The Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association will hold a conference, public demonstration and auction in Lockwood on May 20 – 22.

The event attracts dozens of blacksmiths from around the state, according to John Standish, who is hosting the event in Lockwood. Standish explained that the conference gives blacksmithing enthusiasts and artists an opportunity to share and network, as well as a venue to introduce the public to blacksmithing. “We focus on teaching, learning and having fun,” he said.

 On Saturday the public is invited to attend, from 1 to 4 pm, to observe a demonstration that will feature Steve Fontanini from Jackson, Wyoming, who will demonstrate a special project, and other blacksmiths who will demonstrate the skills involved in blacksmithing.

Historically, blacksmithing was a vital skill important to the production of most tools from nails and horseshoes to fabricating farm equipment, hinges, pulleys, etc.  About a fifth of workers identified themselves as blacksmiths in the census reports 150 years ago. Today blacksmithing is considered an art form. Fontanini is a master blacksmith and considered one of its leading artist. He is a designer and builder, who creates using steel, bronze, stainless steel and aluminum. He teaches and conducts demonstrations throughout the country. The exhibition of skills will be followed by an auction from 4-5 pm in which tools, supplies, creations, and art are sold.

Standish is hosting the event at 1634 Hwy 87 East in Lockwood, which is about one-fourth mile east of the intersection of Old Hardin Road and Hwy 87 East. Signs will identify the location.

The visiting public will be asked to check in at a registration table and to wear eye and ear protection equipment while in the demonstration area, which will be provided.

For more information call Standish, (406)860-1405 or email johnmstandish @gmail. com

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