To help celebrate our “Explore the Crafts” event today and tomorrow, we’re featuring two of the talented craftsmen who share their talents and play such an important role in our guest experience. We hope you enjoy “meeting” our tinsmith and blacksmith and will be inspired to join us on Fri. July 23 and Sat. July 24 to explore your own creativity during our “Explore the Crafts” event at Sauder Village!
Starting his 15th season at Sauder Village, tinsmith Mike Runyon continues to stay busy making reproductions of 18th and 19th century tinware. To help with Pioneer Settlement, Mike did much research and made tinware for inside many of the historic homes. “I love finding old pieces and figuring out how they are made,” Mike shared. “I also love doing the research – not just on tin or a particular object, but rather research on the lives of everyday people.”
Mike enjoys the opportunity to interact with guests visiting the Historic Village. “I really enjoy the kids who come to visit – I just love their curiosity,” Mike shared. Through the years, Mike has found the most popular items in his shop to be the tin icicles for Christmas trees and the many unique cookie cutters he shapes from tin.
Early this summer Mike worked with other noted tinsmiths to plan a Tinner Convergence at Sauder Village. Tinsmiths and coppersmiths from across the country gathered in Archbold to learn historically accurate methods of tinsmithing, discover new techniques and share ideas.
During our Explore the Crafts event, guests can visit Mike in the Tin Shop to make a small tin heart cookie cutter on Friday, July 23rd!
While still a fairly new member of the Sauder Village family, blacksmith Simon Tomell has certainly gained the respect of the staff and guests. Now in his 4th season at the Village, Simon shared that he truly loves the Sauder Village environment. “I really enjoy the staff and the opportunity to work in such an authentic setting,” Simon shared.
While Simon’s day-to-day projects often include smaller items like candle snuffers, hooks and flint strikers, he has also been commissioned to make larger pieces for individuals. One of his most recent projects includes a 3 foot high cross to be placed on the altar of an outdoor church near Adrian, Michigan. He is currently making decorative and functional brackets – to help reinforce the balcony on a timber-frame home in Northwest Ohio. Simon also made many items for our Pioneer Settlement project including hinges for the doors, cooking utensils and tools for the outdoor bake oven. And in this age of “green” products, it is interesting to learn that Simon can be found recycling in his shop. “Scrap metal often lends itself to a specific project,” Simon shared. “Coil springs can often be recycled and used to make flint strikers.”
Interested in learning more about blacksmithing? Guests age 16 and older will have an opportunity to try blacksmithing this Friday and Saturday, July 23 & 24.
The artists we’ve featured, as well as our potter, glassblower, spinners, weavers, basket makers, quilters, broom makers, woodworkers, coopers and native weavers, all carry on skills that were vital to everyday life at the time the Black Swamp was settled. We hope you will join us to meet our craftsmen and explore your own creativity during our “Explore the Crafts” event this Friday and Saturday.