FROM FLY FISHING TO VICTORIAN JEWELRY TO KNIFE MAKING
RENFREW’S HERITAGE DAY HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Learn to tie a fly the way it was done in the 18th century, watch a mastersmith produce a knife blade, and observe an on-site weaving of human or horse hair to add to Victorian-era jewelry.
All this and much more await visitors to Renfrew’s Heritage day, now in its second year and growing, especially in the number and types of artisans. There will be more demonstrations, more original programming featuring objects made in the time period when the Museum House was built, and of course, there will be music, hay rides, a petting zoo, and food.
Ken Reinard, fly fisherman extraordinaire, knows not only how to tie flies and use them but also the history of this art. “What it now considered the English tradition of fly tying started in Macedonia, around the 3rd century A.D.,” he noted. He has also written a book on “The Colonial Angler’s Manual of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying.” He has been fly fishing for over 50 years and taught others how to do so for some 30 years. He became hooked (pardon the pun) from childhood, learning from his father who was a blacksmith at Landis Valley Museum.
Reinard will be displaying everything needed to fly fish, including flys, tackle, nets, and hook-making equipment, showing how these can be made from needles or nails. And he will be doing fly-tying demonstrations. “I usually like to do a period representation, portraying a wealthy individual who had time to go fishing.”
From flys to knives, Jay Hendrickson, Mastersmith with the American Bladesmith Society (ABS), will create a knife blade especially for Heritage Day. “I bring a stump with the anvil on it and a little gas forge to heat up the metal,” he explained. “The work is all hand-done using no machinery.”
Hendrickson has been forging blades for over 40 years. “I like to hunt and for that you need a knife. I wanted to make my own. Then I met William (“Bill”) Moran, a master knifesmith, and became even more involved. Hendrickson is a former president and now Board member of the ABS and President of the Moran Foundation in Frederick.
Joining him will be other knifesmiths who will be available to respond to questions and are also ABS mastersmiths. “Every couple of months we meet at the Moran shop and train those who are interested in this art and on October 12 there will be a show at the Moran Shop in Frederick, Md., “ he added. Some Moran knives will also be available for purchase on Heritage Day.
Lucy Cadwallader practices an almost lost art –hair weaving. Very popular during the Civil War and the Victorian era, it involved weaving the hair of a loved one into a piece of jewelry. Cadwallader notes that she “became interested in this through my experiences as a Civil War reenactor. “
This art form is considered a symbol of love as “it is very personal to have someone’s hair,” said Cadwallader. In fact, as she explains on her website, when Abraham Lincoln was courting Mary Todd he sent her some hair jewelry.
Today she often receives commissions from the public who send her hair to memorialize a personal loss, survival from a serious illness, or even the passing of a favored pet.
At Heritage Day she will be demonstrating how to weave hair and will also have items from bracelets to brooches available for purchase.