On Saturday, September 28th from 1:00-10:00 pm, Join Rivers of Steel for its signature event, the Festival of Combustion—a celebration of industrial arts and American crafts!
Showcasing the creativity and innovation of our region’s artists, makers, and builders, the daylong festival includes hands-on activities, craft demonstrations, live music, tours, an artisan marketplace, food, festivities, and much more.
New this year to commemorate its fifth anniversary, the Festival has expanded evening performances! Rivers of Steel and 91.3 WYEP are excited to present acclaimed Nashville singer-songwriter Nikki Lane headlining the show, with the throwback rock and roll sounds of the Ruen Brothers, an English duo from a blue-collar steel town, getting the evening started.
Fireworks, flame performances, an evening iron pour, and a host of arts activities will also light up the night in the western courtyard of the Carrie Blast Furnaces.
A family-friendly event, new hands-on activities this year include Fiestaware Mosaics and free kids zone workshops for the little ones. Live demonstrations include iron casting, blacksmithing, glassblowing, raku ceramics, welding, fabrication and more!
With craft beer, food trucks, live music, and an artisan marketplace, you won’t want to miss Rivers of Steel’s biggest event of the year!Click for more information
- 6 weekends – 2 and 3-day workshops
- 6 different studios – Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Glass, Metals & Jewelry, Painting & Drawing, or Special Topics
- 23 amazing instructors
- 23 inspiring workshops for beginner through advanced artists!
- Plus! The Sixth Annual Alchemist Picnic
You’ll come away inspired, restored, and rejuvenated!
Robert Little Scholarship
100% Tuition Scholarship: To honor respected nature printer, Robert Little, a scholarship has been set up in his name. This scholarship is open to anyone taking an adult-level course that incorporates nature. Apply Now!
Touchstone’s 150-acre campus in the beautiful Laurel Highlands is the perfect natural setting to inspire creativity.
Choose from one of these Nature-themed Workshops:
AUG 19–23 | 5-Day
with Martha Grover
Working with porcelain on and off the wheel, Martha demonstrates how to make her signature undulating functional forms. You will create an assortment of functional forms including cups, bowls, vases, pitchers, lidded forms, and baskets.
SEP 28–30 | 3-Day
Alternative Firing Techniques
with Bob Green
Explore several different ceramic firing techniques: raku, burnishing with a terra sigillata slip, and naked raku– combining raku and burnishing. Participants must bring both bone-dry and bisque-fired pieces.
Glass & Basketry
JUL 8–12 | 5-Day
Intro to Stained Glass Copper Foil Technique
with Neile Cooper
Learn the fundamentals of creating stained glass using the copper foil technique. You will learn how to incorporate non-glass, unconventional materials like crystals, shells, or pressed flowers into your pieces.
AUG 31–SEP 2 | 3-Day
Flameworking Glass Flora
with Erin Garmezy
Create botanical works on the torch using borosilicate glass. You will discover basic techniques for constructing organic forms to create leaves, flowers, vines, and other organic forms.
AUG 19–23 | 5-Day
Willow Baskets to Grow and Weave
with Jo Campbell-Amsler
Focusing on the basic techniques used in willow basketry, you will learn everything from making basic basket shapes, rims, and handles to finishing techniques. You will design and weave 3-4 of your own rib style willow baskets in 5 days.
JUN 8–9 | 2-Day
Plein Air Painting
with William Pfahl
Find your own vision learn how to see colors in nature while mixing paint to match the colors you see. Bill will demonstrate what excites him – building the bones of a painting from a few color/value shapes that relate in a strong harmony.
AUG 31–SEP 2 | 3-Day
Back to Basics
with Ron Donoughe
This workshop reinforces the basics of landscape painting including composition, value, color, seeing shapes, and edge treatment. The workshop will also touch on the use of digital photography as an aid. Ron will be giving numerous demonstrations and plenty of individual attention.
Drawing & Photography
JUL 29–AUG 2 | 5-Day
with Roger Hyndman
This workshop focuses on the beauty of the Laurel Highlands and Touchstone’s 150-acre campus, with 2 days of special access to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Learn to record the countryside, waterfalls, organic forms, wildlife, and the human figure in a natural environment.
SEP 7-8 | 2-Day
A Closer Look at Nature: Botanical Illustration
with Robin Menard
Botanical illustration involves very close observation and scientifically accurate drawing to capture the habits, details, textures, and color of a plant. You will take a closer look at the common things all around us while immersed in the beauty of Touchstone’s 150-acre campus in the Laurel Highlands.
