Smoke flies at Simple Times Festival
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
The entrance to the festival was guarded by a red-tail hawk and a barn owl.
Both were exhibited by the Carolina Raptor Center.
The birds sat on their perches, watching the activities below, seemingly right at home Saturday at the Simple Living Festival.
The other exhibits at Dan Nicholas Park made it easy to forget the fast paced world, and relax long enough to turn back the clock. A beautiful spring day and the cool shade made for a good opportunity to visit exhibitors and musicians who are throwbacks to a simpler and easier time.
Jim Sabo of Rockwell taught college for 20 years and high school for 10 more, but he spends much of his free time telling others about blacksmithing.
ěIt is certainly not as easy as some may think. I donít go and carouse the town. This is what I do for fun and demonstration,î he said.
All of his work is done by hand. The processes on exhibit use methods dating from 1750-1830.
Seth Culp and Jason Miller are learning the trade, and they stayed busy making a hook. It takes 15 hours to make four hooks and a fork.
Sabo has a shop in his backyard, and has built much of the equipment that he has on display. His forge was found at a recycling center.
About 100 North Carolina blacksmiths still ply their trade of artist craftsmanship. Each piece is different.
Old-time woodworking was demonstrated by Steve Martin of Rockwell.
On display were spoons, bowls, handles and a baseball bat. Martin doesnít use electricity for his work.
ěThese are skills used for 5,000 years. We might someday need them again,î he said.
Martin loves to share his craft with others. His principal hand tools are a gouge, parting tool, and a skew chisel.
Martin told of a Windsor chair made with the same methods that recently sold at auction for 2[0xbd] million pounds in London.
Seth Randlemanís family was camping in the park, allowing him the opportunity to run the pedal powered lathe.
Sethís brother, Daniel, and cousin, Ty, were paying close attention.
ěOur family has gathered at Dan Nicholas Park for a camping trip. We are here from Davidson, Yadkin, and Sampson counties. The boys love this,î said Sethís mother, Denise.
19th Century photography techniques were being used by David Lamanno of Spencer.
At ěPhotography 1851,î he uses collodion and tintypes to produce what he calls ěVictorian polaroids.î
Collodion is a chemical mixture used in the photographic process.
Lamanno says he is one of only four people in North Carolina who still practice these methods.
ěIt takes about an hour, start to finish, to complete the photo. The camera uses a lens on a rail, with a focus in back. The exposure itself can take up to 30 seconds, so the subject has to sit still for that long,î he said.
The process uses glass or metal to capture the picture. The process is completed in a darkroom.
Varnish is then poured over the finished photo to protect it.
ěThis is a good opportunity for folks to see themselves as their ancestors,î Lamanno said.
Sharon Basinger was on hand to see her son, Jamie, perform with Melissa Adams as Edenís Gate.
It was Basingerís first time at the Simple Living Festival, and she thought the entertainment was a big plus. The music was a blend of fiddle and guitar with moderate vocals that produced a sound that has been heard for generations. Edenís Gate closed their portion of the show with a hauntingly beautiful rendition of ěAmazing Grace.î
While enjoying a prime spot to view the entertainment, Buddy Kyles offered the healthful reasons to buy his natural honey.
ěI have been at this about six or seven years. Store bought honey has been cooked in a big vat and most of the nutrients are lost with the heat,î said Kyles, who is often referred to as ěBuddy the Bee Man.î
Kyles also enjoys going to the festivals and meeting lots of people. He has 11 hives, though the harvest only comes twice a year. The festival seemed more about sharing information, visiting others, good music, and watching the craftsmen work.
It didnít take too much imagination to think back to a time when we all would have taken the opportunity to appreciate these things more.