the Louisiana Metalsmith’s Association. The 2014 Combo-Demo Day will feature a seldom-seen iron smelt as well as blacksmithing demonstrations, networking opportunities, chances to purchase handmade metalwork, and ways to learn about the ancient art of blacksmithing.

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“This is Steephollow Forgework’s way of ‘paying forward’ what the blacksmithing community has taught us,” says Alan Lee, one of the blacksmiths at Steephollow. “The blacksmithing community is made up of very generous people willing to share their knowledge. We all know that if we don’t do it, blacksmithing will die.” Steephollow Forgeworks is a member of the Houston Area Blacksmith’s Association and an affiliate member of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley. Combo-Demo Day is free and runs from 8:00 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 22 at the Steephollow shop in Bryan, Texas.

The week prior to Combo-Demo Day offers a chance for people to take classes in basic and intermediate blacksmithing, emphasizing the efficient movement of metal. Class size is limited and only a few seats remain. Contact Steephollow Forgeworks soon to reserve a spot in a class. While attendance at Combo-Demo Day itself is no charge, classes require a fee.

Combo-Demo Day is committed to preserving and promoting the art of blacksmithing, and everyone interested is welcome. Demonstrations will feature forging techniques and basic blacksmithing. Demonstrators include Lyle Wynn from Mississippi, Gerald Franklin from Oklahoma, Chris and Daniel Riffe from Texas, and James Johnson with Anyang Powers Hammers, as well as Jeff and Alan Lee from Steephollow Forgeworks. In addition to demonstrations and networking opportunities, live and silent auctions provide an opportunity to purchase amazing works of blacksmith art. Auctions will be held at 11:30 a.m. with items donated in support of activities.

A group that attended Lee Sauders’ iron smelt class in Oldenburg will be in charge of the iron smelt, an ancient process of converting iron ore to wrought iron. The handmade, old-world style furnace will be charged about 10:00 a.m. and the bloom of iron is expected to to come out about 3:00 p.m., providing a culmination of the day’s activities.

Combo-Demo Day is a day-long event. While there is no charge for attending Combo-Demo Day, donations will be accepted, especially from anyone who stays for the delicious BBQ lunch. You can find out more on the Steephollow Forgeworks Facebook page.

“I’m pleased blacksmithing is receiving such widespread attention,” says Lee. “We have everyone from teenagers to professional blacksmiths to hobbyists coming to Combo-Demo Day. It will be a lot of fun.”

Come and go or stay all day, but don’t miss this one-of-a-kind day of blacksmithing. If you’re interested in blacksmithing, you will certainly enjoy attending Combo-Demo Day. And if you don’t think you’re interested, Combo-Demo Day might just change your mind.

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