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Ivano-Frankivsk 2009

a Boundless Art The “Blacksmith’s Holiday” festival exceeded the limits of a solely blacksmithing event a long time ago and became one of the holidays which take place in Ivano-Frankivsk, which last 2 weeks and are timed to the May Day, Day of the City and the Victory Day. On May 8-10, 2009, the city once again warmly welcomed the guests of the VII International Blacksmith’s Festival “Blacksmith’s Holiday 2009” organized by the Union of Artist Blacksmiths of Ukraine.


World meeting

of blacksmiths

The number of guests noticeably exceeded the last year’s meeting. In addition to hundreds of native participants, delegations from more than 20 countries came to the festival: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Israel, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, USA, Uzbekistan, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden and Czech Republic. Among them there were such remarkable people as Richard Quinnell, founder of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association; Nigel Barnett, the BABA Chairman; Pete Oberon, owner of the private school of blacksmithing in Britain; Kate Dinneen, member of the Board of Directors of the Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America; Valeriy Galkin, member of the Guild of Blacksmiths and Decorative Metal Artists of St. Petersburg and Northwestern Region; Ferdinando Nava, organizer of the international blacksmithing championship in France; Leonard Czajkowski, founder of the


Association of Blacksmiths of Poland; Rodgen Bokshtele, head of the Belgian Association of Blacksmiths; Martina Estardie and Patrick Molinari, representatives of the French Blacksmith’s Association “Salamander”.

During the festival, the participants joined the “Gum Tree” international project, an initiative of the Australian Blacksmiths Association which makes a sculpture to commemorate the people who died in Australian conflagrations. Many craftsmen brought forged leaves for the tree and gave them to Paul Meals, chief editor of The Drift magazine (representative of the Australian Blacksmiths Association).

There are no obstacles to perfection It has already become a tradition that the “Blacksmith’s Holiday” is held in the atmosphere of demonstration master classes. This year the public’s special attention was drawn by the master class of ergonomic blacksmithing by Uri Hofi. The craftsman gives his master classes all over the world and is a founder of his own school of blacksmithing in Israel. You never know where you’ll get or lose. Three injured fingers of his right hand resulted in the invention of a new blacksmithing technique by Uri Hofi. It consists in the metal work technique by means of a specially shaped hammer and an anvil smaller than a standard one. During the work, the greater load falls on the hand instead of the forearm. As a result, the forging rate increases and the blacksmith’s strain is relieved.

Exhibitions and presentations chronicle


The VIII exhibition “Ornamental Blacksmithing” was traditionally held during the festival. It took place in the territory of the regional organization of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine. In addition, spectators and participants could visit the exhibition of sculptures “Our Ivano-Frankivsk” of the “Molfar” art studio and the international students’ exhibition “The Blacksmith’s Constellation” in the territory of the Regional Museum of Arts.

Heading for the fortress (the festival begins and never ends) The “Blacksmith’s Holiday 2009” was drawing to a close… to be continued in Kamyanets-Podilsky, to which the united family of blacksmiths went on May 10 at the invitation of the National Historical and Architectural Reserve “Kamyanets” and the Kamyanets-Podilsky subdivision of the Union of Artist Blacksmiths of Ukraine. There, at the fortress territory, an impressive event lasted 2 days; but t hat is another story.

Forge Yourself a


or How the Blacksmiths Traveled to Kamyanets The sun was slowly rising from behind the walls of a strong fortress. In a few hours it would kindle here a real vortex of genuine emotions. Thus began the traveling plain-air festival of the VII International Festival “Blacksmith’s Holiday 2009”.


T he first day was traditionally full of many arrangement problems. Long way from Ivano-Frankivsk (almost five hours), registration, accommodation, attempts to find common language (unfortunately, not too many people in Ukraine speak English, French and German well). Nevertheless, an unforgettable sight-seeing tour of the ancient town was a reward. 115 of 154 monuments in the territory of the National Historical and Architectural Reserve “Kamyanets� are of national importance. The plain-air festival participants felt a chimeric and at the same time friendly atmosphere of the amazing historical combination of the Polish, Old Russian and Armenian cultures, the nuances of spiritual culture, since there are so many churches of different religions in Kamyanets.


Impressed by the national authenticity, the festival guests went to the pearl of Kamyanets, the Old Fortress, which invited them for a friendly party. That was an intriguing acquaintance with the culture, town, people, history and mysteries. The second day of the festival began with the official part, during which Anatoliy Nesteruk, Mayor of Kamyanets-Podilsky, received from Serhiy Polubotko, Head of the Union of Artist Blacksmiths of Ukraine, a symbolic and thus more pleasant present: a flower on stone, which has been associated with the name of the town upon Smotrych for several centuries. Of course, the Mayor returned the favor and presented to the blacksmiths one of the tapestries made by Yaroslava Tkachuk. At eleven o’clock, probably the most important event of the festival began: the solar symbol forging. During the work of the craftsmen on the joint composition elements, the spectators could also enjoy the concert of dance, music and vocal bands, receive a blessing from the town priests, enjoy the sports virile strength watching the armwrestling competition for the Cup of Podillya, and become involved in the blacksmithing process buying miscellaneous forged souvenirs.

The culmination of the second festival day was the completion of the work on the solar symbol. By the way, its outline is as symbolic as the whole event because Kamyanets is also the town of the Sun. An image of the luminary is on the town arms. In the end, the craftsmen arranged an extemporaneous concert: they played a special musical instrument consisting of metal elements and drums.


As an expression of gratitude for the perpetuation of the Kamyanets sun, the blacksmiths were offered fascinating trips to Khotyn and Lviv, and on the next day to Bakota, the unique nature of which could not but amaze to the innermost of their hearts.


Blacksmith's festivals in Ukraine