The Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing. Great place and really friendly people. I wasn't really excited about the class that was happening the week I was there, building a Viking helmet, but the instructor, Dale Morse, let me know I could work on whatever I liked and he'd help as much as possible.
A very open, roomy and bright area for smithing there. Work stations for about 11 people with water-cooled forges of Dale's design.
So this is what they were going to make. I figured, "What the heck, might as well," and dove in.
After the two frame bands were complete, dishing out the 4 separate sections of steel for riveting were done. After that, we could add any sort of embellishment we wanted.
Snake and noseguard enough for me...
During my free time, while the other two gents were catching up, I worked on a few twists.
Then I found out that Fred Crist had a shop there, right next to where I was forging! OK, so who's Fred Crist? I asked. Dale Morse took me down and introduced me to the Foreman of the Yellen Blacksmith shop for 10-15 years! Awesome. We talked awhile and I snapped a few pics of his workspace and art...
I had so much fun at the VIB, and Mr. Morse such a knowledgeable and willing teacher, I decided to accept his offer of staying for an additional day and doing a little forging at his shop.