This basket-weave punched and chiseled design will be featured at this year’s “Hammer-In.” (Judy Kersh — Contributed)

The Willow Creek-China Flat Museum in Willow Creek is sponsoring its annual “Hammer-In” now through Saturday.

The event, in its 19th year, is designed to inform and educate the public about the blacksmithing tradition.

More than 20 local and visiting blacksmiths are taking part this year. They began working Thursday morning and will be at the Blacksmith Shop — located behind the Willow Creek-China Flat Museum — throughout the day Friday and Saturday. Most of the activity takes place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The public is invited to stop by and check out the blacksmiths at work. Several workshops are also planned throughout the event.

“Local smiths participating … are Mike Cahill and Herb Zeck from Eureka. Dick Fedder, Mike Ramos and Wendy Lawrence are from Arcata. Blacksmith instructors this year are Danny Ide from Old Shasta Historic Park and Glenn Grigsby from Weaverville Museum,” said Judy Kersh, who is co-chairing the Hammer-In along with Stan Pfister.

Local Smiths Mike Ramos and Mike Cahill try out a wood-fired forge.(Judy Kersh — Contributed)

“We also support and foster preserving the art and craft of blacksmithing by proving a forum in which the smiths can teach, share and collaborate,” Kersh said. “Many of them consider this event an annual reunion. It is creativity at its best.”

Blacksmithing has a long and varied history.

“Smithing … began around 1500 B.C. in the Mediterranean … and by the 1600 (to) 1800s were essential members in villages and towns,” Kersh said. “The smith designed, created and installed virtually everything: tools, nails, horseshoes, axes, plows, hinges, scissors and surgical tools, to name a few. The smith would also keep them in repair. The industrial revolution and the advent of cheaply produced metal products signaled the demise of the village smith. It has become a ‘dying art form.’”

The Hammer-In is working to keep blacksmithing alive. The event also includes a smoked ribs dinner with all the fixings. The cost of the meal — which also includes tri-tip, beans, corn and salads — is $12. To make reservations to eat, call Kersh at 707-498-2249. For more information about the Hammer-In, call 707-498-2249 as well.

The Willow Creek-China Flat Museum, located at 38949 State Route 299 in Willow Creek, was formed in 1989 as a way to educate and celebrate the region’s rich diversity.

“From the earliest days, the museum took the education portion seriously,” Kersh said. “The WCCFM also funds an annual educational scholarship available through the Humboldt Area Foundation.”

Quilt show

Also taking place in Willow Creek this weekend is the By-the-River Quilt Stitchers’ fifth annual “Hanging Out by the River” quilt show. Quilts will be displayed along State Route 299 in Willow Creek from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The quilts, Kersh said, are the product of a group of stitchers residing along both the Trinity and Klamath rivers. In addition to the viewing, handmade items will be available to purchase.

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