Credit: Martha Jones

A unique forged metal festival returns to Hereford this March. Ferrous 2022 will bring the best of international and British artist blacksmithing to the city centre for a lively and entertaining celebration of metalcraft with something to appeal to visitors of all ages.

Produced in partnership with Hereford College of Arts and Hereford Business Improvement District, Ferrous 2022 is a festival like no other. It celebrates Artist Blacksmithing as an artform and a community of makers; investigates craft in the UK and internationally; places Hereford at the heart of excellence in forged metal; engages schools, communities, tourists, and the public with the county of Herefordshire and all it has to offer.

This will be the third edition of Ferrous festival, which previously took over city centre venues in 2017 and 2019, with its exhibitions, talks and events. Ferrous attracts interest from local, national, and international artist blacksmiths and metalworkers, as well as students and potential students of metalwork, and this year will feature cutting-edge exhibitions alongside popular attractions, including ‘have-a go forging’.

Festival Director Delyth Done, who is Head of the School of Making and Design and Course Leader for BA (Hons) Artist Blacksmithing at Hereford College of Arts, explains, “The theme of this year’s festival is how craft and making can nurture us and our relationships and help us connect to place and people. Ferrous celebrates care, connection, community and craft. It not only exhibits examples of how artists and makers evidence this in their practice but Ferrous invites everyone to engage in making and know its values for themselves”

Ferrous 2022’s flagship exhibitions include; Queer Metal, an exhibition of work exploring the role of identity through creative metalwork and celebrating LGBTQI+ makers, curated by Craftspace in collaboration with artists Dauvit Alexander and Rebekah Frank, with a newly commissioned digital film by Rebekah; Japanese photographer, Jun Ishikura’s stunning images of artist blacksmiths from around the world, shown for the first time in the UK; Sharing is Caring #2, a collaboration in metal art by The University of Gothenburg, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Estonian Academy of Arts and Hereford College of Arts.

The #sharingiscaring exhibition will feature a fascinating collection of artefacts, collected over 56 years by a farm worker in Herefordshire, that are usually on display at Pensons on the Netherwood Estate. Artist Anya Keeley will display her creative responses to this collection and is creating a project with a group of local people, based around the objects they find on a series of walks. Rebecca Finney will lead a series of school projects, to help children to #getoutgetinspired where they live, and copies of her Drawn to Nature activity book will be given out to festival visitors.

Hereford Cathedral will show work by contemporary artist blacksmiths alongside its exhibition of historic metal objects, All Things Bright. At Hereford Art Gallery, an exhibition called Forging Replicas and Artefactsis the practical culmination of a three-year project led by Dr John Grayson and second-year degree undergraduates in Artist Blacksmithing at Hereford College of Arts. Meanwhile, pop-up spaces, courtesy of Maylord Shopping Centre, Old Market, All Saints church and NMITE, will host exhibitions by Hereford Anvils alumni; workshops and an exhibition ofwork created by local schoolchildren that taps into the mental health benefits of making.

The rich programme of exhibitions and events, includes crowd-pleasing live forging in the city centre, when people can book a ticket to have a go at forging, under the supervision of experienced artist blacksmiths; an exclusive talk about the Hereford Screen, which is now part of the V&A’s collection, by its renovator Brian Hall; tin-plate workshops for children and young people; a series of free walking and exhibition trails; and the Nowhere Forge, a self-sufficient, sustainably powered, mobile blacksmithing workshop.

For more details of individual events, visit: www.ferrousfestival.co.uk