There are many new faces moving into Siler City that are motivated by what the NC Arts Incubator has to offer. These creative people are buying houses and renovating them, and they are renting studio spaces and bringing with them the skills, knowledge and experiences that are transferable to every day life. Take, for example, Larry Cooper and Karen Stack. Larry is a working blacksmith and Karen is a leather artist. Both have just moved to Siler City from Wisconsin, and were attracted to the area because of its sustainability factor and plan to work collaboratively with small scale organic farmers. Both are interested in integrating their knowledge, experience, and skill of working with lower levels of technology into the community, while Larry is even prepared to bring his experience as a scythe instructor to the area. During a recent visit, Karen was in the process of setting her studio up in the Arts Incubator, while Larry was faced with a few challenges of setting up a foundry in a space across the street from the Incubator.
They describe themselves as “process people” as their intention is not to work towards a final product or end result, but to examine what develops as they are working and how it can be applied to different situations. Larry has been a blacksmith since 1986 and has amassed many creative architectural iron works that include furniture, fireplaces, gates, fences, etc. He is also been busy developing high quality garden tools such as the scythe and the broadfork. Karen’s repertoire includes knitting, spinning wool, designing clothing and accessories from leather, and creating high level mandolin straps.
Check out: http://www.toolingtherevolution.com/ to learn more about Larry Cooper’s adventure in scythe making and with other tools. You can also read more about him in a recent article from the Wall Street Journal entitled,
Who Needs a WeedWacker When You Can Use a Scythe? (don’t miss the video!):