The Johnstown Area Heritage Association and the Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America (ABANA) are partnering to present a new temporary exhibition, #150mmchallenge, in the second-floor galleries of the Frank & Sylvia Pasquerilla Heritage Discovery Center.
The exhibition, which will be on display through mid-October 2021, is a 150-piece display of ironwork that was curated and produced by Delyth Done and Ambrose Burne of the United Kingdom’s Hereford College of Arts.
The #150mmchallenge is celebration of process, material, creativity, and ingenuity in forged metal. It started with a simple assignment from lecturer Ambrose Burne for artist-blacksmithing students, designed to develop creative thinking through the imposition of a tight parameter: make a creative forged outcome from a piece of 20mm x 20mm x 150mm steel. The challenge went viral on social media, and other forged metal designers, artists, and makers from different continents began to make and share, beginning a process of connecting international blacksmith communities.
The collected pieces, all made from the same amount of steel, are from a whole range of people passionate about forged metal design — from students, amateurs, through to key industry professionals across the globe.
“By bringing this to venues across the United States, ABANA is providing opportunities for the public to see first-hand the #150mmchallenge’s myriad of forms coaxed from a uniform piece of steel,” said Leigh Morrell, president of ABANA. “This exhibit speaks to the endless creativity and skill of modern-day artisans who use traditional blacksmithing techniques to manipulate steel to magnificent effect.”
“Johnstown is quickly becoming the national center for forged metal arts,” added JAHA president Richard Burkert. “The #150mmChallenge exhibit amply demonstrates the explosion of creativity and skill seen in this reemerging tradition. It’s a wonderful treasure of an exhibit.”
“ABANA is the premier national blacksmiths’ association representing artists from all over the nation and the globe, said Janie Leck-Grela, ABANA’s executive director. “This collaboration brings a different audience to each organization. Johnstown has always been a city where diversity, creativity, and tenacity has thrived. We plan to present many more traveling exhibitions in the future.”