Main events of the Donetsk blacksmiths festival were traditionally held on the third weekend of September. According to the statistics during this period from Friday till Sunday there has been the cloudless sky above Donetsk for some decades. Although, there was a wall of rain around the Donbass capital and everyone was made wet on their way to Donetsk, nobody of the participants got soaked in the Forged Figures Park under the protection of the divine triad of Hephaestus–Vulcan–Svarog this year! Of course, the organizers were preparing for the worst but the weather forecasts proved to be wrong. God is merciful to blacksmiths! Especially to the blacksmiths from seven countries of the world who gathered together in a great team having covered hundreds of kilometers to decorate the Forged Figures Park with their masterpieces again and add a fresh air to its incredible atmosphere.
So, there were almost 300 of present and absentee participants from different parts of Europe. Who are these people?
Firstly, they are the representatives of the Ukrainian blacksmiths elite from Uzhgorod and Lvov to Kharkov and Sevastopol. Secondly, they are our Russian brothers who came as a big team with a great kharizma from Moscow and Moscow region, Toliatti and Krasnodar, Ulianovsk and Ryazan. And thirdly, they are the delegates from Austria, Holland, Czech Republic, Georgia and Belarus. I can hardly contain myself from enumerating all the participants by name with the thanks to everybody. I will confide myself to paying compliments to the masters who took part in the most important festival projects.
Donetsk display of the Ornamental Smithery exhibition
Donetsk display of the Ornamental Smithery international exhibition of blacksmiths art is a final stage of the exhibitions that were started in May 2008 and are different from Kiev and Ivano-Frankovsk ones. On the one hand, there are more works by blacksmiths of the Donbass Blacksmiths Guild displayed in this exhibition; on the other hand, the comprehensive approach is realized in it. For instance, the group participants of the exhibition were the blacksmiths who have taken part in the Zakarpattya Gamora festival (the organizer Sergey Tyasko, Uzhgorod), Nikita Shentsov and Igor Aleksik (12 years old children), Vladimir Popovich and Sergey Perepelitsa, the Tri Ivana (Three Ivans) company (Uzhgorod), Vasiliy Rusak (Kosov), Pavel Gust (Irshava, Zakarpattya), Ananstasia and Sergey Polubotko (Ivano-Frankovsk).
Three specialized blacksmiths schools represented their works as well. There were works by students and graduates of the Vizhnitsa Vasiliy Shkriblyak (the college founder in 1905) Applied Arts College (Chernovtsy region), of the Institute of Arts of the Subcarpathia National Vasiliy Stefanik (a famous Ukrainian writer) University (Ivano-Frankovsk) and of the Kiev Mikhail Boychuk (an artist shot by Stalin in 1930s) State Institute of Decorative and Applied Arts and Design.
Along with such famous and well-known participants of the exhibition as the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise, Sergey Popov, Victor Mihalev (Donetsk), the Tantiema (Kiev), Svyatoslav Lev (Lvov), Huub Sensen (Holland) and Shartella Santjago (Belgium) there were some new participants this year. They were Vladimir Golovchuk (Lutsk), Andrey Bolyuh (Lvov), Vitaliy Bezbah (Odessa region), the Elisavettgradskiy Kuznechnyi Dvor blacksmiths enterprise (Kirovograd), and Leonid Krasitskiy (Kramatorsk).
The extravaganza of philosophic ideas, dynamics of the world set in metal and just very beautiful works made in various styles from modern to renaissance. It is better to remember the authors’ names with your heart while watching their wonderful works!
The exhibition will be displayed to the end of October! Don’t miss it!
The Rings Alley is the main subject of the festival
It is a central project. It is dedicated to the Donbass capital entering the Ring of European Cities With Iron Works in 2008 and is consisted of two parts. The first part of the project is ten one-meter-large rings and seven benches forged and brought to Donetsk and installed in the Rings Alley that was solemnly open by Donetsk mayor Aleksandr Lukianchenko together with the President of the Ring Josef Hofmarcher (Austria) and the head of the project Victor Burduk at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 20. The second part of the project was the joint work of the festival guests on the European Ring that had been produced and installed in the Forged Figures Park beforehand by the masters of the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise. In course of the festival the project participants produced 22 works and welded them to the bridge of the four meter high Ring with the logo “The Ring Of European Cities With Iron Works”.
Here are the authors of the rings and benches for the Ring: Yuriy Krush (Belarus-Kiev), The Rosich Smithery (Rakitnoe city, Kiev region), Oleg Grytsyuk and Victor Kamets (Lutsk), the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise (Donetsk), the Artferrum private enterprise (Odessa), Sergey Tyasko, Yan Potrogosh, Igor Aleksik (Uzhgorod), the Vega blacksmiths enterprise (Dnepropetrovsk), the Korch (Ulianovsk), Dmitriy Listopad (Simferopol) and, finally, Vladimir Soldatov and Mikhail Vasiliev (Makeevka). It was blacksmiths from Makeevks who were pointed out by the representatives of the Lyapko medical and manufacturing corporation as the authors of the most inspired and plastic forged work and presented with a big set of healing needle-bearing applicators. Their ring is called The Dancer. It is a real masterpiece of blacksmith’s plastic art, a unity of the idea, an implementation of lightness, freedom and femininity. Such works appear not so often!
