Oct. 16—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America's inaugural Iron to Art festival this weekend in Johnstown wrapped up the three-day event with an open to the public event Saturday at Peoples Natural Gas Park.
Those in attendance throughout the festival were able to learn different skills to add to their craft.
Frank O'Brien, an orthopedic surgeon from Wilkes-Barre, said that he started blacksmithing as a hobby about three years ago.
Saturday afternoon, he was working on creating a chain at the festival.
"I discovered it a couple of years ago and fell in love with it," he said of the hobby. "I learned off of YouTube and things like that to begin with. I have made a bunch of things since then."
O'Brien said that the one thing he likes about blacksmithing is that you can create anything you put your mind to.
"The thing I like about the hobby is if you can think of it and get an idea, you can make it," he said. "My wife wanted a rack to hang dog leashes from, so I forged a rack with hooks and dog heads on it to hang dog leashes on it for her."
O'Brien said that during the festival, he learned new techniques and came away with ideas of new equipment to build.
"It's just a whole lot of fun," he said of the festival.
Brian Reighard, of Windber, attended the festival after being interested in blacksmithing on television.
Reighard attended Saturday and had the chance to make a full tang knife.
"This has been great. It's my first time ever and I think that I'm hooked. I like it a lot," he said. "I've wanted to do this for years and just didn't know where and how. I feel like I can do something else."
Reighard said that this is always a hobby that he has wanted to try.
"I watched it on TV and always wanted to try it and this is pretty cool, it's pretty amazing watching it going from a chunk of metal. It's not the prettiest, but I made it," he said.