The world championship of forging represents, within the “biennial“, the initiative with the greatest support from visitors and craftsmen. Every year, it counts thousands of visitors as well as the participation of, more or less, 200 blacksmiths. The current form of the event represents the evolution of the 1981 extemporaneous rehearsal of forging, during the 4th wrought iron handcraft exhibition, consisting in the creation of a open-access, free theme work .
The current championship, on the other hand, has precise regulations set by the biennial association; moreover, every year there is a specific theme.
This edition’s topic is “Connections” (“Connessioni”).
This topic is communicated to potential participants well in advance, generally in June, through social media, as well as the “Biennale” website, in order to let the blacksmiths carry on with the preliminary operations, such as conception, creation of the sketch, study of materials, adaptation of the project to the times available. As stated in the regulation, the completion has a three hours limit for each participant; moreover, the artifact must be entirely made extemporaneously, without being able to use previously manufactured parts. The object must be made of iron, and forged according to the traditional technique, meaning no aid of machinery, even though small parts in other materials can be inserted (usually materials like stone, wood, glass, and metals different from iron have been used).
The contest takes place in Piazza Mazzini in Stia, where 12 workstations, each one equipped with its forge and with work tools as well as various bars of different types of iron, are set up. The blacksmiths can use the available tools but also their own, since one of the peculiarities of the blacksmith craft is the creation of personal work tools is one of the peculiarities of the blacksmith craft.
For every station there is the presence of a supervisor who, during processing, checks compliance with all the provisions of the regulation. Both individuals and groups can take part in the competition. Regarding the group competition, the team can include a maximum of 6 blacksmiths, all working on the same “piece“. The individual competition, instead, involves only one blacksmith who can, however, be assisted by a “helper”, whose task is to support his colleague only in the iron blacksmithing with no possibility of intervening in all the other operations and choices that determine the rendering of the work.
The 2021 edition, on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, had, exceptionally, the same theme as the sculpture competition, namely “and then we went out to see the stars again” (“e quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle”).
In the individual competition, the winners were:
In the team competition, the winners were: