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11th annual Fire on the Mountain schedule of events

11th annual Fire on the Mountain schedule of events



Lee Sauder began blacksmithing in 1973 at age 12, the same time he began his apprenticeship to Larry Mann. He has been a member of the Artist-Blacksmiths Association of North America since 1974.

After a two-year flirtation with higher education, Sauder’s journeyman years included stints with OK Barnes, of Camden, Maine, Chris Axelson, of Carmel, California, and Vaclav Jaros, of Prague. He returned home to Lexington, Virginia, to take over Woods Creek Forge from Larry Mann in 1984. He has continued in the blacksmithing business, forging sculpture, custom furniture and architectural iron.

He is perhaps best known in the blacksmithing community for his research into ancient ironsmelting techniques. Sauder moved his forge to his home on the south slope of House Mountain, near Lexington, Virginia, in January 2009 and renamed his business Germinal Ironworks.


Ongoing Exhibits

• April 26-29 – Annual Blacksmith Exhibit at the Toe River Arts Council in Spruce Pine featuring work by blacksmiths from the southeast and beyond.

• April 27-29 – “Speaking Volumes” in the ARC Center upstairs at TRAC, a special show curated by Lee Sauder.


Friday, April 28

Master Blacksmith Demonstration Workshop

9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Master Workshop led by Lee Sauder at Daniel Beck Studio in Spruce Pine. Email Stacey Lane at staceylane@penland.org for details.

Gallery Reception

5-7 p.m. – TRAC Annual Blacksmith Exhibit closing reception

Join blacksmiths and guests for food and drinks in celebration of the festival’s 11th year. Awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m.


Saturday, April 29

Festival Downtown from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Blacksmith Demonstrations on Lower Street sponsored by Spruce Pine Main Street, Penland School of Crafts and Haywood Community College

• 10 a.m. – Seth Gould

• 11:30 a.m. – Lee Sauder

• 1 p.m. – April Franklin

• 2:30 p.m. – Lee Sauder


Vendor booths (Lower Street)

• A variety of smiths and tool vendors display and sell their work with some booths featuring live demonstrations.


Forging competition (above Main Street Central Park)

• A spirited competition for blacksmiths of all levels. This year the challenge is forging spoons. Participants are given a rod of iron, minimal tools and an hour to complete their best spoon. The public watches and judges at the end of the day. The winner receives a bronze spoon made by Rachel Kedinger. Email staceylane@penland.org to sign up.


Hands-On Tent (Lower Street)

• Sponsored by Penland School of Crafts, blacksmith volunteers assist the public in learning to forge garden stakes. Email Stacey Lane at staceylane@penland.org to volunteer.


Penland School of Crafts Campus Events (Saturday evening)

• 6 p.m. at Penland School Iron Studio

Pigroast – This event is for booth vendors, demonstrators, gallery exhibitors and festival volunteers.

• 8 p.m. at the Flex Space at Penland 

Master Blacksmith Lecture by Sauder


Sunday, April 30

(NEW) Blacksmith Open Studio Tour

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Several local smiths open their studios for visits. Stop by to see their latest projects and explore different studio setups. Grab a map for this tour at the Spruce Pine Main Street booth or find the information on the Facebook page.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616