Appalachia Chatter and Chitter

Two Blacksmiths Are Living At My House

Two Blacksmiths have moved into my house this week-well actually they already lived here-I guess I should say 2 of the Blind Pig family have become Blacksmiths this week.

During Little Middle at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Chitter and Chatter have been taking the Blacksmith class. Yesterday I sneaked in to see how it was going.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the Folk School-you might be surprised to see their new Blacksmith Shop.

Don’t worry-if you loved the old shop as much as I do-it’s still there-they just connected  the old to the new. My favorite part of the old shop is the floor. I like imagining all the feet that have walked it over the years.

As I walked quietly through the doors to the new shop-no one noticed me-and I could see the kids hard at work.

It didn’t take me long to spot Chitter and Chatter-it’s not like they stood out in their matching get ups.

I caught Chitter hammering on something-while Chatter was heating something up.

The class had some amazing teachers-like Mary Grace, Able Allen-a Brasstown feller, and Mr. Rooney Floyd who hails from way down in South Carolina and happens to be a Blind Pig reader. Rooney has been teaching the Blacksmith Class during Little Middle for almost 25 years. In fact, during those years he taught Able and Mary Grace-you can tell what a good job he does since now they’re teachers themselves.

As I watched Chitter, Chatter, and the rest of the kids work-I was totally impressed. Each one was right in there-showing no fear of the heat-just pounding out their creations like pros.

Every afternoon when I picked the girls up there was a new blister or burn-each one a badge of a Blacksmith in training.

Yep it’s been pretty cool having 2 Blacksmiths around this week.





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  • Reply
    John Dilbeck
    June 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Congratulations to Chitter and Chatter — brand new blacksmiths.
    I come from a long line of blacksmiths and love smiting hot steel and iron.
    For over 200 years (that we know for sure) Dilbecks have passed the art from father to son and I’ll always be grateful that Pop taught me how to make and repair tools so many years ago.
    Pop never would have taken it the direction I went in, when I started making steel roses that never wilt:
    Although I’m not strong enough to be a smith, now, I intend to regain my strength and smite steel again.
    It’s not uncommon for one blacksmith to tell another to “hold out your arms.” You can tell at a glance how hard a blacksmith has been working. If there are no cuts or burns, someone’s being lazy. (grin)
    Always remember, Chitter and Chatter, never smite cold iron (work it at the right temp!) and never underprice your work. If it doesn’t sell in six weeks, double the price.
    (I’m pretty sure that advice comes from Francis Whittaker.)
    Thanks for posting the photos of the new smithy, Tipper. I’ve seen the outside, but haven’t been in there, yet.
    I’m happy the new smithy is dedicated to Clay Spencer. He found a good anvil for me many years ago.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    June 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I hope Rooney had Chitter and Chatter make courting candles because you are certainly going to need them!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    June 26, 2011 at 1:38 am

    A post only you could write! It is a great tribute to the Folk School and the young people. Pictures are excellent. Able and Mary Grace are super and give us great hope for the future. As far as your comments about me go, I believe you truly have “made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear…”, but thanks again.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I LOVED the tour!! And how cool to have two blacksmiths in the family, congratulations!!!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Bakingbarb-yes I’ll show some along the way somewhere : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 7:10 am

    How cool is that!!
    I did enjoy the tour. Would like to go there myself.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    June 24, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Great photograghy(as usual!) & how cool for the girls to have such a great opprotunity.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    June 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    i loved the photos of the school.. and as you said. i too love the round silo parts…. and so wonderful for chitter and chatter to learn something by a patient and talented teacher .. they are very lucky.. i would love to see that school in person.. thanks so much for sharing as always..
    big ladybug hugs and have a great weekend..

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    June 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I am glad they are getting to do this and enjoying it! Love the shop pictures. Nana

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Hello from WV!… I stumbled onto your blog, and it’s just beautiful. I loved today’s post about the blacksmiths.. .and I too love old floors!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Awesome to see the girls hammering iron. I’m sure they came home wanting a big jug of lemonade. It’s really hot in that shop. Speaking of the shop, I love the looks of the new place. Thanks for sharing. My blacksmith enjoyed the blog too!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for all the pictures and
    wonderful read about one of the
    feature attractions of JCCFS. I
    noticed you didn’t mention all
    the work you’ve done there helping
    out in different departments over
    the years, but that’s just you. I
    have some friends who took the
    blacksmithing classes and now they
    can stand on their own with a side
    profession. Nice to see Chitter
    and Chatter having fun with metal.

  • Reply
    grand pa ken
    June 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Just toured that shop two weeks ago glad to see more people getting young people to see old ways.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    You are so blessed to have those wonderful girls. So talented. Looks like they were having a good time. Wish we lived in the same state so they could meet my grandsons!!!!

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    June 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Glad the girls are having fun. It’s a lot of fun to visit the blacksmith shop at the Folk School. I like to watch the blacksmiths work.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Very cool, blacksmiths! Love the entrance to the building (school), very cool looking. Are you going to be posting their finished projects?

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Nice to see how much the girls enjoy their class. I bet they are both very proud of their creations.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Very fun!! Are the girls twins?
    My husband’s grandfather was a blacksmith.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 24, 2011 at 10:03 am

    So wonderful to have this school in your own back yard. I an only imagine how much my children would have enjoyed something like that. So happy for the girls to have these opportunities!

  • Reply
    Rose C.
    June 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Congrats on getting two blacksmithes in the family. Love to read about kids learning the old trades and continue in our hertiage.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I have always been fascinated with metalworking and have done a lot of it, but never blacksmithing. Maybe I will take some classes myself when I get up there. Glad to see the girls so interested in so many things. I hope they never give up their desire to learn and try new things.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

    How nice! There is nothing like that around here other than going to a festival or something and watching others do it. That is something that they will never forget.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    June 24, 2011 at 9:10 am

    That’s really cool-I wonder what kind of things they will be making. I know they’re creative like the rest of the family is.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 24, 2011 at 9:07 am

    You are so blessed to have the school so close…I think it is wonderful that the girls are learning about blacksmithing…
    Some day they may be able to make the hinges, hooks and kettle hangers for their own kitchens…Those doggone kitchen pot hangers at the Fancy Mall Kitchen Supply Store, cost a war pension and are not very homey. They are too chromey for me! ha
    If they ever open their own blacksmithy shop let me know…
    I remember seeing the new shop when we were wandering along a few weeks ago..although until your post I didn’t know the silos were existing and incorporated into the design…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    June 24, 2011 at 8:46 am

    That’s just really cool, Tipper. Girls learning to be blacksmiths–I cannot imagine having that opportunity when I was young. More power to them!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 24, 2011 at 8:19 am

    WOW, what a neat experience for Chitter and Chatter. They just keep learning as fast as they can.
    You are fortunate to have the Folk School so close and be able to attend classes!
    Those are cute pictures of them. You have turned out to be an excellent photographer….and a really remarkable mother!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

    this is amazing to me. wow, they are really working at it and in such an awesome work shop. i love those old silos and the brick floor. your girls have so many talents.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    June 24, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I’ve never seen the entrance to the shop. Looks cool. Glad the girls are having fun.

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