TRAC hosts annual Blacksmith Exhibition

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Article Published: Mar. 13, 2013 | Modified: Mar. 13, 2013
TRAC hosts annual Blacksmith Exhibition

The Toe River Arts Council Gallery in Spruce Pine is hosting its annual Blacksmith Exhibition March 23 to April 27.

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It’s going to be a hot time in the ol’ town from March 23 through April 27 at the Toe River Arts Council Gallery in Spruce Pine.

It’s the annual Blacksmith Exhibition, held in conjunction with the Fire on the Mountain Festival April 27.

The exhibition showcase will display a variety of metal work from festival participants. This year’s featured artist is John Medwedeff, who has been working with metal since his first experience at age 9. According to Medwedeff, it was a hobby that became a passion, which then became a career.

At 19, he started blacksmithing, and even after 30 years, he hasn’t stopped. Medwedeff’s work is public art in major cities throughout the United States. In addition to his large-scale projects, he also creates personalized and unique elements for any environment – from garden gates, doorway décor and stairwell railings to fireplaces, bed frames and dishes.

The partnership between festival organizers and the Toe River Arts Council has quickly proven a boon for blacksmiths, an event organizer said. Any participant in Fire on the Mountain can submit work for exhibition — professional or amateur, young or old. And as in past years, the exhibition will feature work from all over the region.

Matching the variety in place of origin is the variety of styles. Some of the work rates high on a practicality scale, from hinges and sconces to andirons and utensils. Other pieces are strictly for the senses, offering experiential challenges.

“Some work brings smiles to the faces of the viewers, while others invite a mood of contemplation and introspection,” an exhibition spokesperson said. “Under the heading of ‘work in metal,’ one finds the most exciting proliferation of creative expression. Whatever the style, whatever the purpose or birthplace of the metal work, Spruce Pine continues to be the premier setting for celebrating this ageless craft.”

Before the big finale of smoke, sparks, heat, sweat and the cacaphony of hammers on metal, visitors are invited to see what happens after the fires are put out and the metal cooled — a space filled with structures still bearing the scars of tumultuous beginnings. Visitors are also invited to come meet the artists Friday, April 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Spruce Pine Gallery reception.

The Fire on the Mountain Festival is sponsored by Spruce Pine Main Street in collaboration with Penland School of Crafts. For more information about the festival, visit, or call (828) 765-3008. For more information about the Penland demonstrations, visit

The Spruce Pine Gallery is located at 269 Oak St. in downtown Spruce Pine. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the Blacksmith Exhibition, call the Toe River Arts Council at (828) 765-0520, or visit

Gallery Times

Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.

For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or (828) 264-6397.

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