Fire on the Mountain is an annual celebration of the art of the blacksmith, held the last Saturday in April in downtown Spruce Pine, NC. The event is a partnership between Spruce Pine Main Street, Penland School of Crafts, and the Toe River Arts Council.
Each year, the festival contains: – A month long exhibit of new work by artist blacksmiths, culminating in a closing reception the Friday night before the festival
– A featured Master Blacksmith who demonstrates multiple times at the festival, presents a lecture at Penland School, and conducts a Master Demonstration workshop the Friday before the festival
– Several invited demonstrators who share their talents at the festival – Vendor blacksmiths selling their wares, and demonstrating techniques in their booths – Tool vendors – A free hands-on tent, where the public can sign up to try their hands at blacksmithing, assisted by blacksmith volunteers
2019 Featured Blacksmith at the Festival
John Rais will be the 2019 Master Blacksmith at the Fire on the Mountain Festival.
John has BFA in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has operated his studio business since 1998, where he designs and creates one of a kind furniture, sculpture and architectural metal art. He has had solo and group shows at many places including Purchase College, The National Metals Museum, and Massimo Bizzocchi NYC.
His work is regularly featured in numerous publications including a cover article in Metalsmith Magazine, as well as many books.
In 2012, John Installed a large series of decorative panels for the main staircase at Yale University Art Galleries for the museum’s permanent collection.
Most recently, John Rais Studios was hired to design nearly all of the metalwork for a massive renovation project for a famous Addison Mizner Home in Palm Beach Florida. He is always busy with commissioned work as well as new speculative pieces that continue to be shown and collected internationally.
Sign ups are open for the Youth Forge-On Challenge Demonstration and Adult Forge-Off Competition – (above Main Street Central Park)
Participants are provided with iron stock, minimal tools, and 55 minutes to complete their best work.
The Adult Challenge (18 and older) will be forging candle holders, and is hosted by Penland School of Craft. Participants will receive starting stock of 7″ x 1/4″ x 1″ in size. Each participant will have a small gas forge, anvil, forging hammer and leg vise. Participants are open to bring any other hand tools they want to use during their time slot. Bring your own candle or choose from a selection of stump and taper candles on site.
The Youth (12 to 17 years old) challenge will be forging snakes, and will be hosted by Arthur Morgan School. A guardian must be present for youth to participate, and they must sign a waiver. Youth must have adequate experience to work independently without coaching.
The public is invited to watch as participants forge. At the end of the day a jury of blacksmiths chooses the Adult winner. All youth will receive certificates of participation. To sign up in advance, e-mail email@example.com. We will hold a few spaces for same day signup, too.