Indian Summer in Colorado

As often happens, by leaving such a time gap in between blog posts, so much happens that it is difficult to tell of it all. Still, I see this as a good sign, for I always prefer to be utterly engrossed in what’s going on NOW. But now it is time for a little catch up…

We had a stunning success of a Smidesfestival in Gränsfors, with more than thirty smiths in attendance, and eight different countries represented. Building on the ideas from last year, this was the next step in a journey to create a unique and valuable event for the blacksmithing community. I hope to see you there next year!

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The winning entry in the forging competition, by my two friends Alex Pole and Rob Hills (ENG). It’s good to be prepared for those really big fish…

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A lovely candleholder by Johan Säftröm (pardon if I misspelled the last name!). Johan, an instructor at Bäckedals Folhögskola, was a pleasure to get to know.

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Another highly creative entry in the competition.

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Fredrik and I went for simplicity this year…I think we spent most of the competition drinking coffee. It did give me a nice chance to help out some of the other participants.

About the same time as the Smidesfestival, I was working on finishing up a tvåflykig skäggyxa (two-lugged bearded axe). This is Fredrik’s favorite axe model to make, and I have been itching to try one. After about a month of working on it an evening here and there, in between other work and other projects in the forge, I was ready to finish. When it came to hardening, though, “PANG!” It cracked right through the blade. This is always a risk, especially with this model of axe. After five minutes of manic laughter and swearwords, I got over myself and went in for the evening…

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Here it is! The crack is almost invisible in this picture, but the form is what is important to me.

As always happens with a setback, there was a certain amount of frustration and self-doubt. Yet I am convinced that this was a good lesson. By going back and looking at all the things I did wrong, I not only developed some new ideas for the next axe, but I developed a great urge to make that next axe. This is the key in my development as a blacksmith: to date I have never forged something that I think is perfect. This keeps the fire alive to continue the search for perfection, keep walking the path to increasing skill. In a way, I hope I never find perfect, unless it is the last axe I ever make.

The next step on my journey was to leave Sweden. It was once again time for my visa to rest and renew itself…much to my annoyance. So I headed back to the USA, not to end my travels, but to take a little sabbatical, visit family, and apply for a long-term work permit for Sweden. If all goes as I wish, my time in the USA will become less and less, and my life in Sweden will grow to becoming full-time.

The first stop on reaching american soil was to visit my sister in LA for a week. Molly is a driven actor, food blogger (check out Thyme for Honey), and overall creative genius, and I got to see her hard at work in the city she loves. There was also time to visit the beautiful Point Dume, a lovely retreat from the busyness of the big city.

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Look at me, controlling the waves!

From California, I made my way back to Colorado, where I jumped into work at my brother’s farm. It is a beautiful Indian Summer here in the front range, hotter than anywhere else in my travels. I am lucky enough to be living in a traditional Mongolian yurt, without electricity or running water. This has allowed me to deeply focus on the important pieces of living, and I am loving every moment of it. I am even in the process of setting up a small forge. More to follow on that, hopefully!

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My house, graciously shared by my good friend Galen and his dog Puka.

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The interior, lovingly hand painted in Mongolia.

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My next door neighbor.

I wish the joys of this season of change on everyone, and may the coming winter bring its fullness of energy. As usual, Leia will get the final word:

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There used to be a 100 kilo anvil on this stump…now there is a 35 kilo dog.

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2 thoughts on “Indian Summer in Colorado

  1. Oh Sam…there you go again!
    Happy to have you within arms reach temporarily here in Colorado. Equally eager to witness you securing a work visa so you can return to the country you love so. Glad I got a tour of the yurt. Looking forward to your presence at end of the year celebrations.

    Mom xox

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