Forged in Fire: Celebrating Blades & Bladesmiths

Forged in Fire: Celebrating Blades & Bladesmiths
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Arkansas Arts Council
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Jun 17, 10:00AM
Jun 17, 07:00PM
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Arkansas, US
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Scarlet Sims

Artist Services Manager

Master bladesmith Lin Rhea will be honored at a free reception 4-7 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock. The reception is part of the “Forged in Arkansas” celebration and opening of the museum’s Knife Gallery. Several of Rhea’s knives will be on display, and Rhea will give an artist talk during the event.

Read more about Lin Rhea in this blog post.

The grand re-opening of the Knife Gallery at Historic Arkansas Museum will be an all day, free event for the public.

Agenda for the day:

  • 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Activities for the whole family on the HAM grounds and the museum center.
  • 11 a.m. – Noon – Cutting competition hosted by Jerry Fisk and friends in the space adjacent to the Parker Westbrook Farmstead. (rain cancels)
  • 1:30 p.m. - Knife Gallery grand re-opening ceremony
  • 2-4 p.m. – Talks by knife scholars and bladesmiths
    • 2-2:30 p.m. - The Future of the Forge, a moderated panel discussion with Bob Baldridge, Daniel Casey and Ricardo Vilar
    • 2:20-3:10 p.m. - Mark Zalesky discusses the James Black knives*
    • 3:15-4:15 p.m. - Lin Rhea and friend discuss making replicas of James Black knives for educational purposes.*
    • *Note: Exact times and details are not exact.
  • 4-7 p.m. – 2023 Arkansas Living Treasure award ceremony and reception hosted by the Arkansas Arts Council

In 2001, Historic Arkansas Museum opened The Knife Gallery, the first gallery in the country dedicated to telling the story of the bowie knife and bladesmithing in America. After 20 year, the gallery has been refurbished to introduce new historical and modern blades – and take a deeper dive into the history of the bowie knife, the art of the forged blade and Arkansas’s role in knife history.

Fifty knives will be on display – ranging from historical knives, like Bowie No. 1 (1830) attributed to James Black, to original, contemporary creations from master bladesmiths like Jerry Fisk. The gallery will examine James Black and Jim Bowie, the establishment of the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing in partnership with the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation in 1988 and the future of this heritage trade.

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