blacksmithposter

When Frank DiCesare was assigned by U.S. News and World Report to come to Beaumont for it’s “best Places to Live in the U.S.” report, he thought that the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum would be a good place for some photos.

“I thought it would be a neat place to photograph,” the Sarasota, Fla. native said.

While he was in the gift shop, DiCesare noticed a man with a Mohawk and a bushy beard.

“I introduced myself to him and told him I was with the U.S. News,” DiCesare said. “He said his name was Rob and he was the museum’s blacksmith. I asked Rob if he would be interested in making a short film about blacksmithing. He said yes and we began shooting in early March. We finished in early June.”

The resulting films, “Blacksmith,” and “Fire and Steel,” will premiere at 7 p.m., Oct. 28, at the Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont.  The two-part series, produced by Oskar Films, will explore the art of blacksmithing in poetic documentary form and the efforts made by one local blacksmith to keep the tradition alive.

Blacksmithing is not a huge industry, it is a trade mostly associated with a bygone era. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 blacksmiths in the U.S. while only 10 percent practice it professionally, according to research conducted by National Public Radio. However, it is a skill that, for 42 years, has captured the interest of blacksmith Rob Flurry.

“(My) interest began when I read “The Tales of King Arthur and His Noble Knights” at age five,” Flurry, 55, said. “I wanted a sword and kept that interest until, at 12, I researched how swords were made at the local library. At 13, I built my first forge and made my first sword.”

Flurry’s love for Blacksmithing has led him to be a founding member of the Beaumont Blacksmith Association. Flurry has been a volunteer a Spindletop-Gladys Boomtown Museum for five years, and has also been a volunteer with the John French Museum in Beaumont since the late 1980s.

“Blacksmith,” is DiCesare’s debut film. He had previously worked as a journalist for newspapers and magazines for 20 years, before venturing into film making and forming Oskar Film, late last year.

“I had always wanted to do a film about blacksmithing because I thought it would lend itself to great photography, but I couldn’t find a blacksmith,” he said.

Following the free screening, DiCesare and Flurry will take questions from audience members.

“I hope people will have an appreciation for both poetic documentary and blacksmithing,” DiCesare said. “I also hope that people will take the time to visit Spindletop, if they haven’t done so already. It’s a wonderful place that takes you back to Beaumont’s Wildcatter years. I’ve never seen anything like it on any college campus I’ve visited.”

For more information, visit the Fleur de Lis Forge Facebook page.

Story by Ricky Adams, UP contributor 

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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