- April Witzke
The F is for fun at Forge-Aprons
When my son, Dalton and I were designing Forge-Aprons, we had a lot of fun with it. My son was a big fan of Smallville, a TV series based on a teen-age Superman so, we designed the chest pocket to be a diamond shape, similar to Superman's logo. Dalton, as am I, is a big fan of another super-hero production, the cartoon movie The Incredibles. In that movie, there was a line that we often repeated during our design phase, "No capes!" These words were spoken by the super-suit designer, Edna E Mode, as a warning to the main character, Bob Par otherwise known as Mr. Incredible, that capes were dangerous. Wearing one had caused numerous super-heroes to meet their demise. We, afterall, wanted Forge-Aprons to be the most awesome protective apron out there so, we melded these two concepts together. Here was our original marketing spiel:
While inconspicuously appearing to be designed for holding calipers, soap stones and such, FORGE-APRON'S diamond shaped Logo Pocket is secretly infused with super-powers that help shield you from hot slag and stray projectiles. A Flying Spark Deflection Booster is infused within FORGE-APRON'S smooth leather surface. It combines with the leather's natural flame resistance to help ensure the only thing on fire, is the forge. Meanwhile, the amazing strength and elasticity of the leather resists damage to both, you, and itself. All that and more, while your Forge-Apron protects you it will also work hard to keep you looking super-hero good by fending off the filth and grime that's rampant in the shop! FORGE-APRONS, for the Super-Hero in you.
It turns out our diamond-shaped pocket was a very clever addition because it's like having three pockets in one. The bottom V is sewn on with Kevlar thread but the top three sides are riveted in place allowing for three seperate openings. This gives the smith three pockets in one! On one side, he can place a pen or soap stone, on the other side, a set of calipers. From the middle, he can hang his cheater glasses! The logo design was hand drawn by me. It was based off of a dynamic forge-weld splatter pic. And, in those early days, every pocket was hand sewn on! Trust me, that took some of the fun out of it!!!
It doesn't stop there. To add a bit more fun during the design phase, Dalton and I decided to incorporate the time-honored tradition of placing fringe on a smith's apron as a reminder that they are the Kings of Craftsmen! In case you haven't heard or read it, here is the story:
When Camelot, the most impressive example of craftsmanship in its day, was completed, King Arthur announced a royal feast to honor the craftsmen who had constructed the castle. On the eve of the feast all the craftsmen excitedly gathered in the great hall. As they waited to be seated, a squabble broke out among them as to who should have the honor of sitting at the King's right hand.
The King judiciously decreed that the greatest craftsman among them would be given the honor. He instructed the craftsmen to each share about their contributions to the castle then he would decide whose contribution was the greatest. The first to speak was the goldsmith, “I who created the exquisite platters that we are preparing to eat from and the goblets that hold your drink, my lord.” King Arthur praised the goldsmith for the fine quality of his workmanship and thanked him for his contributions to the palace.
A blacksmith quietly joined the group of craftsmen as the tailor, who was dressed in exquisite clothing and who spoke with confidence and poise said, "There is not a room in this fine castle that does not have my tapestries adorning the walls or my luxurious drapes hanging over the windows or fine linens spread on the tables and beds. Why, I even made the fine robes that you are wearing!” That garnered a hearty laugh from all. King Arthur thanked the tailor for his contribution and praised his workmanship.
And so, around the room, each of the master craftsmen described their contribution to the castle, followed by the King graciously thanking them and praising their work until the blacksmith was the only one left to speak. Now, among themselves, the craftsmen agreed the tailor was the winner due to his vast array of work, his fine dress and eloquent manner of speech so, when the blacksmith spoke, they hardly paid attention. Had they listened they would have noticed that the blacksmith didn’t mention the massive fireplace screens, the intricate chandeliers or the fine cutlery he had forged. Nor was there any mention of the ornate hinges, sturdy table bases or the snugly fit hand rails. In fact, the blacksmith’s only words were quietly and humbly stated, “Most of my work sire, was in making tools for the other craftsmen,” to which the King, as he had done with all before, thanked and praised the blacksmith for his contribution.
For several long minutes, the King thoughtfully looked the group of craftsmen over. Finally, he loudly proclaimed, “Blacksmith, by your hammer and hand all crafts do stand! You made everyone else’s contribution possible. You shall be seated at my right hand!” The smith had come to the banquet straight from the forge. He was covered in soot and still wearing his apron. He tried to beg off but the King insisted he take the seat of honor so the blacksmith quickly rushed to the cloak room, hung his apron then went to wash up and straighten his clothes before taking his place beside the King.
All the craftsmen were a bit shocked at the King’s decision but, there was a feast to enjoy so, they busied themselves with eating and drinking. All, except the tailor. While the others were busy enjoying the celebration, the tailor snuck off to the cloak room. With scissors in hand, he cut fringe into the blacksmith's apron to serve as a reminder that it was he, the tailor, that made the smith’s apron.
It was a jolly evening for all filled with laughing, singing and story telling. Upon leaving the feast, the smith gathered his cap and apron. He quickly noticed the fringe. Contrary to the tailor’s intent to humiliate him, the blacksmith proudly boasted, "Only our good tailor could have honored me so by placing this fringe upon my apron. I am truly proud to have made all the other craftsmen’s work possible.”
Which is why, to this day, a blacksmith’s apron should feature a small section of fringe, so that all may know, blacksmiths are the King of Craftsmen!
As you may know, my son went on to develop a career in the telecommunications industry so, old mom inherited the apron business. I certainly never anticipated enjoying building aprons but, I do, wholeheartedly. I try to make like I'm a big company but when it comes down to it, I am Forge-Aprons with a little help occassionally from friends and family!
If you are in the market for a leather shop apron, one designed with a little fun and a lot of practicality, comfort and style, then I hope you will visit Forge-Aprons.com to see what I have to offer!