Hotels in Lawrence

I suggest going to and ask for Lawrence KS.  They have several at the moment from around $50 on up.  There are also some listed which are not in Lawrence so be sure to check before booking.  Nearby towns are Baldwin City, Ottawa, Olathe, Gardner.  There is a big bicycle ride happening that weekend as well, Octoginta.

 The hotel closest to the forge is on the south side of Lawrence about 5 miles north of the forge on Iowa/Highway 59.  Holiday Inn Express 1-866-695-0459 or 785-749-7555.

If you want a hotel with a ghost try The Eldridge Hotel 785-749-5011.  It’s pricier, located downtown, 701 Mass, just across the street from the Free State Brewing Co.

The following is another site which lists most of the hotels in town.



Design Workshop, Oct 9-10,2010


  • Join us in Lawrence, KS, the weekend of Oct 9-10 for a hands-on design workshop with Master Blacksmiths from Britain, Terrence Clark and Peter Parkinson.  Under the guidance of these two experts, participants will design a decorative entrance gate for the Black Jack Battle Site located just east of Baldwin City, KS, with the participation of Van Go Mobile Arts students.

This extraordinary workshop will include:

  • A visit to the historic site,
  • A presentation by the Van Go artists on the human and natural history of the site to give more possible design ideas to participants,
  • Time to draw individual designs with help from Terrence and Peter,
  • Group discussion of all the designs created and how to use them to create a gate for the site.

This will be a friendly group, expert drawing ability is definitely NOT required!!

Date: Saturday, October 9, 2010 and Sunday, October 10, 2010

Place: Lawrence and Baldwin City, KS

Time: Sat. 9am-6pm, lunch will be provided and Sun. 9am-noonish

Cost: $50

  • For further information or to sign up please contact Kate Dinneen at or home phone 785-841-6271.  There is also some more information on the Black Jack site and about the plan at .  I will be adding information to that blog in the next days and weeks.

Sat Oct 9:

v Introduction of Terrence and Peter including some photos of their work.

v Introduction of the concept of the project.

v Visit to the Black Jack site, to look, measure and have a chance for everyone to see the place.

v Return to the workshop space for discussion on the site, the historical significance.  This discussion will be led by Kate Dinneen and the Van Go artists.

v Next Terrence and Peter will lead a discussion on the design of gates, various options, concepts.  Then a bit on the design process and all the questions involved including the practical-how tall? how wide?- and the more esoteric- what do we want it to say about the place?

v Finally participants will be asked to draw thumbnail sketches based on everything they have learned from the site visit and the discussions.

Sun Oct 10:

v Finish up drawings, pin them all up and discuss them, asking individuals to talk about their drawings.  The plan is to come up with a group consensus for a design which we will all feel happy about, which is exciting, stunning and attainable. 

Peter will take the ideas and draw up a working design for PART 2 of the DESIGN/BUILD WORKSHOP which will take place in May of 2011, once the funding comes in!

This event is hosted by the Black Jack Battlefield Trust, Hot Flash Metalwork and Walt Hull Ironwork.

Thanks and I look forward to seeing you in Oct.!

Basic Background

                               The Blackjack Battle Site Gate Project         

 Several years ago, Karl Gridley, a board member of the Blackjack Battlefield Trust, contacted me about the possibility of designing and forging a decorative iron gate for one of the access drives.  We discussed many design ideas and options and then got down to the question of what the Trust could afford.  Being a relatively young non-profit there was not a lot of extra money to be found.  So, I began to think of other possible ways to make the gate a reality.

Around the same time, I was privileged to be in charge of the demonstration site for a Design Build event at the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America convention in Richmond, Kentucky.  A pair of Master Blacksmiths from the United Kingdom, Terrence Clark and Peter Parkinson, led a group of smiths in designing and building a half scale model of a sculpture for one of the buildings on the campus where the convention was taking place.  I was in charge of making sure that all the equipment for the site was procured and arrived on time and in working condition.  This included everything a blacksmith shop would usually contain: anvils, forges, hand tools, big power hammers and various other power tools.  I wondered if there was a way I could create a similar event at the Blackjack site and bring the gate to life.

Another possible puzzle piece presented itself when Walt Hull (a blacksmith I work with in Pleasant Grove, just south of Lawrence, KS) became involved with the JAMS (Jobs in the Arts Make Sense) project of the Van Go organization.  JAMS introduces young artists into a working environment as apprentices and we had a young man working out at the forge for several months.  The possibility of having these young artists working with Master Smiths from the UK and regional smiths from MO and KS to create a gate for one of the important early Civil War battle sites was very exciting.  And so here is the first step toward making it happen.

The Current Plan!

The Plan

Design and build a gate for an entry to the Blackjack Battle Site using design elements inspired by artifacts used at the time of the battle and objects found on the site including natural ‘things’ such as the Blackjack Oak tree.  Build a second smaller pedestrian gate for access near the road side picnic area.

The Blackjack Gate Project will involve members of the local, regional and international communities.  Locally, young artists from Van Go Inc will have the chance to work with artist blacksmiths from Missouri and Kansas as well as two internationally respected Master Blacksmiths Terrence Clark and Peter Parkinson of Great Britain.  The project will be done in stages, first the design process which will involve research, design and a workshop for regional blacksmiths and the Van Go artists led by Master Smiths Clark and Parkinson. The next stages will be the forging of the framework of the gate, preparation of the site for installation and finally the installation and a forging event to make the decorative elements for the gate.

The forging event to take place in the days leading up to the June 2, 2011 anniversary of the Battle will include some onsite forging which will allow the public to view the work in progress.

The potential benefits to the audience/participants include a chance for the Van Go artists to go through the entire design/build process for a major installation, a chance for artists locally, regionally and internationally to share knowledge and the opportunity for the Blackjack Battle Trust to offer an event which could draw visitors from the region to learn more about a nationally important historical site.

Other plans, not yet set, include the possibility of a documentary or video of the event which would be available to the participating groups for use, for example in a Visitors Area at the Battle site.  Keeping the media informed of the activities and giving them access to the artists will be an important part of generating interest in the project and the site.

The Process

The Master Smiths will visit the site, meet the Van Go members and lead a group of regional smiths thru design portion on Oct 9, 2010. The Van Go members will research the history of the Battle and the site to help in that process.  Master Smith Peter Parkinson will take the design ideas generated during the workshop and draw up the working plans for the gate.