JUN 8–9 | 2-Day
Fundamentals of Digital Photography
with Rick Szymanski
Get your camera off AUTO mode and take manual control for better photos! You will explore Touchstone’s 150-acre campus and nearby locations in the beautiful Laurel Highlands while learning various styles and techniques such as portraiture, landscape, documentary, and abstract art, as well as computer editing techniques.
The Thaddeus Mosley Scholarship
100% Tuition Scholarship: This scholarship provides 100% tuition for any adult-level sculpture-based workshop at Touchstone Center for Crafts. Additional funds may be awarded to offset the cost of housing, meals, travel and materials fees on a case-by-case basis. This scholarship was established in honor of lifelong Touchstone instructor and friend, Thaddeus Mosley.
Interested in applying? Consider one of these 2019 sculpture-based workshops:
The Art of Welding with Glen Gardner
This hands-on class is focused on the various skills required to join metal parts through the application of heat. Whether your interest lies in creating sculpture, metal furniture or even someday building a bicycle, this workshop will inspire confidence for building those dreams.
Forging Sculptural Forms with Aaron DeShields
This week-long intensive will focus on creative methods and problem solving as it relates to the art of sculptural blacksmithing. Developing artists and seasoned smiths alike are encouraged to join!
The Narrative Figure with Kyle and Kelly Phelps
Kelly and Kyle share their process from start to finish and how the use of the figure can be the perfect vehicle to talk about topics like politics, environment, race, religion, class, sexuality, gender, poverty, war, and other issues of our time.
Making Faces with Travis Winters
Create dramatic faces that tell a story! Travis will guide you through his technique for sculpting faces on hollow forms for sculptural or functional work.
Knitting with Glass with Carol Milne
Learn to knit with glass using Carol’s signature technique! Working with strands of wax, you will knit small objects to transform into glass using the lost wax casting process. All levels are welcome, but beginners should be prepared to be challenged.
Introduction to Structural Flameworking with Kit Paulson
Learn the basics of borosilicate flameworking with an emphasis on strategies for building larger structures in glass. Bring grand ideas and expect to learn through lively demos, presentations, and hands-on practice.
Bronze Casting with Rivers of Steel Arts
Join Rivers of Steel Arts at Touchstone for a one-of-a-kind workshop in bronze casting. You will work with leading foundry artist, Ed Parrish, to build and transform your unique creations into solid bronze.
The Art and Craft of Metal Mesh Sculpture and ‘Flame Painting’ with Lanny Bergner
Create sculptural constructions and basketry forms out of metal in this fun mesh-working workshop. Then, explore the fascinating world of ‘flame painting’ by using a propane torch to draw/paint on stainless steel mesh.
Tadao Arimoto is Touchstone’s 2018 Artist of the Year! Tadao is a sculptor, woodworker, and furniture designer. Born in Japan, Tadao studied industrial design at the International Design Institute in Kyoto and at Kansai University in Osaka. Around the time that he became an apprentice carpenter in Kyoto and Nara, he met sculptor Shigeru Ueki, who strongly influenced the course of Tadao’s work. He then began to work in the construction of furniture in the remote mountain village of Miyama, Kyoto.
Tadao moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1976, where he has taught woodworking for more than 25 years. In addition to teaching, Tadao practices his craft at his workshop in Pittsburgh as well as attending and teaching at domestic and international workshops. In recent years, Tadao has contributed works to local universities, exhibited at national events, and was recognized as a Master Visual Artist by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. His work can be seen at Chatham University, where he designed and built exterior doors and windows, as well as benches and tables in the Sarah Heinz House. While Tadao’s focus has shifted from private works to larger and more public commissions, he invites anyone interested in his work, or in woodworking, to contact him.
Tadao’s artist statement reads: “When a mass of rough and dry wood receives a sharp blade and is turned into a geometric shape inspired by nature, it seems to get its second life. I feel that I am an arranger of that process, selecting the best match, providing a sharp blade for the best result, and bringing out the right finish. Pennsylvania is an appropriate place to do this, and it has blessed me with its rich forests of hardwood. I strive to use this resource carefully, giving the trees a second life.”
Touchstone is excited to celebrate Tadao Arimoto, a talented, hardworking, and renowned maker, with an exhibit in the Bea Campbell Gallery at Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, PA from May 4 through June 22, 2018. Please check back for more information or call 724-329-1370. To see some of Tadao’s work visit: tadaoarimoto.com
Tadao will be teaching ‘Making Hexagon and Octagon Boxes’ at Touchstone from August 24–27, 2018. In this workshop, students will create one-of-a-kind boxes! You will learn to make a small bento box (jewelry box size) and a Japanese style, small drawer in a case with an air glide feel (lunchbox size). We will use a variety of tools, including hand and portable power tools.