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Black OWLL Studios: Our Beginning

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Putting together a biographical sketch isn’t it simple as plugging in your CV. Resumes are good for job applications, but maybe not the best for introducing myself to you. So I thought I’d try a bit of a different approach. One useful framework I employ is to consider every person is a gem. A gem has many different faces or facets. Different facets of the person are developed by events, family, friends and colleagues over the course of a lifetime. It is fascinating what you can discover about people with polite conversation.


Owner and Founder of Black OWLL

I was named Larry Allen Lancaster by my parents. My father, Norman, was a North Carolina Farm boy in the military. Barbara, my mother, was a Michigan high school teacher. They met on a Florida Beach. And they traveled the world together for the next four decades. So I polished my travel skills early on. We would visit family in Michigan. My grandfather was a rural family doctor. Often we would then travel to North Carolina to see my Father’s family on the farm. And usually help with haying. In August.


Work and school were intertwined for me. I worked 20 years as a Registered nurse primarily in the emergency room and then became a family nurse practitioner for the next 20 years. They were certainly highlights and challenges along the way which reveal facets of yourself. We worked in intense environments and we’re trained by some of the best in the nation. I had some unique experiences over four decades caring for people. I flew quarter million miles as a critical care flight nurse delivering care primarily to patients in the Washington, Montana, Idaho and Alaska region. I was part of the patient care move Team for DHMC moving from Hanover to Lebanon campus. Also I involved with the creation of Upper Valley Ambulance. I have worked with amazing people who are happy to teach if you ask and then listen.


An additional aspect is being married. I was a lucky man when she said yes in 1978. We have shared many adventures and travels together. Moving from Virginia to Atlanta to Seattle to the upper valley for work and school. She was a registered nurse as well. But you need to go to her website to learn more about her. We’ve been to all 50 states and had a glorious trip to Scotland in September 2019. Having shared goals and working towards your dreams are another facet of life.


Time for a Change


It could be doubly stressful with both of us working in healthcare. We enjoyed traveling. The Olympic Peninsula was a favorite giveaway during our time in Seattle. Photography was a way we captured some special moments. I enjoyed working with my hands. Getting an old British sports car running has been a long time challenge. Also woodworking has been a long time past time of mine. Karen has continued with her long-term love of cooking and baking. Having Newfoundland dogs has been a lot of fun as well.


We are now living on 20 acres in Vershire, Vermont. We initially lived in the old house and then we cleared and built on the property. For awhile we rented out the cape, but being landlords wasn’t for us.


I think that covers a lot of different aspects of how I’ve been buffed over the years. Karen likes the emerald earring I wear, saying it matches my green eyes.


History of BlackOWLL studio.


So the conversation pretty much went like this.


Karen - we’re retiring on March 2018. What would you like to do?

Me - we talked about a trip to Scotland.

Karen- we’ll do that. But why don’t we fix up the old cape and put in a kitchen so l can have a business making desserts.

Me - sounds like a plan......

Karen - what are you going to do? Fix up the garage for a workshop and make stuff?

Me - Yup.


We had a plan. The cape was built in 1823 and needed a lot of work. Things got started in September 2018. Karen’s home kitchen was done in March 2020. Did I mention there was more to be done than we thought?


My brother, Gary, and his wife vacationed in Scotland in July 2018. It was really helpful hearing their experience to plan our trip. Gary really got into the historic swords of Scotland. This led to me taking classes with a Vermont blacksmith. Not that I plan to make knives or swords...right away. Wall Hooks, door handles, candlesticks, corkscrews and forged rune jewelry will be some initial items.



While reading about blacksmiths and forging techniques, I saw articles about chain mail. Some was about forged chain mail in medieval times. Other more “modern” videos were about weaving bracelets out of aluminum rings using some of the old patterns. Since I had no indoor space to run the forge, weaving chain mail was a wonderful Vermont winter pastime. I really enjoy the precision hand work it requires.


We did make it to Scotland in September 2019. It was a wonderful trip. My mother’s mother was a MacTaggart, which made it a bit more special. And therein lies the answer to the name BlackOWLL. I needed to design a maker’s mark for my forged items.

The McTaggart coat of arms is two owls separated by a black sash. Black represents integrity. So I feel as though generations of ancestors are looking over my shoulder making sure I do a good job.

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