Patrick McIvor in his blacksmithing workshop (Carla-Jean Stokes photography)

Lake Country blacksmithing competition makes anvils sing

Sound of the Forge is July 28-29 at Blind Tiger Winery

To hear the sound of a hammer striking steel in a steady rhythm is not a familiar tune to many unless you call yourself a blacksmith.

And to a blacksmith, it’s the sound of hard work, dedication, and a passion for creativity. On July 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and July 29 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Blind Tiger Vineyards, a select few will showcase their skill at the inaugural Sound of the Forge artistic blacksmithing competition, and make the anvils sing.

Blacksmithing is one of the oldest trades on record, a skill once used to build tools and weapons, later agricultural implements, horseshoes, and decorative items. Most recently, blacksmithing has regained popularity with a resurgence for unique, hand-made items, but also thanks to the popular television show Forged in Fire.

Although Sound of the Forge will not be featuring dramatized sword making with cutting and slicing demonstrations as seen on TV, it will offer viewers a true introduction to artistic blacksmithing while competitors create a metal sculpture on-site. The theme for the contest is Flowers, which is a general category providing limitless opportunity for creativity. Competitors have the choice to work their steel in coal or gas forges, with an array of hand tools and anvils of varying sizes. At the end of day two, the finished sculptures will be judged and awarded in both beginner and advanced categories. And at the end of the contest, finished sculptures will be sold to the public in a live auction.

“There are not a lot of blacksmiths in the Okanagan compared to places in Europe. Those who do practice blacksmithing here are extremely talented but most often practice their trade behind closed doors in private workshops and no one gets to see what it’s all about. Sound of the Forge gives everyone the chance to see blacksmithing up close — watch hammering skills, heating, welding, and cutting processes, and forging hot metal over a 150-pound anvil,” said Kelly MacIntosh, volunteer coordinator.

Sound of the Forge will take place at the scenic Blind Tiger Vineyards in Lake Country. Guests are welcome to come and watch the competition at no charge and peruse the “metal only” marketplace with already finished items for sale.

“The event was created among four friends, two of which happen to be blacksmiths including the talented Patrick McIvor of Dancing Scot Forge in Falkland. We’ve made use of our skills and interests and have volunteered our time to make this a really fun event, promote blacksmithing to a younger audience, and bring it back next year with a bigger and better event,” MacIntosh said.

There will also be wine tastings, wood fire pizza, and live entertainment at Blind Tiger Vineyards all weekend. For more information contact MacIntosh at 250-540-7344 or kellymac@shaw.ca, visit www.dancingscotforge.com for a sample of work, or www.blindtigervineyards.ca for a list of winery events.


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