Local Blacksmith Shop to Host Fair

Photo by Dennis Evanosky

Pilgrim Faire celebrates days prior to Machine Age

The medieval blacksmith worked with anvil, tongs and bellows. His shop seemed a magical place. He fashioned iron, the "black" metal, into weapons, armor and shields. He worked at his forge making objects needed to build and shape society: hammers and nails, axes and pokers; even decorative objects.

This set him apart from those who fashioned the "white" metals, silver and gold, into more delicate objects. His workplace, his forge, gave his trade a name.

The Old Norse word smÞian (pronounced "smith-ee-an") means to forge. The coming of the Machine Age lessened the blacksmith’s role in our society, but don’t tell Grant Marcoux that.

"Smiths were the link between the ordinary person and the technology of the day," he said. "Smiths were generally skilled at not only making and repairing metal objects, but working in wood, leather and fabric as well."

Marcoux, pictured above, is keeping this tradition alive at Alameda Point’s Pilgrim Soul Forge, where he plies his trade fabricating repairing and restoring metal objects.

"I also duplicate historic metal items and offer hand-made custom cutlery for kitchen, field and military users," he said.

From noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 30, Marcoux will celebrate his trade and the trades of others who promote a self-sufficient urban agriculture. He will host the fourth annual Pilgrim Soul Forge Harvest Fair and open his shop to members of the public so they can enjoy the crafts designed by local artisans. These include a felt-maker; a pair of glass workers (one works with blown glass and another who fashions fused glass); a bag-maker and a jeweler.

Marcoux plans to demonstrate fashioning a tool from an old locomotive suspension spring at the fair. Fairgoers can treat themselves to a massage and a cup or two of Buelah’s Bean coffee while listening to the sounds of the Doggone Blues Band; admission is free.

Pilgrim Forge is located at 101 West Tower Ave.