Potter College News
Hammer-In to be held October 7 at Kentucky Museum
- Tiffany Isselhardt
- Friday, September 29th, 2023
The Kentucky Museum is thrilled to announce the return of Hammer-In, an outdoor festival celebrating metal working traditions of Kentucky. Sponsored by Logan Aluminum, this year’s event will be held on October 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kentucky Museum.
The festival is free and open to the public.
Beginning at 10 a.m., visitors will observe demonstrations of forge, tin smithing, aluminum pour, and basic forge skills. Interested guests can visit the WKU League of Sculptors booth to participate in making and creating their own aluminum pour to take home.
Featured Demonstration of Gothic and Renaissance Blacksmithing
This year’s featured demonstrator is Ernie Dorrill, a blacksmith whose work celebrates Gothic and Renaissance motifs including candelabras, lamps, locks, and keys. Ernie hails from Canton, Mississippi, where he retired from a career as an architect and took up blacksmithing in the mid-1990s after working with George Dixon, Tom Latane, and Carl Close.
Ernie primarily does classic Gothic and Renaissance blacksmithing, popular from the 13th through 17th centuries, which includes hot forging, hot and cold chasing, piercing and repousse. He also uses layering, fitting, traditional joinery, and filing, but no forge welding. Forms and figures are highly detailed and in high relief. Some shaping is done wiht the treadle hammer and some is done by hand. Although the original masters performing this type of work used wrought iron, Ernie uses mild steel sheet and bar stock.
Ernie has demonstrated at several conferences and taught at the John C. Campbell Folk School. His style of demonstrating includes electronic media, written material, moving metal, and humor...so bring your notebooks and prepare to be entertained!
The event will also feature narrative stage talks throughout the day, led by the Kentucky Folklife Program. The Kentucky Folklife Program and WKU Folk Studies students will be recording the event through video and oral history interviews that document Kentucky’s unique metal working artisans and their craft.
Local food trucks Big T’s Bar-B-Q will be onsite.
Finally, the museum will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and invites the public to view their recently opened Stitches in Time: 200 Years of Kentucky Quilts exhibition.
More information and the event schedule are provided at wku.edu/go/hammerin
Special thanks to our sponsors, Logan Aluminum. Established in 1985 and based in Russellville, Logan Aluminum is the largest single can sheet facility in North America, supplying over 45% of the North American can market and employing over 1,300 Kentuckians.
About the Kentucky Museum
The Kentucky Museum celebrates all aspects of southcentral Kentucky’s art, history and culture. “Kentuckians need to know Kentucky” was the Museum’s earliest conceptual framework, which took shape under WKU’s founding President, Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry. Today, the Museum is a steadfast educational campus partner helping to inspire innovation, elevate community and transform the lives of WKU students and the region. To learn more, visit wku.edu/kentuckymuseum/
For more information, contact Tiffany Isselhardt at (270) 745-3369.