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Carroll blacksmith enjoys making strong impression at festival

A blue crab, crane, dragonfly and leaves will be part of a Nick Vincent wreath or table sculpture.
A blue crab, crane, dragonfly and leaves will be part of a Nick Vincent wreath or table sculpture. (File photo)

Among the 250 vendors displaying their jewelry, clothing, pottery and other crafts during the annual Sugarloaf Craft Festival at the Timonium Fairgrounds will be one who makes a distinct impression, in sound as well as sight.

Carroll County blacksmith Nick Vincent will show off his metal working skills during the final day of the three-day event.

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"It's that smoke and fire thing," said Vincent with a laugh. "Everybody loves to see the fire and is so impressed that I can hammer this thing and make it fun and ornamental. My wife says I thrive on that — people saying, 'ohhh'."

Vincent said he will be one of only a few metalworkers participating in the event.

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But he will not be the only participant showing how his creations are made. There will also be live demonstrations of copper spinning, wheel thrown pottery and wood turning, according to a release from the festival.

Unique furniture and glass creations as well as items for the home, both inside and outside, sculpture, fine art and photography will also be on display, according to the release.

Vincent said he has been participating in the Sugarloaf Crafts Festivals that are held in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1994.

Sugarloaf Crafts Festivals are juried art and craft shows taking place in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the festival website.

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"I show my goods and I also demonstrate, so people can see me working with an anvil and forge and hot metal," Vincent said.

For Vincent, the Sugarloaf Festival in Timonium allows him to catch up with old acquaintances and stay close to home.

"I like Timonium [Sugarloaf Craft Festival] in particular because I live in Carroll County and grew up in Reisterstown," Vincent said.

"I always run into a lot of people I've known from different periods of my life," he said. "This is the closest show to home that I do."

Vincent said he moved to Carroll County with his wife in 1986. At the time, he was working full time for the then-Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company.

Metalworking was a hobby, Vincent said.

"I didn't know that I was going to be a blacksmith when I was 4. I was 30-something when I went to my first seminar," Vincent said. "I was like 'oh, I could do this'."

In 1991, he quit his job at the phone company and started blacksmithing full time.

Vincent said being adaptable has helped him achieve success in the business.

"It was a 'find a need and fill it' type thing. It's about adapting," Vincent said.

"I used to do Colonial stuff, antique stuff, house stuff. But the world changed and builders aren't doing the same things," he said.

"I've been able to adapt to the changing world. Even my booth display is more contemporary than it used to be," he said.

Well known for his contributions to the Carroll Arts Council's annual Festival of Wreathes fundraiser, Vincent said he is currently "more into ornamental type of work."

Much of his current work is inspired by the Chesapeake Bay, he said. He has forged metal crabs, grasses, herons and cattails in his artwork and furniture.

In addition to showing and selling his work, Vincent said he will also do live demonstrations at the Sugarloaf Festival.

Vincent's work can also be viewed at Nathan's Forge — his blacksmith shop on Uniontown Road in Westminster, and on his website http://www.nathansforge.com.

The Sugarloaf Craft Festival in Timonium also includes food, live music and children's entertainment.

It is open Friday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium.

Admission is $10 at the door and free for children under 12. Free parking is available. 

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