Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WOW! I actually GOT IT!!

I headed out the front of the workshop (first time today) about 2:30 in the afternoon.

I've got a letter from the Ontario Arts Council.
I'm expecting, well, not much more than 'thanks for applying, maybe next time'.

Dear Darrell Markewitz

On behalf of the Ontario Arts Council, I am pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant in the amount of...A cheque is enclosed.

Huh - a cheque?
It's for 3/4 the amount I applied for?
I got the grant??

Ok, so I'm still a bit in shock.

Here's what my 'Artist Statement and Grant Proposal' looked like:

The very first time I picked up the blacksmith's hammer was a direct result of my interest in ancient artifact and process. Objects from the Celtic Iron Age and Scandinavian Early Medieval periods continue to influence my developing personal style. There was virtually no existing living tradition of artistic blacksmithing in Canada when I started in the late 1970's. For that reason, my skills have been hard earned, and the transfer of methods into a new generation have become more and important to me into my fourth decade in the medium.

With experience has come a clear understanding that our modern materials are not equivalent to historic, much less ancient, metals. The ancient material is bloomery iron, produced by lost techniques, with no living tradition (in Europe), no written descriptions, even virtually no archaeology. How did ancient craftsmen make their raw material? This question has absorbed me for over a decade. Since 2001 I have self funded some 50 bloomery iron smelting attempts, and have observed or assisted in as many others (with travel to the USA and Europe). There is no other Canadian with as much experience with these methods, and few others in North America.

The results of all this work are dozens of iron blooms, several hundred kilograms worth. The next step in the experiential process is converting these massive and spongy blooms into working bars, by compressing, folding and forge welding. Individual iron blooms have a distinctive texture, caused by inclusions of slag, and can vary considerably in carbon content, sometimes even within the same bloom. These are significant differences compared to modern industrial steels, affecting the working processes in the forge, and also creating specific qualities to the finished object.

The purpose of this grant is to cover three months dedicated time to allow me to develop a practical understanding of how to convert my existing raw blooms into working bars. This process is further complicated by having blooms from different ore types and furnaces, individual blooms having quite differing physical characteristics. If time permits, the various metal bars produced could be combined into finished objects. The budget covers normal shop operation expenses, living costs, plus fuels and other needed supplies for the specific project work.
My existing workshop will have to be modified (then returned) for the specific tools and set ups required for these processes.
Also included in the proposal are funds to cover travel to a two week workshop gathering (in mid March) of the other primary leaders of the 'Early Iron' movement in Virginia.
Part of the process would be to publish my results, via web site and blog certainly, possibly also through formal papers or journal articles.

Look - I'm intending to document the day by day progress of the work covered by the grant. Right now I'm still twitching. I managed to get this blog set up. My brain is not tracking evenly right now, so give me a chance to recover...

1 comment:

February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE