Pioneer traditions still alive at Marietta gunmaker show
MARIETTA — Pioneer-era crafts ranging from gun making to engraving and other items were demonstrated and displayed during the annual Contemporary Gunmakers and Allied Artists Show at Campus Martius Museum on Saturday.
Greg Park, of Barnesville, Ohio, was showing the way decorative engraving was made for rifles and guns of the era.
“This is hammer chase engraving, traditional engraving,” he said. “The fact I’m using this hammer and using a chisel, that what makes it traditional.”
Park said modern engravers have an air compressor and a tool that does the hammering.
“If you use the modern day tools it would be a little different,” he said. “I’ve been told there are only 330 traditional engravers in the United States still using a hammer, so it’s kind of an art in need of a lot of young people to come in.”
Park began working on engraving seriously three year ago.
“Before that I spent 10 years trying to learn it on my own unsuccessfully,” he said. “It has been three years since I took a class to get better at this.”
Linda Pritchard, of Crooksville, was showing her work in two areas, one in 18th-century style pottery and also in native American quill work.
“I’m a new potter, but I’ve been doing quill work for probably 10 years,” she said.
Aaron Reynolds, of Marietta, said he comes to the annual show at Campus Martius to see all the different artisans who make it to the event.
“This is quite a collection,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
Bill Kennelly, of Willoughby, was trying out a Hudson Valley fowler on Saturday. He said he is an 18th-century re-enactor. He was with Tom Kuglin, of Mentor, Ohio, who said they have been to several gunmaker shows in and around Ohio but this was their first time in Marietta.
Bill Reynolds, historian at Campus Martius, said Saturday’s event had a mix of old and new exhibitors make it to Marietta for the show. Reynolds said the show is in its sixth year.
“We have artisans showing their talents,” he aid. “We have a few new ones and some who have been here before.”
Reynolds said the show has grown every year.
“It has grown and that’s not a bad thing,” he said. “We get a lot of people from out of the area.”