Ted is the President of the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland, Inc. and Assistant Supervisor of Career and Technology Education for Carroll County Public Schools. He started blacksmithing in 1996 through an interest in living history, traditional arts, and woodworking. Since then, his historical and traditional inspirations have evolved into the abstract, artistic, and sculptural. He demonstrates at a variety of events and teaches blacksmithing classes at the Carroll County Farm Museum’s Traditional Arts Academy. He has taken Jewelry I, II, III, and IV from Linda Van Hart at McDaniel College and Fold Formed Metal (Common Ground on the Hill 2007) and Linear Forging (Maryland Institute College of Art) from John Fix. Ted has continued to broaden and develop his skills and style, working with a variety of metalsmiths in both ferrous and non-ferrous materials.
Ted (standing, left) with his Common Ground class at the blacksmith shop at Carroll County Farm Museum.
The Luna Moth Project - by Ted McNett
A collaborative memorial project with the
Common Ground on the Hill Veteran’s Initiative.
The Luna Moth Project has been designed in memory of James (Jimmy) Michael Malachowski, Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps. Staff Sergeant James M. Malachowski, 25, was killed in action in Marjah, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 20, 2011, by an IED (improvised exploding device). Raised in Hampstead, Maryland, he was a 2003 graduate of North Carroll High School. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He served overseas in Iraq with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines in 2004, 2005 and 2007. He was currently serving his 4th combat deployment as an infantryman. Jimmy was meritoriously promoted to Staff Sergeant on April 2, 2010 and concurrently earned the Distinguished Shooting Badge, which he earned in 13 months. He also earned numerous other marksmanship awards. He graduated from the Advanced Infantry Unit Leader's Course before he deployed to Afghanistan.
Some of his most distinguished accomplishments were that he earned a position on the Marine Corps Rifle Team and instructed over 50,000 recruits on the fundamentals of marksmanship at Marine Corps Depot, Parris Island. Jimmy enjoyed weight lifting, running, firearms, woodworking and his Gran Torino.
On November 6, 2016, my wife, Hannah, and I met with Jimmy’s parents, Alison and Jim, for their permission and blessing to pursue this project concept. As we talked, many memories of his passion, leadership and core values reemerged. Jimmy had a great interest and love of insects and participated in many programs and camps at Bear Branch Nature Center and Hashawha Environmental Center. He even collected and displayed his own insect collection at the nature center. He won the Grand Prize in Entomology at the Maryland State Fair at age nine for this collection. The one specimen he prized, once he finally caught one, was the luna moth. This memory of the luna moth, and his excitement, has stuck with me ever since. He had an energy that captivated everyone. Little did we know what a leader he would become.
The symbolism behind the luna moth is strikingly appropriate for this memorial. At the time of the design concept, the symbolism was unknown to me. What is the spiritual meaning of luna moths?
Luna moths represent rebirth, renewal of body and spirit, regeneration and may even symbolize the soul itself. Luna moths, like many types of moths and butterflies, are quite beautiful in appearance and have docile personalities. Their physical beauty and charm make these large moths symbols of reflection, nourishment and life.
The Luna Moth Project has evolved to have several components beyond the memorial sculpture. The memorial sculpture will be installed at Bear Branch Nature Center, pending formal approval, in a location where Jimmy helped lead an insect observation and collection night program. The second component of this project will be creating life-size luna moths, 4 ½ inches, that guests can assemble to commemorate a veteran from their life. These memorials may be taken home, given in memory of someone, or contributed to the memorial sculpture. CGOTH Veterans Initiative participants will be able to assist in the forging, fabrication and assembly of the memorial sculpture. The veteran’s may also take a mentor role in helping guests assemble the life-size luna.