Hands-on Experiences & Demos

Workshops and demonstrations at the Festival of Combustion offer a chance for folks to get a closer look at the action and even make something of their own to take home that day.  Whether your interest is artistic or industrial, each of the following activities reflect the type of creative hard work that built America and enables visitors to enjoy an authentic, site-based experience.  All workshops are appropriate for both kids and adults alike.

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Mother and daughter work on scratchmolds together

Iron Scratch-mold Workshop

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The most popular experience at the Festival of Combustion is no doubt the scratch-mold workshop.  Choose from a range of mold sizes and shapes to carve your own design and have it cast forever in solid iron! Supplies of scratch-molds will be staggered throughout the day to avoid congestion.
COST = Scratch-mold workshops are included in the cost of admission but these go fast so get them while they’re hot!

festival goes create unique mosaics using fiesta dinner ware during the festival of combustion

2019 Festival Favorite! – Fiestaware Mosaics Workshop

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Led by local mosaic artist Amy Burke, this workshop is an exciting chance to create something fun and colorful using shaped and broken pieces of Fiestaware plates.  Choose from over a dozen different colors and learn the traditional process of mosaic mounted on raw slate.  Julian Schnabel’s got nothing on us!
COST  = Mosaic workshops are included with the price of admission.

glazing raku ceramics

Raku Ceramic Workshops

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Back by popular demand, raku ceramic workshops are led by Millvale’s Ton Pottery.  Festival-goers can glaze a vase or other ceramic object, have it fired in an outdoor raku-style furnace right before your eyes, and take the final product home that day!
COST = Raku items are included with the cost of admission.

mohter and son creating glass mosaic ornament

Glass Ornament Workshops

1:00  – 7:00 p.m.

Designed specifically for the little-ones, these workshops are included with the price of admission and the perfect way to get expressive in a hurry.   Representatives from Pittsburgh Glass Center will work with you to design and create a delicate glass ornament or magnate using different pieces of colored glass.

children create a hot crayon encaustic painting during the festival of combustion

Hot Crayon Encaustic Workshops

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Hot crayon encaustic workshops are also included with the price of admission and allow participants to create unique and colorful paintings on wood panel using melted crayons.  Drip, smear, carve or dab different colors together to make your own design.

iron casting during festival of combustion

Iron Casting Demonstrations

1:00  – 7:30 p.m.

Molten iron returns to the Carrie Furnaces!  Watch Rivers of Steel’s Metal Arts crew cast iron all day using our largest furnace named GOMER, that tops out at nearly 1100 pounds of iron each tap.  Carve a scratch-mold and get in on the action.

artist Patrick Camut welds an aluminum sculpture during the festival of combustion

Welding Demonstrations

1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The festival showcases both MIG and TIG welding featuring partnering organizations including Mobile Sculpture Workshop, and Trade Institute of Pittsburgh.

artists from the pittsbrugh glass center demonstrate glass blowing techniques for interested onlookers

Glass Blowing Demonstrations

2:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh was not only well known as the “Iron City,” it was also a huge hub for glassmaking throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Watch artists from the Pittsburgh Glass Center display the magic of glassblowing throughout the day.

detailed image of a blacksmith's anvil with the words 3-d printer written on the front of the anvil

Blacksmith Demonstrations

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Blacksmiths and knifesmiths will be on site throughout the day showcasing their skills in this historic trade.  Featured demonstrators include Forged in Fire Season 7 champion Chris Hedberg, Pittsburgh knifesmith Artifact Metalworks, and teaching artists from Touchstone Center for Crafts and Johnstown’s Center for Metal Arts among others!

Elsnters Rod and Kustom works on an old model A

Custom Auto Work Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Elstner’s Rod and Kustom is back this year bringing their expertise in custom fabrication.  Watch them cut, grind, patch and sand away the age as they bring a Ford Model A back to life!

Artisan Tattooing

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

New to the festival this year, custom tattoos with Homestead Pennsylvania’s KSD & the Radio Room! Watch these incredible artists at work throughout the day and even sign up to get your own permanent festival memento!

Price: Custom tattoo costs vary

artist Matt sphar paints a mural tower

Live Graffiti Painting Demonstrations

1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Rivers of Steel’s Graffiti Art crew will be painting throughout the festival—showing off their aerosol skills to produce a new mural by the end of the night! (Pictured here artist Matt Sphar paints a mural tower in his signature style.)

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