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I recently have run into something very disturbing. While applying to craft fairs that I have been to and not been to, I have gotten turned down because the fair already had a blacksmith. At the largest fair, I protested to the person in charge pointing out the multiples of potters, jewelers, painters, and so on. That seemed to have done the trick.

However, I applied at Bear on the Square here in my own town. It is a show I was in last year. I had met Dave Custer (Firery Furnace) there the year before. I taught him how to forge weld that day. There is also Paul from the folk school in NC. They both come as a "package deal" and the jury committee wants to keep them.

That is all well and good, but when I am not let in because three blacksmiths would upset the balance, especially when my work is exactly what they fair wants and they all agreed that my work was excellent. I become less than happy. I let the committee know that I expected to see no more than two potters, painters.... when fair time comes around.

What can be done about this? I am not going to take it, yet I don't want to sue them for discriminating against blacksmiths.

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Definitely not fair-as to how to go from there-not a clue. How about talking to the other 2 guys and see if they will help by talking to the committee for you? Since you've helped one of them maybe he'll return the favor.

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Unfortunately nothing new. I ran into this in the '70's. Even the National shows practice this. So many potters, jewelers, weavers, but only a couple of smiths. It's due to their ignorance. They think we all do the same thing. Probably horseshoes. (Sorry for cussing.) Best thing is to talk with them and show them the variety of work that's being done. Explain you are helping to re-educate the public as to what's being done today. How exciting it is. Good luck!

I was turned down from one National show and then got to see the slides of those that got in. One smith got in with 5 slides of nothing but wall hooks! I went right to the director and complained. I was told that they needed that for their wholesalers. Fine I said then open up more spaces for smiths. You never know what you're dealing with. At least I learned not to take it personal if not accepted to a show, but you still have to make money.

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I did talk with one smith and he is going to write a letter of concern. I have not been able to contact the other yet. I have never seen one blacksmith not back up another one and I really hope that I won't be disappointed.

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I hate to say it but sometimes life isn't fair. I would suspect that the committee has the final say as to who attends and who does not. As for suing on the grounds of discrimination, I don't think blacksmiths are a protected class under Federal law yet (LOL).

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Im doing a festival in Orange Beach Alabama next month with a good friend of mine. we are setting up one forge that we will both share...its so much work that I'm happy to have help...what he sells, he keeps....what I sell, I keep... its a two day event so that is 14hours of forging....
Nothing would be more of a draw than three anvils ringing during your event if you guys could get together....you would most likely sell more together than anyone of you would seperately

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It is probably the noise and smoke they are trying to keep to a minimum. If you guys got together and rotated your set up with maybe one or two anvils and the other smith(s) set up just a table selling premade wares then it might be readily accepted to let more smiths in. You could even demonstarate woking as a team using a striker and forging larger pieces and split the comission on if it sells. In stead of making three dozen leaves and letter openers put up a sign that shows the drawing of a small garden gate, grill, or some other complicated item that will go to the highest bidder on the last day. They may appreciate the people it may draw in on the last day and you will certainly get an invite back.

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I doubt it is the noise and smoke since I traditionally can sell more when I don't demonstrate. As a rule, almost everything I sell is premade and the demo stuff is smallish and quick. I only demonstrated once last year because of health reasons, so they know I can sell without smoke.

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I have run into the exact opposite here in Southern Indiana. Not juried shows mind you, but a very nice craft festival in Cannelton Indiana, on the Ohio river was fine when I brought another smith along last year that the organizer asked if I could get more. I asked my sattalite group, and the October meeting will be the Saturday Demo. The organizers have promised us a city block of street space and will be advertising the evnt and the "Horde" of blacksmiths.
Sometimes the organizers realize that if one blacksmith is a draw, more are more of a draw.

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Steve, Oct this year. PM me and I will send you the exact date when I get home. You would be most welcome.

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Any time I hear the word 'juried' in terms of any event I avoid it. I've had bad experiences regarding so call juried events. Just who are these so called jurers, who appointed them, how do you get to be one, is there some kind of test or national standard you have to pass or meet to become one? I have asked these questions to a lot of people and so far no one seems to have the answer.
What criteria does the smith have to meet to become 'juried" I agree with Randy, most folks, including the 'expert juriers' think that all blacksmiths do the same thing.
Each and every blacksmith has their own niche, the thing we like to do best. I personally prefer making everyday early American colonial items.
The whole juried thing just gets right up my nose, and is definitely one of my pet peeves.
I wish you all the luck in the world Wind.

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I suspect it boils down to one thing: coal.

Although blacksmiths love the smell of coal fires (or at least have fond associations with the smell) it's not generally regarded as pleasant.

Propane (my heat of choice) has the whooshing jet sound, so I couldn't see having five propane burners going either. I don't know what would be worse, keeping them all together, or spreading them out.

It's their event, they get to set the rules. Life's not fair.

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I do see the point of a juried show and I'm glad they do it. It's to try to keep the rif raf out. The people who buy kits and assemble them to sell and the very low end stuff that doesn't belong in a craft show. I did those in the beginning, too, and didn't sell a thing. I did one juried show and we spotted a guy selling stuff he got from overseas. He was immediately thrown out! No, for what we do you want a juried show even with the hassles of getting in.

I've been teaching an Amish shop about forging. They do some real nice work but mainly with King and the like parts that they weld together. Now they want to make their own. They do a show that is indoors in winter so the first year they had a propne forge. Well, that's not allowed any more. They called me to get an alternative heat source. So last year they contacted Grant and bought an induction forge. They do what it takes to get the job done.

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