If only horseshoes come to mind at the mention of blacksmithing, you’re missing out on a rich decorative tradition.
When William Mauser of Battery Creek Forge brings his coal-fired forge back to Claudius Crozet Park this weekend for the fall edition of the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival, visitors can see what it takes to twist and bend glowing iron into practical items with flair. Mauser, who’s among more than 100 arts and crafts exhibitors at the event, transforms iron into everything from bottle openers and drawer pulls to sizable chandeliers and furniture.
“He does a lot of traditional hand-forged iron work,” said Amanda Polson, the festival’s director. “It’s really fun to watch that red-hot iron.”
Glass artist Bonnie Scott of Joyful Adornment Mobile Glass Studio will be showing visitors how a little time under a torch can turn a dollop of glass into beads or buttons to wear for years. She will present demonstrations throughout the weekend.
Meanwhile, painter Meg West can be seen creating landscape paintings at her hometown festival. She focuses on capturing scenes from Albemarle County, the Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounding scenery, and her booth will give visitors a chance to see paintings at different stages in the process from canvas to keepsake.
“Meg is a plein air painter, so she’s used to painting in all kinds of situations,” Polson said.
“I’ve been trying to get more demonstrations, especially at the fall festival. It’s special to see someone at work actually creating the pieces. It gives you a new appreciation for what’s going on.”
Meeting artists and speaking with them about the creative processes behind their wares is part of what makes the Crozet event special for visitors, but it’s also rewarding for the exhibitors. Polson said that the demonstrations give artists a chance to see their work through visitors’ eyes, and the resulting communication enriches both parties.
“When we get involved with art, sometimes we don’t realize that people don’t know what goes into it,” she said.
Saturday’s entertainment will be provided by Americana and folksinger-songwriter Sue Harlow at 11 am., Skyline Country Cloggers at 1:15 p.m. and Annabeth McNamara at 4 p.m.
The Western Albemarle High School Jazz Band will open Sunday’s entertainment schedule at 10 a.m., followed by the band Nobody’s Business at 2:30 p.m.
There will be music in the children’s area, too, thanks to Kim and Jimbo Cary in the music tent.
Charlottesville Waldorf School will be back with plenty of hands-on activities in the children’s area, and volunteers from Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church will be back with the baby comfort station for little visitors who need a break.
Lunches and snacks will be available from Blue Ridge Kettle Korn, Covina del Sol, The Pie Guy and Lions Club members. For grownups, there will be Virginia draft beer and Virginia wine by the glass. Selections on tap will include Bold Rock ciders, Blue Mountain Full Nelson, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager and Starr Hill Last Leaf; options for swirling in your souvenir festival glass include Blue Mountain Vineyard Moscato, Cardinal Point Quattro, Barren Ridge Tourriga and Gabriele Rausse Cabernet Sauvignon. Over in the Park Cafe will be Shenandoah Joe’s 400 West High blend coffee, black and herbal teas and hot apple cider.
Volunteers keep the festival running smoothly, and there’s still time to sign up if you’d like to pitch in; folks who donate their time get free admission in return.
The festival has features to appeal to the whole family, but four-footed members should stay home. Plenty of the items in the booths are easily broken.
“We’re hoping for really nice weather, but we’ll be here rain or shine,” Polson said.
“The drive out there is just stunning right now. It’s worth it just for the scenic drive.”