Anvils on Tour : Biennale Europea d’Arte Fabrille, Stia, Tuscany
Published on 24.09.15
The Biennale Europea d’Arte Fabrille is a world famous international Blacksmithing festival, held every two years in the Tuscan mountains above Florence. It’s here that the World Forge Championships take place, attracting Blacksmiths from across the globe. This year we had students, graduates and staff from the programme attending and participating. Gabe Chaille and Jason
The Biennale Europea d’Arte Fabrille is a world famous international Blacksmithing festival, held every two years in the Tuscan mountains above Florence. It’s here that the World Forge Championships take place, attracting Blacksmiths from across the globe.
This year we had students, graduates and staff from the programme attending and participating. Gabe Chaille and Jason Nickson, who are about to start their third year, embarked on a real adventure and cycled from Hereford to Stia, a journey that took them four weeks and saw them cycle over 1500 miles. I was delighted to be in the town square as they arrived, tanned and surprisingly not exhausted!!
They slept under the stars as they cycled through Europe, searching out Blacksmiths along the way and cycled, on average, a staggering 85 miles a day. Ambrose and I, however, opted to take a stunning drive through the mountains.
Toby Forbes Gower also flew in and we also managed to meet recent graduates Jack Waygood, Sam Pearce and Matt Garton while we were there.
We fielded a number of Hereford Anvil teams for the live forge competitions with this year’s theme being masks and puppets. Teams from across the world (including Australia, Canada, Israel, Russia and the Ukraine) were given just three hours to complete their entry.
Our first team saw Anvil Students Gabe, Jason and Toby choosing to forge in the cool of the evening, finishing their last rivet with just one minute left on the clock.
Alongside the live forge competitions was a conference with international speakers and an extensive exhibition hall. The Anvils lent support to Brian Russell from the UK and witnessed American Daniel Miller’s fantastic attention to detail in the way that the connects his fire irons. We were also bowled over by the diversity and extraordinary craftsmanship of Ryszard Mazur from Poland.
Saturday afternoon was extraordinary. I got to meet Claudio Bottero and one of the Stenico brothers who are Italian Blacksmiths much revered by students and experienced professionals alike and often referenced in students sketchbooks. Despite their lack of English and my lack of Italian, we were able to agree a visit to Hereford, which I’m hoping to plan for the start of semester two this academic year.
The whole event was full of networking opportunities and I talked to many people from across the world and made so many new friends. I had great conversations about our BA (Hons) Artist Blacksmithing degree and was pleased and excited to find that most people connected Blacksmithing with Hereford and had heard of the programme. What a great weekend!