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Jonathan Chandler prepares for The Virginia School of Traditional Arts second annual open house to be held starting at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday hosted by The Chandler House Bed and Breakfast located at 1087 Bellevue Road in Halifax.

The Virginia School of Traditional Arts’ second annual open house will be held starting at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday hosted by The Chandler House Bed and Breakfast located at 1087 Bellevue Road in Halifax.

Hand crafted items made by local artists will be available for purchase. Bright Meadows Farm will be on site for wine tasting and sales. Free refreshments will be served.

Artists will be offering one of a kind items produced from wood, leather and hand forged steel as well as original paintings. Items for sale include sculptures, wooden toys, baskets, hand forged knives, hand-carved bowls, original paintings on canvas, leather pouches, custom leather dog leashes, puzzles and Christmas ornaments.

Stop by and tour The Chandler House Bed and Breakfast as well as the VSTA shop. Learn about upcoming classes and talk to the artists.

The Virginia School of Traditional Arts is Southern Virginia’s newest nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the skills and artistry of the past by providing individuals of all ages the opportunity to experience traditional arts firsthand. Proceeds from the open house will benefit local artists and support the VSTA mission.

The artistry of the blacksmith, carpenter, cook and horticulturist is just as relevant today as ever. In the past, everyone had these skills honed to perfection by relying on them daily to survive. The VSTA is offering an opportunity to recapture some of that traditional knowledge. Perfect for Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers, gift certificates available, classes are now open, seats are limited, first come first served.

The next two “Basics of Blacksmithing” classes will be offered Saturday, Jan. 11, and Feb. 15, starting at 9 a.m. This course is designed to introduce blacksmithing tools and techniques. Students will learn shop safety, types of forges, tools and types of metal.

Each student will demonstrate pointing, drawing out, tapering, forging starts and stops, hot cutting, scrolling, twisting, punching as well as hot chisel work. The students will use their new skills to forge items to take home. Students will develop their own designs. The possibilities are endless.

The “Basics of Blacksmithing” is a prerequisite to the VSTA advanced series of classes including “The Bladesmith,” “Tool Making” and the “Artist Blacksmith.”

The cost is $85 per person. A parent or guardian must supervise children under the age of 18. Custom dates and times are offered for groups of four or more available upon request.

“The Forged Blade” is a two-day course designed to introduce blade smithing tools and techniques. This class focuses primarily on “Hand Forging” techniques. Metal selection, annealing, hardening, tempering, grinding, polishing and sharpening will be performed. Each student will design and build his or her own custom 10” Bowie Knife from “recycled” material. Cost per student is $165. There will be a limit of four students. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 14 and 15.

Tool making classes “Tongs” is a two-day course designed to introduce tools and techniques used to make your own tongs. Blacksmiths use lots of different tongs for specific jobs. During this class, students will be introduced to the different styles and types of tongs.

Each student will forge the tong jaws and then weld the reins. During this class, students will make a Wolf Jaw tong and one other pair of their choice. Cost per student is $135. There will be a limit of four students. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 18 and 19.

VSTA offers hands on traditional arts classes and demonstrations to the public. Email djchandler@embarqmail.com or call (434) 575-5370 to request a demonstration or to sign up for classes or check them out on the web at http://vsta.homesteadcloud.com/