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

1:00pm – 6:00pm

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!
COST = 4-inch molds = $10.00  |  6-inch molds = $15.00  |  custom & larger molds = $20.00

sample fiestaware mosaic

New This Year! – Fiestaware Mosaics Workshop

1:00pm – 6:00pm

Led by local mosaic artist Rachel Sager, 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 = Medium size mosaics = $10.00  |  Large size mosaics = $15.00

glazing raku ceramics

Raku Ceramic Workshops

1:00pm – 6:00pm

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 = $10.00 each

woman carefully paints glaze on a pot to be fired during festival of combustion

New This Year! – Community Clay Portraits

1:00pm – 6:00pm

Presented by Bathhouse Ceramics at the Braddock Carnegie Library, participants in this activity can create a small ceramic portrait and include a message about themselves.  Make one or two to leave for someone else, and take a portrait of your neighbor home with you!
COST = $5.00

mohter and son creating glass mosaic ornament

Glass Ornament Workshops

1:00pm – 6:00pm

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.
COST = FREE

children work on hot crayon encaustics during festival of combustion

Hot Crayon Encaustic Workshops

1:00pm – 6:00pm

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.
COST = FREE

iron casting during festival of combustion

Iron Casting Demonstrations

1:00pm – 6:00pm

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 1300 pounds of iron each tap.  Carve a scratch-mold and get in on the action.

welding demo during festival of combustion

Welding Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 pm

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

glass blowing demonstration during festival of combustion

Glass Blowing Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 pm

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.

hammer striking an anvil

Blacksmith Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 pm

Blacksmiths and knifesmiths will be on site throughout the day showcasing their skills in this historic trade.  Featured demonstrators include Artifact Metalworks, Churchmouse Forge, and teaching artists from Touchstone Center for Crafts.

Elsnters Rod and Kustom works on an old model A

Custom Auto Work Demonstrations

1:00 – 6:00 pm

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!

artist Matt sphar paints a mural tower

Mural Tower – Live Painting Demonstration

6:00 – 10:00 pm

Rivers of Steel’s Urban Art crew will be painting throughout the evening portion of the festival—showing off their aerosol skills to produce a 20-foot mural tower by the end of the night! (Pictured here artist Matt Sphar paints a mural tower in his signature style.)

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