Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant FY20

The North Dakota Council on the Arts has a Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program that “is designed to honor and encourage the preservation of North Dakota’s diverse living traditions by providing grants that allow master traditional artists to pass their skills and knowledge to apprentices on a one-to-one basis over an extended period of time.” We were encouraged to apply for this program to help us continue to study under the master blacksmith Doug Swenson of Goose Prairie Forge and were lucky enough to be funded from July 2019-April 2020.

Work Schedule

The general outline of the work we intend to do and the things we intend to learn includes the following:

  1. Topic: Shop safety; Technique: drawing down; Project: hammer
  2. Technique: twisting, bending over anvil edges; Project: hammer
  3. Topic: Basic metallurgy; Technique: forging tool steel; Project: hammer, chisel
  4. Technique: hardening tool steel; Project: hammer, chisel
  5. Technique: hammer technique; Project: spearhead
  6. Project: spearhead
  7. Technique: shouldering; Project: shears
  8. Technique: grinding, sharpening edge tools; Project: shears
  9. Technique: hot punching, riveting; Project: shears
  10. Project: building the forge
  11. Project: building the forge
  12. Project: building and using the forge
  13. Project: candleholder
  14. Project: candleholder
  15. Project: fire striker
  16. Project: fire striker, sheep bell
  17. Project: sheep bell
  18. Technique: fire weldingwelding Welding is a process that joins metal by using high heat to melt the parts together and allowing them to cool, causing fusion. Welding is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal.; Project: iron chain
  19. Project: iron chain
  20. Project: iron chain
  21. Project: cooking utensils
  22. Project: cooking utensils
  23. Project: axe
  24. Project: axe
  25. Project: axe
  26. Project: axe

Project List

  • Viking Age forge ✓
  • Fire striker ✓
  • Candleholder ✓
  • Iron chain ✓
  • Chisel ✓
  • Cooking utensils ✓
  • Shears ✓
  • Hammer ⊙
  • Axe ⊙
  • Spearhead ⓧ
  • Sheep bell ⓧ

That’s a lot of projects and a lot of hammering! The biggest challenge, however, will be squeezing it into everyone’s busy schedules.