Begun in 1999, Sweet Bay Fiber and Forge is actually the story of our childhood dreams becoming reality. As children, Barry always wanted to blacksmith and Donna wanted to weave.
Barry spent many a childhood hour watching watching the local blacksmith at the forge making horseshoes for the local Amish and Mennonite farmers who continue to use horse power for farming and transportation. Of more interest, was when the blacksmith needed to make tools to do his work. At the time, artisan blacksmiths did not exist, and smithing was mostly a farrier trade. Education and a degree in Forestry began an alternate career until John C. Campbell made blacksmithing a possibility.
As a child, Donna wove together and type of fiber available – weeds, threads, or rags. The small pot-holder loom received as a Christmas present was a treasured gift for many years. Education and a teaching degree became a career until weaving found it’s way back to her life through The Mannings.
It was back to school for both of us as we began to follow their passions of weaving and forging. Delving deeper into the crafts, Barry found he needed to learn to make brooms to complete fireplace sets and Donna found spinning would add to her weaving.
Forwarding through the next 21 years, finds us surrounded by looms, anvils, broom corn, dye pots and spinning wheels; not to mention the myriad of friends we have made through our craft guilds. We are loving our time spent touching history.