Steel Yard PVD FEST 2017 Recap!

Blacksmithing Intstructors Willow & Nick. Photo by Prestly Imaging

The Steel Yard teamed up with PVDFest  and the City of Providence this year to bring folks to the Yard and the Yard out into the streets! We had the pleasure to participate in the initial Press conference where Howie Sneider, Executive Director of the Steel Yard spoke  alongside FirstWorks‘ Kathleen Pletcher, City of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Providence Art Culture Tourism, participating local artists Gather Glass as well as Community Partners ALEX AND ANI & Waste Management.

Howie then participated at the The Ideas Conference on June 1st with a panel discussion on “Making and Community” with Brian Jepson (Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire), Dr. Morgan Grefe (RI Historical Society), and DS Darrell Kinsel (BOOM Concepts, Pittsburgh), the event was moderated by Christina Bevilacqua (Trinity Rep).

“We are thrilled to be a part of PVDFest again and showcase the brilliant ingenuity of so many artists and makers. Not only is the Steel Yard’s mobile Blacksmithing trailer returning as part of the RI Mini-Maker Faire, but this year we will bring festival goers to the Yard for the post-conference dance party,” said Howie Sneider, Executive Director of the Steel Yard. “Huge thanks to the Mayor, the City of Providence and Sponsors for being such great cultural partners!” Said Howie

We hosted a free post-conference dance party here at the Steel Yard from 8pm-11pm that night. Nearly 300 flocked the Yard, which was illuminated in purples and greens courtesy of  DJ Thirsty & with and danced to house and funk provided DJ Studs Jerkel. Laughing Gorilla Catering and Revival Brewing Company provided all refreshments for all the party goers, including a Mayor Jorge Elorza. It was a wonderful event and we are so thankful to work with the city and kick-off such an exciting week of arts and culture. 

The Ideas Conference kickstarts at 9:30am with a panel discussion on “Making and Community” with Brian Jepson (Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire), Howie Sneider (Steel Yard), Dr. Morgan Grefe (RI Historical Society), and DS Darrell Kinsel (BOOM Concepts, Pittsburgh), moderated by Christina Bevilacqua (Trinity Rep).

On Saturday, June 3rd the Steel Yard hauled our Blacksmithing Trailer down to the RI Mini Maker Faire and to celebrate the city wide party. We had the honor to share our art with a bigger crowd than ever, an estimated 3,000 attendee! 

Thank you to our friends and Yardies Willow Zietman & Nick Tomlin for providing live demonstrations of this historic process all day along. Guests experienced the craft of metalworking first hand while our demonstrators showcased the basics of heating and shaping steel highlighting fundamental blacksmithing skills such as tapering, spreading, bending, scrolling, and shouldering.

Willow Zietman is a blacksmith, flameworker and metal artist. She has studied metal arts in several places, including Hampshire College, Thielsch Welding School, Penland School of Crafts, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, where she was the Alan Gordon Sandford Fellowship recipient in 2009. Specializing in the smaller side of blacksmithing, Willow makes kitchenware, hardware, and whatever people hold and touch and use. She lives with her hedgehogs in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Nick Tomlin grew up in Singapore and England before moving to Providence to study Industrial Design at RISD. During his studies he became deeply involved in studying geometry, in nature, ornamentation and industry, which have since had a strong influence on his work. He then took up Blacksmithing for the sake of tool making, and has for the past three years made a journeyman’s seasonal migration between Bogota, Colombia and New England. In Bogota he regularly teaches a 90-hour course in Sacred Geometry at the Escuela de Artes y Oficios Santo Domingo, one of South America’s leading craft schools.

There are over one hundred Maker Faires each year, many right here in the northeast. You can see the map and schedule at

Check out these amazing photos!

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