International Notoriety for Lee Sauder

How does a Rockbridge County blacksmith become a highly regarded colleague of archaeologists around the world?

It started in the 1990’s, when Lee Sauder and a colleague in England were among the few trying to replicate a forgotten smelting process to create usable iron.

Turns out this smelting process enables academics/archaeologists to extrapolate previously unknown details about ancient civilizations.  And our very own Lee Sauder thus became an integral part of other nations’ efforts to uncover ancient history.


Lee spent months in Sudan, on the banks of the Nile, working with the University College of London archeologists to figure out how the ancient Meroe civilization made iron way back in 400bc.


lee-sauder-ironHe’s been to the Italian island of Elba, one source of the Roman Empire’s iron ore, where he made an iron bloom which archaeometallurgists are using as a template to check the origin of their archeological finds.

lee-sauder-in-polandHe just returned from Poland where he compared contemporary iron smelting techniques with European smiths at an international conference.



But usually he’s at home, in his smelting yard, making iron from scratch…

that he forges into lyrical sculptures.


And occasionally you can find him at his forge hammering out the bowls, bottle openers and cheese knives that we carry at Artists in Cahoots.



Elizabeth Sauder, Cahoots’ Wild Child

The first week of every month we will feature little known back stories of the artists you’ll find at Artists in Cahoots.   This is our first – look for more to come.  Between these features, we’ll throw in a some breaking news.  Stay tuned.


Elizabeth Sauder is always plotting a creative adventure.


Wanting to paint where the horizon is visible in all directions, Elizabeth hopped a train to Nebraska. She’d never been there before; she knew no one there.  She just felt it was something she needed to do.  A total change of scenery and inspiration, the antithesis of the Shenandoah Valley.


She headed to Great Britain where she sought a place for creative inspiration.   She chose Cornwall, where she struggled to find her muse, but then it happened: a whole new style and a whole new feel.   Amazing.

Elizabeth Sauder

Elizabeth as a carny?   Not expected, but the inspiration hit.   She traveled with carnivals around Southwest Virginia.  Camping where they camp and spending time capturing their sense of place.

Welcome to the Artists in Cahoots Blog

This is our first post – now we need to get organized to regularly post about the great things happening at Cahoots and the antics of our wonderful artists and craftspeople.    Please stay tuned, we should have our act together in a week or two!

%d bloggers like this: