Metal has been always loved and honoured in Alchevsk. The city grew from the village of the workers of the Donetsk and Yur’evsk metallurgical society plant (DYMS). It was found by the Ukrainian manufacturer, banker and the merchant of the first guild Aleksey Kirilovich Alchevskiy. At that time the plant was the only one metallurgical enterprise in Ukraine built on the domestic capital. Nowadays the Alchevsk Iron and Steel Works is one of the largest industrial enterprises in the south-east of Ukraine. Almost two thirds of the city citizens work there. A melting ladle is depicted on the city’s coat of arms and even the favourite football team of the city is called The Steel!
On the last Sunday of August the best masters of art blacksmithing gathered in the capital of Donbass to take part in the festival of blacksmiths art devoted to the 135th anniversary of Donetsk. Traditionally this festival was a part of the Roses of Donetsk city festive show. But in 2004 it was named the Forged Figures Park and became All-Ukrainian
On 26–27 of August 50 delegates from 12 cities of 10 regions of Ukraine came to hospitable Donetsk to participate in the remarkable show. There were blacksmiths, designers and heads of 24 large and medium-sized blacksmiths enterprises of the country. The show was organized by the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise and The Magazine of Metal under the aegis of the Donetsk mayor Aleksandr Lukyanchenko. The history of Donetsk blacksmiths festival dates back to 1998 when it wasn’t hold in such a big way and in such a wonderful place as the Forged Figures Park. This unique park was established in 2000. And three years later (thanks to the titanic organizational efforts of Victor Burduk and considerable financial expenditure of the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise) there were 32 forged sculptures in the park.
In 2001 in the course of the regular blacksmiths festival the Forged Figures Park was established in the public garden of the City executive committee of Donetsk. The project was initiated by Victor Burduk, chief director of Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise and master of decorative and applied arts and under the aegis of the Donetsk City Council. Developing from year to year, the park has become one of the most famous places of interest in the capital city of Donetsk region. Moreover, it is unique in the whole world!
The first exhibit of this outdoor blacksmiths art museum is a bunch of forged roses. This flower is a symbol of the miners’ capital, a symbol of the Donetsk Roses festival as well as of the Forged Figures Park blacksmiths art festivals taking place in August – September…
The Arch Alley is in the very heart of Donetsk now and each visitor of Forged Figures Park can enjoy and admire it. But can you imagine what titanic joint efforts this Alley is the result of?! What human relations are behind it?
The Arch Alley is an illustration and reminding of the fact that we live in a great country, united with the team spirit of strong, honest and cheerful people – blacksmiths.
It is also necessary to feel a wonderful atmosphere of the blacksmiths festival where it is absolutely unimportant what language you speak either Russian or Ukrainian or English; you’ve got used to think and speak! But if you touch a forged arch or bench with your hand it is quiet easy to feel that even if it is a severe frost outside they radiate warmness. It seems you touch some peculiar secret which generations of blacksmiths of the Earth and blacksmiths of Ukraine in particular have been proudly keeping through centuries… It is a secret of Unity…
This year Donetsk is to enter the Ring of European cities with Metal Works. Chairman of Donbass blacksmiths Guild Victor Burduk has told us more about it.
I got to know about the Ring from Sergey Polubotko, the chairman of the Union of masters of blacksmiths art in Ukraine. Being a representative of our Union, he often goes abroad. He also gave me the address of the Ring headquarters. Having consulted with the Donetsk City Council and enlisted the support of the city mayor Aleksandr Lukianchenko, we sent a letter to the Ring expressing our intention to enter this organization. In reply we received its charter and a detailed list of the documents needed for the entering. It turned out that the Ring unites not blacksmiths or blacksmiths groups but cities where art forging traditions are actively developed.
The second part of February was marked for the Ukrainian blacksmiths with holding of the Kiev exhibition of author’s forged works in the Mystets’ (The Creator) Gallery.
The exhibition was interesting and rich. The hall was full with works by masters from Vinnitsa and Kiev, Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk, Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. It was a vigorous beginning of the festival-exhibition movement of the Union of masters of blacksmiths art in Ukraine that raised the high bar and imposed a high responsibility for organizers of all the following events of the year 2007. We are greatly thankful to the Union of artists in Kiev for their support of movement of blacksmiths-artists and allocation of the wonderful exhibition hall.
Aleksandr Milovzorov is an Honored artist of Ukraine. He graduated from the Muhina Arts School as a ceramist. He was one of the first people to initiate the reviving of the artistic blacksmithing in Ukraine. In the mid-1970s in full swing of the stagnation period the young artist got down to this difficult task, learned everything from scratch. He became an acknowledged master. He was the first to gather together talented blacksmiths from different regions of our country and organize first blacksmiths festivals. It was a pleiad of patriarchs of artistic blacksmithing. The first wave of revival…
The house-museum of art blacksmithing
This winter I and Yevgeniy Yermak spent the whole week in Huub Sensen’s blacksmiths school in Holland.
Naturally, we had a lot to learn from a person, who had traveled all over the world, studying different secrets and methods of forging. For example, it was very interesting for us to know new fine points of Damask steel production. The host also with pleasure took lessons from Yevgeniy Yermak. He often repeated that the Ukrainian school is one of the most developed in the world. The most amazing thing for us in this wonderful blacksmiths atmosphere was the house where we lived and worked. Each square centimetre of this house was decorated with metal works brought from different parts of the world.
The Museum of folk architecture, life and children creative work in Prelestnoe village of Slavyansk district of Donetsk region is a unique place on the east of Ukraine.
It was established in the most picturesque place of Donbass in 1983 by efforts of one enthusiast and artist Aleksandr Ivanovich Shevchenko. Now there is a whole architectural complex with an ancient wattle and daub hut, a forge, a small free-standing village workshop, and a real windmill in this reserve of national identity.
The hut with its whitewashed walls and an attic covered with straw, and with jugs on the wicker paling is an integral sign of the Ukrainian village in Slobozhanshchyna at the end of the 19th – at the beginning of the 20th centuries. The level of man’s prosperity was emphasized by a chamber where grain, farming stock and different household utensils: chisels, planes, smoothing planes – were kept…
In 2004 the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise founded The Magazine of Metal. And it was a crucial point in the Forged Figures Park foundation and development of the festival of the same name. By efforts of the magazine’s staff blacksmiths from the remotest parts of Ukraine got to know about each other and Donetsk blacksmiths art festival and took up the initiative to establish a creative union.
The same year the Forged Figures Park festival became All-Ukrainian and the first joint work of blacksmiths from 12 Ukrainian regions The Sweethearts Pavilion appeared. In 2005 The Zodiac Signs Alley was founded. The joint blacksmiths creative work was scaled up (12 one-and-a-half-meter-high works were made by the masters from Ivano-Frankovsk, Kiev, Kirovograd region and Donetsk) and the quality of forging was improved.