Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild Show

Metalworking among arts and crafts
genres displayed at annual exhibit

The craftsman guild has grown
to more than 40 members

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (September 2009) – Nick Martin continues to view metalworking as a challenge, even though he has mastered the technique. This young artist is seriously dedicated to keeping an old world tradition alive in the 21st century.

Nick Martin

Photo provided

Nick Martin specializes in
metalworking, often creating
one-of-a-kind, custom-made blades.

“It lets me be creative,” said Martin. He uses fire, an anvil and a hammer to forge handcrafted battle ready blades of all shapes and sizes. He admits there is not a lot of room for error in metalworking, but rather it requires a precise, controlled methodology.
Martin, 22, said he has always been fascinated with woodworking and metalworking. Having had some formal training, he is mostly a self-taught bladesmith through trial and error. His creations range from all types of specialized knife blades and include axes, swords, spears, maces and swallows. He can produce artistic, ornamental ironwork upon request.
“I don’t have a specific style,” said Martin of Bagdad, Ky. “I try not to do the same things twice.”
Martin has set up a forge at his home where he crafts his artwork. His business is known as Autumn Leaf Forge. All blades are heat treated, ensuring proper hardening of the blade.
Martin is one of many artists who will take part in this year’s Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild Show. The show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Henry County Fairgrounds 4-H Building in New Castle, Ky.
“This show gets a little bigger and a little better each year,” said show chairman and secretary of the guild Sharon Silvers. This will be the 10th anniversary for the show, which will be held rain or shine.
“The community really comes together for us,” said Silvers. Sandwiches and desserts will be sold by the Henry County Senior Citizens.
A variety of medium will be represented that includes wood-turned bowls, jewelry, paintings, hand-painted furniture, wooden toys, painted gourds, photography, tobacco art and stained glass art. The Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild started with a dozen members and has increased to 40 current members, said Silvers.
“We really have a wide range of arts and crafts work in our membership,” said guild president Malissa Beatty. As a testament of this, Beatty was asked by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to create a sketch of former President George Bush to present to him when he left office in January 2009.
Guild members live in Henry and surrounding counties and two even live out of state in Wisconsin and Michigan. These latter members have family in Henry County and “remain members so they can participate in our fall show,” said Beatty.
The fall show seems to be popular as it is the time of year when people begin thinking of the holidays, said Beatty. “They come to our show because we have such a wide range of things to choose from.”
Martin said he was first introduced to the guild when he was invited to a meeting. He said he saw it as a great opportunity for artists and was soon juried in. “It’s another outlet for me to get to know people in a similar trade,” he said. “Plus, it’s fun to do.”
Martin is working to increase his inventory so that he will be able to participate in more craft shows in the future. He and several other guild members participated in the recent Renaissance Faire held in Eminence.
“He is very talented,” said Beatty. His work “fit in well at the Renaissance Faire.” All work displayed at the faire had to be representative of what would have been used in 13th century Scotland.
Old world traditional styles, modern styles and fantasy style blades are among Martin’s creations. He has crafted many fantasy blades similar to ones seen in movies, but points out that such blades are not practical. His objective is to turn such creations into useful items.
“If I make it, I design it to be useful,” said Martin who backs his metalworking with a lifetime guarantee. If an item he has made breaks he will fix it or make his customer a new one.
A 5160 grade steel is used for his custom made blades unless a different grade is requested. For his Damascus products, both a 5160 and a 1075 grade steel are used because these two grades have an edge holding capability, are tough and highly durable.
Prices for custom-made metalwork from Autumn Leaf Forge vary according to the project. Once a design has been agreed upon by Martin and his customer, he requires a deposit of half of the agreed upon price before forge work begins.

• For more information on the Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild Show, contact Sharon Silvers at (502) 845-4560. For more information on Nick Martin’s metalwork, contact him at (502) 321-5833 or visit: www.AutumnLeafForge.com.

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