Frequent selection for inclusion* in EarlyAmericanLife magazine's Directory of Traditional Crafts is significant recognition for forging (not fabricating) historic hardware for newly constructed buildings or ships for various historic sites. Any opportunity to study originals, either in situ or collections, is pursued.
Besides forging historic hardware for various projects in a stone blacksmith shop at a small historic site without electricity, Smyth has begun offering adult workshops through the local community college's department of continuing education. This is in addition to a long standing summer series for the ten to twelve year old set. Smyths' ventures off site include speaking at two international conferences about historic ships' hardware and teaching workshops at various regional venues. This is the logical continuation to nearly ten years spent demonstrating and interpreting historic blacksmiths' work at two of the premier living history museums in the country.
Although not unprecedented, Smyth's recent invitation to return to the Mall as a participant in the forty-first Smithsonian Folklife Festival is quite rare. Originally invited to attend the thirty-eighth Folklife Festival (in 2004) at the maritime venue for historic blacksmiths' work forging (not fabricating) ships' hardware for three (now five) recently constructed historic vessels: Susan Constant and Discovery / 1607 / Jamestown Settlement (VA), Kalmar Nyckel / 1638 / near the Rocks on the Christina River (Delaware) plus the John Smith 400 Shallop and the Sultana (both in Chestertown, Maryland), this national opportunity will be a general presentation of historic blacksmiths' work typical to buildings like the new Print House at Historic St. Mary's City, Maryland's seventeenth century capitol (and one of Smyths' projects last year), and Jamestown Settlement, celebrating its four hundredth anniversary this year.
"When I first started this work, I was given very little instruction but as an interpreter at a living history museum I had tools (including forge, bellows, anvil, and vice), coal, materials, and hours to practice the basics while trying to offer the general public some understanding of what they were seeing. Certain techniques I taught myself in those early days have allowed me to forge certain items with relative ease such as the buttonhead bolts - nearly a thousand to date (1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8", 1" & 1 3/8") - I've made for the historic ships I've worked on or marlinspikes, a tool used for splicing line, with tapers that are necessary to many other forgings such as hinges".
Since Smyth is primarily self-taught and understands most of the common mistakes, he is able to save his students countless hours of frustration trying to gain the skills they need to pursue their various projects or alter perceived errors into delightful alternatives.
* 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995
KELLYSMYTH 415 Cedar Ave. New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169 Phone: 386-424-9136 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KELLYSMYTH has been selected for the following Directories:
Biography updated February 9, 2021 Photograph updated February 9, 2021Contact information updated April 15, 2011
The deadline for submitting entries for the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts has past. All entries we have recevied are being processed and will be submitted to the jurors for anonymous judging. The 2021 Directory will appear in the August 2021 edition of Early American Life. Please do not call us. We cannot report on the status of any particular entry until the Directory is published..
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