Thursday, September 24, 2015

Forging an Entrance

Seth Barchowsky is an artist.  A tall, strong artist who happens to work with metal.  Steel.  Iron.  Bronze.  And fire.  Hot coal fire.  And hammers, and vices, and tongs.  And an amazingly skilled eye, and beautiful vision for what he wants to create.

He also happens to be a tremendously nice guy, and Rupert's neighbor.  Aaaaand, you can see where THAT leads.  Yep.  Seth's making us something for Fair Hill.  Two things, actually.  Two HUGE, impressive gates for the VIP Tent entrance.  Which, if the finished products are anything like the pieces and the sketch I saw this morning, are going to be spectacular.

The Dutta FHI logo, which will be inset in each gate
Seth is old school.  He's been working with metal for 14 years.  Before that, he was a woodworker.  He believes in the aesthetics of his work.  He wants the things he makes to look like they have always been there.  Like they belong there.  He takes stock steel and heats it up and bangs on it for a while simply to give it texture.  To make it more aesthetically pleasing.

And then he makes amazingly detailed, intricate things.  Twisted metal rods that gently hold your wine bottle for you, and your wine glass, too.  Beautiful, bronze finished flowers.  Leaves that magically appear out of a piece of recycled steel rod.  Horses (his wife is a horsewoman, and he lives on a horse farm).  Foxes.  Hoof picks.  Lots and lots of hoof picks.

Can't wait to see Seth's gates when he delivers them on Fair Hill Wednesday.  He plans to use the gates as an entrance for his own farm, but if you see them and you love them...  make Seth an offer!  You could walk away with two new gates.  Well, you won't be WALKING anywhere with them.  I'm not sure how Seth is going to move them, but it certainly isn't going to be by hand.

Seth at his coal-burning forge
Bronzed flowers
How does a piece of metal just become a leaf?
Kind of like this - heat up a piece of recycled steel rod from an old building.
Use a fancy mechanical hammer kind of thing to get the shape you desire.
Looking sort of leaf-like, if you squint
Fancy mechanical hammer thing comes from right up the road in Lancaster.
Seth gets a bit more leaf shaping on the mechanical hammer (this is after at least five times in the coal forge)
Hot hot fire, hot hot steel
The final shaping is too delicate for the mechanical hammer.  Seth does this part by hand.
Bang, bang, bang, add in some leafy texture, and Seth has just created a leaf.
That took about 20 minutes and maybe 10 times heating in the forge.
It was pretty well impossible to get a picture of Seth's sketch of the FHI gates.  But just imagine for me.  Here's Seth's sketch.  Next to (and taller than) the six-step ladder.  It's going to be HUGE and AWESOME.
Horse's head, in sketch.  The gate will be an entire horse.
The Dutta FHI logo will be inset in the horse's jaw bone.  But, hey - I'm positive Seth can make YOUR farm's logo out of metal
Thanks, Seth, for a fun and informative morning!  See you again in a few weeks.

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