Raewyn had made a career of convincing exorbitantly wealthy individuals that the best thing they could for themselves was purchase a hand forged, iron cast, hearth. It was, for all intents and purposes, completely impractical to cook with a hearth; but she did not sell practical. She sold art. She sold adventure. She sold unique. She sold conversation and envy. She sold the one thing that would bring her clients to a better standing in their own life and all they had to do was sign on bottom line, make a little down payment and in three to four weeks they would be the talk of the town.
What she really loved was being paid to do something she adored.
She came by her interest in blacksmithing almost predetermined. Raewyn’s parents were super into Tolkien. Summers of her youth meant trips to Renaissance Festivals. Her parents held twice-a-month Dungeons and Dragons and Drinking game with friends. Her childhood home was a full fledged castle on account of all the tapestries hanging on the hall and she could talk in great length about heraldic symbolism before she was even allowed to walk to school by herself. The allure of molten ore cast into pots, pans, hearths and swords was too much ignore.
Her big break came after posting pictures of a hearth molded to David Hasselhoff’s face. Retweets and ‘pins” filled her notifications for weeks. Then came the emails. One came from a French financier named Frank. He had paid for a round trip ticket to his chateau and insisted Raewyn come immediately. He needed a hearth and only she could make his demands come true. Free flights to France are so infrequent, so she packed a bag and hopped the Atlantic.
She was driven to a country side estate full of gardens and hedges and anachronistic motor vehicles. It was a surreal experience for her; a Medieval styled artisan checking her social media accounts on a smart phone driving through an estate ground that was stuck in the 1930s.
Frank met her at the servant’s entrance, kissed both her cheeks and rushed them into the kitchen.
“I hope the trip was to your liking,” Frank said as he shuffled them both closer to a fireplace. “Now, here. This, this thing. This needs to made better. Your hearth will fix my entire kitchen. You make this fireplace sing and I will make you very wealthy.”
“What did you have in mind?” Raewyn asked. She attempted to ask in French at first, but Frank laughed at her attempt at an accent.
“You made a delightful Mr. Hasslehoff. Now I need you to draw on all your powers. I need a Dean Martin’s face to sit in this fire.”
Raewyn had to admit she did know who Dean Martin was. It nearly cost her the job.
“You have your wikipedia, find his face and let us set it on fire in this spot. The breads that shall come together from this device will be outlandishly good.”
“I’m sorry, Frank, I just want to understand this a little better. You want to cook bread in an iron version of Dean Martin’s head, right? You don’t want to cook with Dean Martin’s actual head? Please tell me we’re working with iron here,” Raewyn asked.
“Yes, yes, of course. Do not be dramatic. The flames will simply be a cathartic experience for me,” Frank waved his hands in anger.
Raewyn wanted to know what catharses awaited Frank. She wanted to know so badly what slight, real or imagined, Frank experienced at the hands of Dean Martin. She was pretty sure the rat-pack crooner (she found a wikipedia entry on him as they talked design) had died long before Frank had even been born. She did not press the issue though. She took the money, took the gig and flew back home.
Frank kept his promise. After the Dean Martin hearth was delivered, Raewyn had contracts throughout France. Before long she was spending more time on planes than at home.
She loved her job. She loved her craft. More than anything though, she loved having the weirdest work stories around.
Thanks for reading!