How the Guild got started

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Darryl Ponder
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How the Guild got started

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:12 pm

How It All Started
by Paul Hubler

The Guild of Metalsmiths was formed in September 1976. I give credit to four people for being the founders of The Guild: Dave Christofferson , Mark Nichols, Pieter Maas and Dan Crawl [sic] (Kral). Bob Olson called me in the middle of the week and said they are going to form a blacksmithing organization at Gibbs Farm on Sunday. So, Sunday I went over there and pretty soon Bob Olson comes over. It started to snow a little bit and we set there talking for about an hour. About the middle of the next week I get another call from Bob, he says, "Oh no, it wasn't last week it is this week." So we went over there again, This time a number of people showed up and we set about trying to organize a blacksmithing organization.

When the name of what we should call it came up there were a lot of arty names that were kicked around. Finally Greg Wind said, "Why not just The Guild of Metalsmiths," and that is how it was named. We took up a collection of a couple of bucks a piece and then we were in business Pieter Maas was the interim president, I don't know who the officers were but Mark was in there as secretary or treasurer or something. They went about formalizing a corporation. We set our meeting nights for Wednesday every month. We met Wednesday nights, we had pot luck dinners at different places around the city and at other peoples shops.

Our first Madness was at Gibbs Farm. Everybody brought their own forge and we forged and talked and played around. A lot of forging, nothing structured, no demonstrator or anything. Joe De La Ronde came around and he put on a little demonstration for us and we had a contest. From there we went on and started to get involved in some of the art fairs. We would make a deal with an art fair that we would demonstrate if we could sell our wares. So we did that at a few art fairs.

Probably our second Madness we had a pig roast. So we just all forged and had a pig to eat after 5 o'clock. Then one year Lou Chowen was raising pigs and he said he would raise one for us. So, we spend $25 and bought a pig and Lou raised it. When it came time for the Madness I went up and got the pig, took him over to my brother-in-law's father and we shot the pig. We boiled him to loosen up the hair and scraped him-got him all ready.

Then we moved our Madness over to the Minnesota School of Horsehoeing. We had at least three Madnesses over there. We never did hire a demonstrator. I demonstrated a few times and other people demonstrated. We had the contest of making a ring or latch hook and over there we started the anvil toss. Then we started having an auction at our Madnesses to make a little money so that we could proceed.

Maxine George started being the editor of the newsletter and she was the one who started the cartoon, "Gilda". By this time our newsletter was turning into a little magazine. One year Mouraine, myself, David Christofferson and Mike Knott put the newsletter together at a community center in St. Paul. Mouraine typed, I set up the paste up and xeroxed the newsletter. We did that for about one year.

The Guild had a gallery in Owatonna. For the opening of the gallery a bunch of us went down there and put on a demonstration at the gallery. One other time we went down to Fairmont and put on a demonstration down there for a historic site that was just getting started. Then we started teaching classes up in Anoka at the Minnesota School of Horseshoeing and Blacksmithing. We usually did this after Christmas--January, February and March. This continued to grow and grow and we have been teaching seven or eight classes a year and over fifteen this year.
Paul Hubler.jpg
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Paul Hubler and Bob Short work on the roast pig for the Gibbs Farm Festival.

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