The benches’ authors: the Ukrainian Gefest blacksmiths enterprise (Donetsk), Vitaliy Bezbah (Odessa region), the Zodchiy (Kharkov), Aleksandr Gorobyuk (Rovno), The Laguna (Chernovtsy), the Dzherelo (Lutsk), the Tantiema (Kiev). After long hesitations between the works of Chernovtsy and Rovno teams the representatives of the Lyapko medical and manufacturing corporation chose the work by A. Gorobyuk.
35 teams consisted of 3 to 10 people were forging thirty centimeter large rings for the bridge of The European Ring on 16 anvils during the festival. It was impossible to define the best one among them. Every work was stylish, bright and interesting! The Rosich Smithery even brought an additional anvil with them to implement their difficult and beautiful idea, and Russians joined together in one team of six blacksmiths for the same purpose. The atmosphere of the holiday and masterly skills inspired and put everybody up. The team from Lutsk headed by Vladimir Golovchuk forged two works, and the combined team from Konstantinovka-Kremenchug headed by Andrey Bondarenko made three rings at once! Perfect works were made by students of the Vinnitsa college, the Vega-S young team (Dnepropetrovsk), Andrey and Nastya Bolyuh (Lvov), teams from Poltava, Zaporozhye region, the Crimea, Lvov… There were absentee participants as well: two rings were brought from Belarus, one from Austria and one more from Krasnodar.
When all the festival works had been fixed on the bridge it became one of the brightest and richest compositions of the Forged Figures Park! As well as the Sweethearts Pavilion this bridge will become another tradition and legend for the newly married couples. After the wedding ceremony at the registry office they will have to kiss in the Sweethearts Pavilion and go through the European Ring to strengthen their new family. I think the word “European” will soon be changed into “Wedding” or something like this among the people!
Festival Programme of anniversary scope
Thanks to the active support of the Donetsk City Council and the sponsors the festival organizers succeeded to make its programme full of different interesting events and contests.
On Saturday there was the contest of the national blacksmiths clothes, the blacksmiths cooking show, the competition for eating meat dumplings while forging against the background of ringing anvils. Strongman Dmitriy Khaladzhi and guitarist Enver Izmailov performed their shows, and a tireless Dutchman Huub Sensen presented the forging theatre on the festival stage. Then there was a party for two hundred men organized in the alley under the arches and the music had been playing till late at night, and people were dancing and singing without tiredness…
More than 30 participants took part in the contest of blacksmiths clothes. Festival participants were well prepared for this competition as they understood what an extraordinary national colour such peculiarities could add to the fest of fire and metal. Huub Sensen fron Holland was awarded with the first prize by the jury head, Donetsk fashion designer Victor Anisimov.
There were eight dishes cooked by festival participants and presented for the cooking contest. They were goulash from the Gefest, kulesh from Kaspruk, the Hog’s Trotter by the Kuznya Rosich, Chernovtsy fish soup, Lvov bigas, Donbass cutlets of the 100% TM and the Nightingales’ Hearts by guests from Simferopol. The jury head Dmitriy Khaladzhi commented upon it: “I have never tried anything tastier than Tchernovthy fish soup!” This dish got the first prize and its cook Evgeniy Oleksiv got the microwave oven as a present.
On Sunday there was a blacksmiths heptathlon championship. There were eight blacksmiths participating. Dmitriy Tilinin (Donetsk) got the first place. The second and the third places were held by Aleksandr Mikhalev (Simferopol) and Yuriy Nevostruev (Sergiev Posad of the Moscow region). The same day Leonid Krasitskiy shoed a horse that was later taking festival guests and audience for a ride in the real forged Gipsy kibitka.
In the end I would like to thank sincerely everybody who participated in this anniversary blacksmiths show, especially those ones who helped to organize it – the Donetsk City Council, the Donetsk city mayor Aleksandr Lukianchenko personally, our general sponsor the Alchevsk Iron and Steel Works international public company, the general information sponsor Ukrainian Golden Gramophone media group and our sponsors the 100% TM, the Lyapko medical and manufacturing corporation, the Spanish Yard boutique-restaurant and the Kremen insurance company!
Indeed, there were neither 200 participants who came to Donetsk, nor 300 who participated in the blacksmiths projects, but many hundreds of blacksmiths-artists from many cities of the world who wanted to attend the festival very much but due to some reasons couldn’t do it. They supported us with their hearts as well as millions of TV viewers who watched the events of one of the greatest cultural projects of the Eastern Ukraine with curiosity and love. Thank you all!
More detailed information about participants and events of the festival you can find in the next edition of The Magazine of Metal.
Head of the organizing committee Igor Rudenko