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Ironwork, horses are featured at Hunt Library

FALLS VILLAGE — Israel Fitch and Willy Blass, of Battle Hill Forge, rebuffed repeated attempts to induce artsy commentary to complement their exhibit at the D.M. Hunt Library, which opens Friday, Feb. 10.In this, their first exhibit at the library, the blacksmiths have created a series of artworks that are a departure from the large-scale outdoor sculpture, fireplace implements and distinctive fences for which they are known. Featuring motifs chosen from nature and of sizes conducive to hanging indoors, these new wall sculptures are masterful depictions of grasses, reeds, water and other elements.Including the “gnarly snake,” one of Bass’ pieces.“Willy’s pieces are kind of Gothic,” said Fitch.“I like snakes, I like bones. I like metal,” said Blass.Fitch, who had stepped out for a moment to check on his young daughters, came back in and said, “Is he getting all woo-woo on you?”For the blacksmiths, the key is craftsmanship. “Some art is good because the people who do it really have the skill and technique,” said Fitch.“I try to convey an idea, so someone says ‘Oh, I see what it is.’”Fitch’s pieces are clearly of identifiable things — plants, for instance — but the overall effect is stylized.“You don’t have to make a pumpkin and paint it orange.”Blass ran the back of his fingernail down the metal bones of his malevolent-looking snake skeleton, producing a xylophone-esque effect.He said he enjoys working on decorative pieces as a change of pace. “I keep in mind it’s not going to be used” the way a fireplace poker is. “It can be more delicate.”Fitch and Blass opened Battle Hill Forge in 2006.The exhibit, “Wallworks from Battle Hill Forge,” opens Friday, Feb. 10, 5 to 7 p.m. at the library. Refreshments will be served.On Saturday, Feb. 11, 6 to 8 p.m., Ann Jamieson of Kent will read selections from her book series, “For the Love of the Horse.” Jamieson has been working with horses since the age of 5. She is a United States Equestrian Federation horse show judge and has written numerous magazine articles in addition to her three volumes of true stories documenting the bond between horses and their owners. Ann currently has two horses in her life, Fred Astaire and The Virginian.The stories were gathered from interviews with horse owners throughout the country, including the story of Iroquois, who was rescued from a slaughter house and has since taken his owner to success in the show jumping world; Soldier, who allowed his elderly owner to continue riding until the end of his life; and Crisco, a little pony who got stuck in a tree. After the presentation, Jamieson will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase. Light refreshments will be served after the reading. For more information on events at the library visit www.huntlibrary.org or call 860-824-7424.

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