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, visitors can enjoy an authentic, site-based experience.  All workshops are free and appropriate for kids and adults alike.  Supplies are limited and popular workshops fill up quickly.

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knob creek whiskey image

Heritage Craft Tent

1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Sparks, hammers, and flames! Back by popular demand, the Heritage Craft Tent, presented by Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, is not to be missed. This mini festival within a festival highlights the tastiest of all heritage crafts, rye whiskey distilling! Check out tastings for the adults, interactive activities for the kids with The Bradford House Historical Association, live art with Touchstone Center for Crafts, and local blacksmiths and metalsmiths demonstrations provided by Glen Gardner, Artifact Metalworks, and more!

image of molten aluminum (aka space metal) being poured into scratch molds

Space Metal Scratch-Mold Workshops

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

The most popular experience at the Festival of Combustion is no doubt the scratch-mold workshop.  This year, carve your own design and have it cast forever in solid aluminum—a.k.a. space metal! Supplies of scratch molds will be staggered throughout the day this year to avoid congestion. Fifty molds will be released every hour on the hour at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 p.m, and 5:00 p.m. so get them while they’re hot! But don’t worry, if you miss your chance to carve one during the festival, you can always come back for a metal casting workshop.

image showing penny pendants created during the workshop

Penny Pendants with Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media—New this year!

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Create one-of-a-kind jewelry from a penny with PCA&M! Participants will use metalsmithing tools (hammers, bench blocks, and steel stamps) to transform a flattened penny into a personalized pendant or keychain.

Embossed Metal Ornaments with Contemporary Craft—New this Year!

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Make your own metal ornament with Contemporary Craft and take it home with you! Using simple embossing tools, participants will make a metal embossed hanging  / ornament working from provided patterns, or design their own patterns. Each hanging / ornament can be finished with a wonderful assortment of beads and bobbles.
festival goes create unique mosaics using fiesta dinner ware during the festival of combustion

Mosaic Coaster Workshops—New this year!

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Led by local mosaic artist Amy Burke, this workshop is a spin-off from the popular Fiestaware mosaics from festivals past and an exciting chance to create a fun and functional coaster using shaped tile and stone. Choose from over a dozen different colors and learn the traditional process of mosaic. Workshop slots will be staggered throughout the day this year to avoid congestion. Participants can sign up for available spots every half hour between 1 – 6:00 p.m.  Supplies are limited so sign up early!

glazing raku ceramics

Raku Ceramic Workshops

1:00 – 6:00 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!

mohter and son creating glass mosaic ornament

Glass Ornament Workshops

1:00 – 6:00 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 magnet using different pieces of colored glass.

iron casting during festival of combustion

Iron Casting Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Molten iron returns to the Carrie Furnaces!  Watch Rivers of Steel’s metal arts crew cast iron all day, and stick around for a fiery evening performance iron pour in the Western Courtyard!

image of artist welding a metal pipe with bright flash of light

Welding Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

The festival showcases both MIG and TIG welding demonstrations featuring local artists and tradesmen throughout the day.

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

Glassblowing Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 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

Blacksmithing 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 Pittsburgh bladesmith Artifact Metalworks, regional artist Dani Spewak, and artisans from Touchstone Center for Crafts!

Artisan Tattooing

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Back by popular demand, 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

image of graffiti painting using festival of combustion colors

Live Graffiti Painting Demonstrations

4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Rivers of Steel’s graffiti arts crew will be painting throughout the festival—showing off their aerosol skills to produce a new mural by the end of the night!

Learn more about the events

such as tours, workshops, and festivals happening at each unique attraction.