Friday, June 9, 2017

Handmade From The Heart

During the Year of Food & Crafts at Silver Dollar City we’re celebrating our heritage of fine American craftsmanship and honoring the talented and passionate folks who are keeping these time-honored traditions alive as they create one-of-a-kind works of art and demonstrate their crafts for our guests each and every day.

A Rose From The Blacksmith’s Hammer

Silver Dollar City has had a longstanding love and deep respect for the blacksmith. Starting with The City’s first blacksmith and mayor Shad Heller and coming full circle to Weslie Null, our current day “smithie”. Newcomer Weslie Null is our very first lady of the forge and it never gets old for her to hear on a daily basis from the guests as they first walk up to watch her exclaim, “It’s a girl!” She takes it all in stride and says, “If I can get just one person interested enough to pursue blacksmithing further, then I consider it a fantastic day!” 

Silver Dollar City blacksmiths make everything from triangle dinner bells and fireplace sets to the ever-popular roses that are amazing to watch demonstrated…how something so delicate and beautiful can be transformed from metal and fire is nothing short of incredible. Some swear that the roses not only look like an actual rose but also carry the sweet smell. Stop by Wilderness Road Blacksmith Shop located just off The City’s Square to watch Weslie craft something extra special with nothing more than a little metal, fire and a hammer!

The Intricate Work Of A Man And A Lathe

Just down Hill Street before you get to Heartland Home Furnishings you’ll find the Duplicating Lathe perched on the side of the hill with craftsman John Williams at the helm. John can most often be found operating the lathe creating his ever-popular French rolling pins or an old-fashioned noodle cutter like granny used to use from the finest chunks of walnut, cherry, hedge or ash. 

Each piece of wood has its own story to tell and John is just the artisan to make it speak! Originally from Yorkshire, England, John grew up making things to exacting standards. Starting as an apprentice pattern-maker in England at 15, he became a craftsman, creating master parts in wood to be manufactured in metal. He came to the United States and worked in manufacturing for 25 years before coming to Silver Dollar City 13 years ago and the rest as they say is history. Stop by the lathe today to watch John work and meet the man behind the machine.

Handcrafted Pew At Heartland Home Furnishings

Master Crafter Warren Cook is no stranger to sawdust and wood shavings…the man has spent a good part of his life living, breathing and crafting all-wood furniture with a few tools and his bare hands. Step inside Heartland Home Furnishings on Hill Street and get acquainted with some of his very own creations including the newest—The Pew, a simple, yet timeless piece that is begging to grace your entryway or that special little corner nook that needs that extra special something you’ve longed for.

Cook says woodworking is what he was “set to do.” He was teaching high school industrial arts when he first came to Silver Dollar City for a summer job at Heartland Home Furnishings nearly three decades ago. He stayed, becoming a Master Craftsman, hand-building solid wood furniture designed to last for generations. He loves it when guests tell him they bought his furniture 10 or 20 years earlier, and add that it is as sturdy and beautiful as the day they brought it home.

Learn more about all of Silver Dollar City’s resident craftsmen here.

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