Tuesday, February 20, 2018

May – June 2016 – Message from the Guildmaster

May 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Message from the Guildmaster

Spring is upon us and the mid-winter blues are over. The trout are rising and the ridges and hollows echo with mating calls of gobblers seeking hens. I know a least one fellow who took his bird this season as it came in to his hand-made horn call. Not his first bird lured to the seductive clucks from his call but his first taken with a flintlock fowler. The bird didn’t seem to mind that he was wearing buckskin breeches and a green wool over-shirt instead of a camouflage coat and face mask. From the past comes a lesson for some of our more modern nimrods who are lured into the cammo and magnum craze in their effort to be the successful hunter, home from the hill.

By the time you read this, guild member, Robert Coffey and I will have presented a craft demo for veterans from our local VA Medical Center. As representatives of a national rehabilitation program, “Project Healing Waters,” we have found it interesting how involved these veterans have become. Tying flies, building rods and trips a’stream takes their mind off their infirmities. Robert and I will soon be presenting a hands-on instruction class with the veterans making leather fly& leader wallets. Introduced to the historicity and the art behind the techniques of fly fishing and fly tying, these young men have found new purpose and their interest in the “old stuff” over plastic and synthetics is astounding. Whether tying a fly or recreating a turn of the century leather fly wallet, new talents are exposed and the veterans’ interest is electrifying. Very much like that which we share through the body of our guild, they have found the most curative prescription for positive direction is offered through sharing in trusted relationships with folks who can understand them.

For the individual, there is but little difference between horn working or tying flies and making leather accessories. Coordination, imagination, knowledge of history and, motivation are the ingredients to open the doors of creativity. I encourage all to take someone under wing and teach them our historic values and the basic procedures of working horn. Mentor them, foster their trust as they are awakened in knowledge, skills and understanding by creating something that will bring them satisfaction.Taking a trout on a fly they have tied of feathers and floss or a long-spurred gobbler on a horn call they have made, adds to the pleasure of experiencing the boundless opportunities the field and stream can offer one in search of satisfaction.

flag-raisingSpeaking of veterans, Memorial Day is nearly upon us. This year marks the 150th year anniversary of national recognition. It’s but one day out of 365, set aside to pay respectful tribute to those who gave their lives so that our flag shall still wave over a nation of free people. With family picnics and the opening of the vacation season, not to mention consumer “holiday sales,” it’s so easy to forget their most precious sacrifice.Our national heritage runs much deeper than flag waving on holidays as a proclamation of self-identity. So please take a moment to reflect upon the cost of our heritage, not only on Memorial Day, but throughout the year. Their sacrifice is what we, the living, shall make of it.

I recently had the honor of being asked to fashion a horn and pouch complete with other accouterments, in recognition of a young Marine who served with distinction in Afghanistan. Along with a commemorative flintlock rifle made by riflesmith Wayne Watson, honoring the historic service of the Marine Corps as well as this Marine’s distinguished service, the presentation took place in Wilmington, NC on 8 May. Wayne’s contemporary embellishment on the rifle embraced the history of the USMC from its inception at Tun Tavern on 10 Nov. 1775, through all eras that followed. Inspired by Wayne’s rifle and more importantly, by the service of this young Marine, Capt. William J. Kavanagh, the horn and pouch followed suit in contemporary styling. Guild member Kris Polizzi made and donated the straps for the pouch and horn, color coordinated with the red and gold of the USMC for the powder horn and multi-colors representing the Afghanistan Service Medal for the pouch. I am very grateful for her personal contribution as her hand woven straps complimented not only the rifle and accouterments, but the spirit of serving others with devotion and commitment as well—a commitment Kris certainly takes to heart as she serves your guild. Therefore, without reservation, I feel that the horn and pouch represented the guild’s contribution to that special project rather than just my own. Complimentary to Part-2 of a feature article on a period powder horn in the Marine Corps Museum, there will be a short follow-up in the summer issue of the Horn Book on this special presentation.

Its not too early to plan to attend our Summer Reception & Banquet at the Dixon event at the end of July. Amid the rural charm of Berks County, Pennsylvania, it is a time to relax and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of reuniting with friends and making new acquaintances. Stay tuned for details soon to be posted on this site.

I hope to see you there.

I remain your obedient servant,

Thos. Ames





One Response to “May – June 2016 – Message from the Guildmaster”
  1. Jeff Bibb says:

    A nice message, Tom. I would love to see your fly and leader wallets!

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