A short note about the October monthly meeting at Touchstone. This was my first experience with Touchstone, I was very pleased at what the group was exposed to. The folks at Touchstone were very accommodating to our group. We had hoped for a larger turnout but with the 36 people that had attended I’m sure they were all pleased at the facility and the two meals provided. The day started with a very nice breakfast in the meeting/eating facility. The entire group attended the Blacksmithing program led by Denise a gentleman from Indiana Pa. He explained the proper metals to use with his trade and the proper heat to use and how to use the heat to your advantage. His demonstration was how to build a door latch system which at first glance seemed easy enough, well after watching Denise for 45 to 60 minutes I think most all attending had a new appreciation for his craft. The Blacksmithing building at Touchstone was very impressive with 12 workstations and the amount of room you have to work.
From there the group split into 2 groups to attend the other two venues. Some went to Fine Metals which is mostly about jewelry making and working with decorative metals. The other group attended a class on pottery. The Fine Metals class was not directly related to how Fine Metals worked with wood but, it was interesting enough for most attending to think of ways we could use this process in our woodworking at some point possibly. The instructor was a young man with a background that was very extensive in building jewelry, small intricate boxes with springs and latches. Very delicate work that took in my opinion the patients of a surgeon.
The class on Ceramics and Porcelain was very interesting and the craftsman demonstrating the procedure was very good at his craft. As he explained his work and the properties of his substrate he worked his clay into handles for cabinets. With the ease of talking and working he made it look like walking and chewing gum. He knew his craft well, there was not a question that he could not answer for us. He explained the difference between porcelain and ceramic. Porcelain is much harder and much more pure of a medium to work with. He explained about using color in his work and how to establish the colors in the clay.
The entire group returned to the meeting area for a wonderful lunch prepared by the staff. The food served that day was all homemade and was just great. And the sweet potato bisque was outstanding. From the comments of many attendees I believe our field trip was a success. We look forward to all of you attending our next field trip.
For anyone thinking of a school for learning and advancing your skill as a crafts person you would be pleased with Touchstone. From the beginning with organizing this trip to the day of our visit the people at Touchstone were professional. This is truly a hidden gem in our local area that should be considered when wanting to attend a school for the crafts. They do not offer a woodworking class but in the curriculums that they do offer they offer you highly skilled professional teachers that you will be pleased with.